What you have to know about the customs clearance procedure

The customs clearance procedure is just one of those things that are going to be complicated forever. Whether you are shipping clothes from Canada to Belgium or shipping sports equipment from Australia to South Africa. In this article, we will talk about international and European customs charges, and about some important customs clearance documents.

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Customs clearance procedures for global routes

Customs, or the customs duty office, is a national body of the local government whose task is to uphold customs clearance procedure. This task consists of preventing illegal and prohibited items entering the country, as well as determining the number of duties to be paid when importing goods that are subjected to taxation under the local law.

Customs duties

If we send a package from one country to another outside the EU, we have to take into account that customs duties will be charged. In addition, we must also prepare for the fact of preparing additional customs clearance documents, without which shipment will not be possible.

There are several cases in which we can be exempted from payment of customs duties during the customs clearance procedure:

– When a parcel is marked as a gift and its value does not exceed €45. It is essential that the parcel is sent between two private persons. So, there is no shopping on the Internet.

– Purchases (i.e. items) whose value does not exceed €150 are exempt from customs duty.

– There is also a possibility of exemption from customs duty if you are dealing with items subject to the so-called zero duty rate.

How to fill in customs clearance documents

Proper completion of customs clearance documents is essential to avoid delays in customs clearance. You will need to provide a description of the goods, their value, and nature (whether it’s a gift, personal effects or something sold). Be honest and direct when you describe the contents of your package. List each item separately in your package and avoid writing general terms such as “clothing”, personal belongings or “gifts”.

For example: if you ship a parcel with clothing, describe what they are, e.g. 1 x pair of Vans, 2 x pairs of black socks, 1 x Levis jeans trouser, 1 x white t-shirt and 1 x plaid shirt from H&M.

Failure to provide a detailed inspection may result in the shipment being held up or even returned to the sender if the customs office has reason to believe that the customs clearance documents provided are inaccurate.

Check your parcel’s dimensions and see which shipping service is best for you!

European customs charges

The whole process, however, is much easier when shipping in the European Union. European customs charges are practically zero – and not only to goods produced in member states but also to any product which has already been released for free circulation after the respective EU import duty rates were covered. That is why, when shipping inside Europe, any European customs charges are usually included in the price of a door-to-door service. Different rules apply only to goods which are subject to duty, such as alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. But, depending on the local legislation, some goods may also be forbidden to leave or enter a specific country. Make sure to check our list of forbidden goods to ship!

The free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour in other countries belonging to the European Single Market, has helped millions of people to shop online or just across the border where prices might be cheaper or if goods are unavailable in the home country. Unfortunately, having relatively simple rules in the EU does not mean that, when sending parcels to non-EU member countries, we will not have to pay attention to the necessary customs clearance documents for the customs clearance procedure.

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Do you have a customs charges calculator?

The aim of customs valuation is to establish the customs value of imported goods. Yet, there are different methods for the calculation of the customs duties. When it comes to a specific duty, the value of the goods does not have to be determined. A fixed amount based on the number of goods is charged instead. On the contrary, an ad valorem duty depends on the value, which means that a more precise calculation of customs duties is necessary to determine applicable import fees. So, even though a customs charges calculator would be very handy, it would only be a rough estimation.

Since calculating the customs duties for a product can be a complicated process, customs procedures in the European Community have recently been modernized to facilitate international trade. Customs Decisions System (CDS) is said to increase process efficiency, supporting the authorities of every member state in the proper management of submitted applications and issued decisions valid in the whole EU, while protecting their financial interests.

Customs clearance procedure: FAQ

Which documents do I need?

The most important document is the invoice. It serves as an official statement of the value of the goods. It is in your best interest to keep the original and send a few copies of the invoice with your shipment. Whether you need to present other documents like a certificate of authenticity or shipping insurance depends from country to country, it is up to the customers to inform themselves.

How much tax do I have to pay?

As mentioned before, when shipping within the EU, you will have to pay (almost never) taxes. In any other case, it is the local import laws and taxation percentages of the country of entry that count. And as mentioned before a customs charge calculator is not really helpful.

What is included in the Eurosender price?

Included are the pick-up, shipment, and delivery of your parcel, a tracking tool and customer support that assists you with all your questions. We will try to help you with the customs (documentation) as much as we possibly can.

Not included: the to be paid customs duties and the shipping cost in case the parcel has to be returned because the receiver refused to pay customs.

Why is my package stopped in customs?

A delay or stoppage can be caused by several reasons:

  • The recipient refused to pay the customs charges.
  • The provided documentation was insufficient.
  • A forbidden item was found in the parcel.
  • Or it is still awaiting approval
How long is a package held in customs?

A specific time indication can never be given. There are many external factors influencing this. Look at the previous questions for some indicators. You can keep track of your parcel with our online tool.

Why is Eurosender the cheapest?

We work together with the safest and most reliable shipping companies such as DHL, GLS, and TNT. We have made agreements with them because we ship huge amounts per month, we can get better prices. These we gladly pass on to our customers.

If you have any questions about the customs clearance procedure or European customs charges, please contact our customer service team. Our specialists will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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