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10 things you need to know about the customs clearance process

By Jenny Hooper, June 28, 2019, Category: General News

Customs can be a confusing process for those who have never shipped goods before. If you’re looking to send goods overseas or you’re importing goods into the UK, here are 10 things you need to know:

1. Customs clearance is complex

The customs clearance process involves more than simply passing goods across borders – the preparation and submission of documentation is required to facilitate exports and imports.

2. There’s a lot of documentation to consider

Common export and import documentation includes a Certificate of Origin, a sales invoice, a packing list, a shipping bill, insurance, an Airway Bill, a Bill of Lading and much more.

3. Your cargo will go through customs in every country around the world

Every country has its own customs clearance process, and the rules, laws and regulations will vary. Therefore, you will need to do your research before shipping your goods.

4. Customs will request payment of taxes and duties

If these haven’t been paid when the shipment arrives, customs will forward the package to an independent customs broker. This can get very expensive, so pay all charges before sending your shipment.

5. The time it takes varies from shipment to shipment

There’s no set time limit – the process is very much dependent on what goods are entering the country.

6. Customs charges in the UK are calculated using three variables

These are UK Duty, UK VAT and any additional costs like testing, storage and x-rays.

7. All goods are subject to Trading Standards

There are certain items that will attract more attention than others, such as lithium batteries, toys and electronics.

8. Certain items will need an import licence

Items which require a licence are often dangerous or require heavier regulation. Examples include drugs, fur, livestock and nuclear materials.

9. Properly loaded shipping containers can ease the process

Improper loading can lead to extensive searches of shipments, which can result in delays and more expenses.

10. It’s best left to a freight forwarding company

If the wrong person handles your customs brokerage, you could face a number of issues. A freight forwarder will be able to manage all your clearance requirements, including any documentation.

To find out more about Independent Freight’s air cargo and sea freight options, get in touch with a member of our team today.