Ways to get customs clearance — Your questions answered!

What is Customs Clearance?

Customs clearance is a compulsory procedure required by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to import goods. The process is a transaction where several parties provide documentation to ensure that a shipment can be processed and cleared. After the documents are provided and the entry is filed, it will be summed up to a 7501 form. The CBP also oversees the payment of taxes and duties, and finally, clearing goods from custody.

What is the Customs Clearance Procedure?

  1. Commercial Invoice: A bill given to you by your supplier itemizing every product you bought and for how much. A customs clearance officer confirms that the invoice is correct and lists the shipper and the receiver’s contact information.
  2. Fees and taxes: These are determined by an automated process based on the category of items, their worth, and import laws. Payments are often made after the shipment is cleared either by the customer or Broker. Total shipment costs can be pricey considering brokerage charges, storage, delayed payment, and other applicable fees.
  3. Release: When you have paid all dues, customs release your shipment.

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