What is the process of customs clearance?

Customs clearance can be a confusing process if you aren’t sure what it’s all about. We want to help you understand how the international distribution of goods works. Read below to find out more about the process of customs clearance:

What is it?

A simple explanation of customs clearance refers to it as the act of goods passing through customs while either leaving or entering a country. However, it is much more complex than this. Customs clearance involves preparing and submitting the correct documents (these documents will differ from exports to imports) to facilitate the import and export of goods. Clients are usually assisted through customs clearance by agents referred to as clearing agents.

What is the process?

Customs clearance can be a long process if you are not prepared and well informed on what is required to complete it efficiently. The process is explained below:


There is a long list of paperwork that needs to be submitted, such as the purchase order of buyer, the packing list and much more. One document that will be over looked by the customs officer is the commercial invoice. This invoice will list the contact numbers of the shipper and receiver of the goods and other relative shipping information such as the package description and value.

Taxes and duties

If the goods being imported or exported are above the tax threshold, this means that taxes and duties apply to the shipment. The customs officer will then check to see if you have paid these taxes and duties. If not, your shipment will be marked as Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) and sent to a customs broker until the required amount is paid.


The final step in the process is the release of the goods. Once the paperwork has been confirmed as legitimate and correct and the duties and taxes have been paid, the shipment is free to pass through customs and make its way to its delivery point.