Everything You Should Know About Custom Clearance

custom clearance

Custom clearance is the set of procedures carried out in customs warehouses to control, supervise and authorize the entry or exit of goods in a specific territory during an international trade operation.

These operations are mandatory, and are subject to a series of legislative regulations to facilitate the shipment and reception of products from ports, airports and international free zones.

In the specific case such as Spain, it is only necessary for countries outside of Europe. And the information that must be provided ranges from the tax data of the exporter or importer to the description, origin and destination of the merchandise, including the number of packages, gross weight and net weight, volume, type and origin of the means of transport, as well as the taxes to be paid.

In this article we are going to tell you everything you need to know about customs clearance, a fundamental aspect that you should pay close attention to when making any international purchase.

Documentation for customs: what should I provide?

If you are going to send outside the European Union, you must always attach a customs invoice and a list with a list of package contents, called Packing list. Depending on the type of merchandise, you may need some additional documentation that we will detail as soon as the carrier informs us.

As a general rule, these are the 2 mandatory documents for the marketing of products through customs:

1. Customs invoice

Issued by the seller, it certifies the sale of the goods between the exporter and the importer. It is a document that the customs authorities of each country must process. The necessary taxes and restrictions apply to it.

Actually, it is like a commercial invoice in which the following data must appear :

  • Sender and recipient information : it is mandatory to include the DNI, NIE or passport of both, and the VAT number, in the case of a company. Without this information, the package will be stopped at customs.
  • Taric Code : an international number used by customs authorities to classify goods. The purpose of the Taric Code is, among other objectives, to ensure that your package is delivered without delay.

2. Packing list

It travels together with the commercial invoice, and is in charge of detailing the data of the merchandise. It is a list with a list of package contents that completes the information on the invoice, and must be issued by the person who makes the shipment, the sender.

In it, a detailed description of the content of each package must be included, with identification of the brands and characteristics of each object. This description is mandatory and has the character of an affidavit. It is necessary to detail the gross and net weight, the volume and the number of packages.

This document is mandatory because it facilitates selective recognition by customs authorities and is of great importance, especially in physical customs clearance. It also works as proof for damage and loss of package items when they have been broken and similar situations.

My package is held in customs: what should I do?

There are other reasons that may cause customs to retain the shipment, such as the documentation submitted being incorrect or incomplete, the customs agent requiring additional documentation to release the shipment, or contact with the recipient or the recipient not having been possible. has not formalized the payment of customs taxes at destination.

For this reason, it is very important that you inform yourself well before sending any type of product with the consulate or customs of the country of destination, because there are restrictions that prevent or restrict entry depending on the type of merchandise and the country of reception.

These are the steps you must follow if your package has been held in customs:

  • Check your retention through the tracking number or the delivery note provided by the transport company that has managed your shipment.
  • Once verified, you will receive an international shipping notice with the instructions to release the package.
  • Within a week, the carrier will also send you a notice letter in which you must correctly fill in all the fields requested and send them to them (you have a period of 15 days to send this documentation, otherwise your product will be returned to origin or stored in a warehouse).
  • When the documentation is reviewed, you will have to pay an amount for its release. Usually, packages in customs have to face a VAT payment (of 21%, 10% or 4%, depending on the type of product) and an amount that varies between 0% and 17% in terms of duty.

Although as you can see, recovering your merchandise is possible, but sometimes it is like a waste of time and money, so we recommend that you follow the instructions and provide the documentation that your provider has detailed before making your shipment. With this, you will ensure that your package arrives safely at its destination.

More things you should know about customs clearance

Below MyXBorder team- a specialist in delivery from Flipkart to the USA point out  some more information about the different incidents and processes in customs clearance;

What does the beginning of customs clearance mean?

Beginning of custom clearance means that the package has arrived at the custom clearance of the country of destination, and is waiting to start the verification process of the documentation attached to the shipment.

How long does customs clearance take?

There is no exact answer to know how long it can take for a package to finish custom clearance. It all depends on the time and verifications necessary to check all customs documents and whether or not there is any incidence. As a general rule, it can take between 7 and 30 days, in case there is any irregularity, this period can be extended up to 60 days or more.

What does it mean that a package is in the customs clearance process?

A package is in the custom clearance process when the shipment enters the verification system by the customs agents of the destination country. Where the necessary documentation that must accompany the shipment and the payment of the different rates and tariffs is reviewed. If no irregularities are detected in said recognition, the shipment continues its process to the final recipient without further incident.