Package Stuck in Customs | How Long Will It Be Held For?4 min read
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Shipments going through international borders go through customs, and the process can sometimes be lengthy. In this article, you will find out how long customs clearance takes and how long they will hold your package for.

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How long will my package be held in customs?

The customs procedures and the time a parcel is held at the customs office depend on different factors, each on its own, and often country related. For instance, different rules may apply for packages held in customs in the UK, Germany, France, Spain or other countries. How long the customs hold a package could be a process lasting from days to weeks, to months:

  • If the items you are transporting are on the list of prohibited and restricted items to be shipped. In some cases, the package might not just be held in customs but, it can even be even destroyed if you fail to provide the required documentation that the customs officers will ask you for.
  • If you fail to provide all the necessary documents, then the customs clearance process might be even longer than you had expected. When shipping globally, a customs declaration should be provided. If you do not have it, and the officers ask you to send it, then the package will be held in customs until you provide the correct information.
  • The longer it takes you to pay the taxes, the longer the package will be stuck in customs.
  • The customs clearance process can also depend on the transport mode (air, road, rail, sea) Beware that if you have chosen to use a slower method of shipping, customs can be a long and stressful process in many countries.

How long does the UK take to clear customs?

When shipping from Europe to the UK after Brexit your package will go through customs and customs procedures. This means that the package may take longer to arrive than expected. Especially if you had trouble providing all the necessary documentation for customs clearance. You will know how long the UK takes to clear packages after the customs inspection. The customs process can be a few hours, days to weeks.

What are the fees that apply in case my package is stuck in customs?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a unified fee for clearing customs after your package is stuck in the customs clearance process. The shipping process and clearance can be done through a third party and they may charge:

  • a customs clearance fee or customs handling fee for processing all the necessary documentation,
  • an advancement fee for paying the duty and VAT on behalf of the sender,
  • a security fee for screening or x-raying the goods, a fee for preparing the customs declaration or others.

Who should I contact to find out if my package is stuck in customs?

Your package is stuck in customs but you are not sure how to check on the package and what its status. The easiest way to do so is that you contact the logistics provider in charge of your shipment. Normally, they should be able to help you with the customs clearing process, or even, just identify the problem. Before contact, make sure you have the tracking number to give it to the courier to check its status.

Read also: The meaning of different tracking statuses

What are the customs regulations in Europe?

Understanding customs procedures in the European Union is quite straightforward as in most cases, no customs charges should apply when transporting goods from one EU country to another. Additionally, no customs documents are required when shipping goods from one member-state to another.

There is some exception to this however when the goods are subject to the state monopoly, such as alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

Even though there are no customs fees when shipping within the European Union (EU), when shipping restricted items or items of higher value from an EU member country to a non-EU country, various additional paperwork is needed which could result in longer customs clearance time, in case you wondered why your parcel hasn’t yet arrived. In such cases, the documentation can be the crucial answer to how long will the customs clearance take.

Who is in charge of the customs clearance process if I have booked a shipment with Eurosender?

Customs are calculated based on the declared value of goods and the assessment at the customs office. When using Eurosender, the customs fees are paid by the receiver directly to the selected logistics provider at the delivery. The logistics provider does not release the shipment until the customs are not paid by the receiver.

When you have booked a shipment going to/from a country outside of the EU, then you must leave the package open, before the courier driver’s arrival. He has to check the content of it and see for any prohibited or restricted items.

If you have some more questions on customs clearance, do not hesitate to contact us.