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How to Avoid Delays in Customs Clearance
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How to Avoid Delays in Customs Clearance

July 7, 2023
Last Updated:
July 23, 2023
5 min read

Discover how to avoid customs delays. ✔️Learn about essential documentation, customs regulations, and more to ensure your goods sail smoothly through customs.

How to Avoid Delays in Customs Clearance

Table of Contents

Do you dread the thought of dealing with customs? Are your shipments frequently facing delays in clearance and an endless wait for approvals?

Even after going through the paperwork and getting your documents in order, delays can have serious consequences on time-sensitive shipments.

In fact, some experts estimate that a one-day delay can reduce a country's overall trade by 1% or add the equivalent of 70 kilometers of transport distance. And when it comes to time-sensitive goods, the stakes are even higher, with trade being reduced by as much as 6%.

It's clear that avoiding customs delays isn't just a matter of convenience – it's critical for keeping trade flowing smoothly.

In this blog post, we take a look at how careful preparation can help you avoid unnecessary delays at customs and keep things running smoothly.

Keep reading for some valuable tips on how to avoid customs clearance delays and ensure your cargo is cleared quickly and with minimal disruption.

Understanding the Customs Clearance Process

Customs clearance is the process of ensuring that the goods being imported or exported comply with all relevant regulations and laws.

In other words, it's a checkpoint that ensures the safety and legality of international trade.

The process can vary depending on the specific requirements of the country but typically includes an assessment of the documents presented by the importer or exporter, a physical inspection of the goods, payment of duties and taxes, and finally, the release of the shipment.

customs clearance process: paperwork inspection, physical inspection, payment of duties and taxes and release of the shipment

How to Avoid Delays in Customs Clearance

#1 Ensure Correct & Complete Documentation

If there's one thing that can throw your shipment off track and cause delays, it's missing or incomplete documentation. It’s actually the most common reason for customs delays.

But it's a headache that can be avoided altogether with some preparation. It's kind of like trying to enter a foreign country without a passport — it's just not going to work out very well. So before you send off your shipment, make sure you've got all the necessary paperwork filled out and signed correctly.

This can include shipping documents like:

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#2 Accurately Classify & Describe Goods

When it comes to shipping goods internationally, accurate description and classification are the keys to avoiding customs clearance delays.

Take, for example, a shipment of laptops. A vague description like "electronics" won't cut it. Instead, you need to identify its specific HS code84713000.

HS Code Example

This code specifically covers "portable automatic data processing machines, weighing not more than 10 kg, consisting of at least a central processing unit, a keyboard, and a display." This level of specificity may sound nit-picky, but it ensures your goods will get through customs expediently and without hassle.

And proper classification ensures that your goods are subject to the correct tariffs and regulations, so take the time to describe and classify your goods accurately, and you'll save yourself time, money, and headaches in the long run.

#3 Declare the Correct Value

When you're importing goods, it can be tempting to undervalue your shipments to save a few bucks on duties or taxes. But that's not a smart move.

Declaring the actual value of your goods is crucial if you want to avoid customs clearance delays. Accurately reporting the value can actually benefit both you and the government. Cutting corners here could result in extra fees, legal consequences, and delays in customs clearance.

The World Trade Organization’s Customs Valuation Agreement sets out the customs valuation principles, making avoiding these kinds of issues easier. So do yourself a favor and declare the value truthfully. It'll save you both time and money in the long run.

#4 Double-Check Rules & Regulations

Every country has different laws, rules, and regulations.

Assuming that the requirements are the same everywhere could land you in some serious trouble at customs. That's why it's crucial to do your research in advance to avoid any unexpected delays in customs clearance. Take the time to check if the goods you're sending meet the necessary standards and if they're not prohibited in the destination country.

For instance, did you know that vapes are illegal in Thailand? And if you get caught importing vaping devices or liquids, you could face a jail term of up to 10 years and/or a fine of up to five times the value of the goods.

So don't underestimate the importance of verifying these details beforehand.

Mastering the Art of Timely Customs Clearance

Hopefully, you're now feeling more like a skilled navigator, ready to guide your business smoothly through any potential customs roadblocks.

Remember, the key to avoiding customs delays lies in meticulous preparation - ensuring your documentation is accurate and complete, classifying, describing, and declaring the value of your goods correctly, and ensuring you’re in line with the foreign country’s regulations.

Apply these insights diligently and prepare for a smoother journey through customs clearance. Here's to a future of hassle-free customs experiences.

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