WLP Benefits can help Members make customs clearance as frictionless as possible when sending goods around the world. But what is customs clearance, and how does it work?Read More
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What is customs clearance?
Customs clearance is an important step when shipping goods or products. It is an essential part of the shipping process that permits the entry or exit of goods and services into or out of a country.
The customs clearance process is relatively similar across all countries; however; there could be varying differences in relation to the process of assessing products, and the payment of import taxes from one country to the other.
How long does customs clearance take?
Customs clearance can vary from one country to the other and is also dependent on the time of year; but would typically take around 3 to 5 days, provided all documents and processes have been completed and are in place.
How does customs clearance work?
Before cargo moves out and leaves the port of origin, the customs clearance process ensures that goods and products are taken through a customs authority, which then processes an export clearance. Similarly, an import clearance is required for freight to enter the destination country’s port. The clearance documentation essentially indicates that all duties for the products/goods have been paid and it has now been cleared for shipping.
How much does customs clearance cost?
Customs clearance fees depend on a number of factors, including:
- The type of products and their declared value and a description of the goods
- HS code used to classify product type
What documents do I need for customs clearance?
- Commercial invoice
- Packing list that includes details of the shipment, such as weight, quantity, manufacturer.
- Bill of Lading to confirm that the shipment has been loaded on a mode of transport.
What is the process for customs clearance?
- Confirm tax information of importer and the exporter
- Identify the origin of import and destination of export and the means of transport
- Detect details of the shipment, including quantity, volume, description of the goods/products, origin and manufacturing company.
- Clear inspection requirements for shipments and obtain certifications to confirm that the products in the shipment passed control checks.
- Clear tax payments
Who is responsible for customs clearance?
A customs agent is the mediator between a client and a customs authority and handles processes and procedures related to customs clearance. He/she also:
- Oversees liaison between both parties
- Communicates information, updates, requirements from the customs office to the client
- Oversees tax payments and duties for the importer/exporter
- Adheres to shipment requirements, standards, laws and regulations for both importers and exporters.
What are other important factors to consider for customs clearance?
- Make sure there are no restrictions in relation to import/export activities for specific countries. For example, if you have a shipment that needs to be imported to Senegal, make sure that your freight is allowed to be shipped and received at its country of arrival.
- Understand trade agreements between countries as these can affect international trade in terms of tariffs that set by countries on imports and exports. For example, Kazakhstan is a party to a free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries, allowing for more trade advantages, such as bigger market access, reduced trade barriers, etc.