How long does it take for goods to clear customs?

The customs clearance process can last a couple of hours or it could take a few days. There are a few factors that could affect the time it takes for your goods to clear customs. These factors include congestion, faulty documents and inspections

Estimated time

The estimated time that it takes for an exported package to clear South African customs is 5 days. The imported items could take three or more days to clear customs. These estimates are not considerate of the possible problems that may be faced at customs.

Faulty documents

Faulty documents can be the reason that your parcels are taking long to clear customs. If there is any information missing or any incorrect data on the documents, the officials will not release your package before the necessary information is received and confirmed.


Congestion can cause your package to take a longer time to clear customs than usual. If there are many products entering a country on a specific day, it may take a long time for each product to clear customs. Some products can take up to 2 weeks to clear customs, depending on how extreme the congestion is.


Packages may be chosen at random for inspection. They may also be chosen for inspection if they are suspicious, or if the documents do not match the parcel. The inspection process is a long one as there are many products that are being checked and the inspection is carried out thoroughly. This process could take weeks, or up to a month before the package can clear customs.