What to Expect During the Customs Clearance Process

Shipping goods across borders involves clearing customs before import or export is possible. But, navigating the customs clearance process requires extra document preparation and familiarity with the rules and regulations in both countries involved.  But, the customs process for shipping freight is less complicated than many people have thought, especially if you work with a reputable shipping company and opt for Clearit Canadian customs clearance. The partners will help you avoid unexpected delays or fees. 

Understanding Customs Clearance

Customs clearance is the process that involves submitting documentation to the associated government custom agency and obtaining clearance of the goods in transit. The assigned broker to the shipper assembles the customs clearance documentation, which will prove payment of any taxes or duties. Customs officials oversee incoming or outgoing shipment to ensure it’s in line with the regulations of the country. After inspecting the shipment, they will clear it for import or export. 

The Steps Involved in the Customs Clearance Process

The customs clearance process involves several steps and can be overwhelming at first glance. Keep reading to know what to expect when a shipment arrives at customs:

  • Review of the shipment paperwork. Once a shipment arrives at customs, an official will review the paperwork of the shipment to start the customs clearance process. The paperwork can include a commercial invoice that states the contact information of both the shipper and receiver, cargo description, export date, packing list, purchase order, bill of lading, shipping bill, and certificate of origin. Also, further documents may be required by the buyer, financial institution, or the importing countries. In Canada, a Canada Customs Invoice is required for incoming shipments.  
  • Verify payment of taxes and duties. Customs brokers will make sure the appropriate taxes and duties are paid for the kind of goods in the shipment, the customs laws of the importing country, and the declared value. Customs will verify payment of taxes and duties.
  • Release of shipment. Customs will release shipment after outstanding taxes and duties are paid. 

When to Acquire Customs Clearance

All international shipments of commercial goods require getting customs clearance. However, if you have the required paperwork and work with a broker to help coordinate and calculate and pay the required taxes and duties, the clearance process will be streamlined. The best customs broker can process tax and duty payments in advance for a fixed fee. Most brokers calculate their fees based on the products, value, and point of origin. In general, fees include a customs clearance charge, inspection fees, and agency or bank transfer fees.