Navigating Customs: A Comprehensive Guide For Importers and Exporters

A person filling out customs paperwork on top of a cardboard box in El Paso.

Importing and exporting goods into and out of the United States is one of the most important and challenging jobs in the country. There are a myriad of laws and regulations to know in order to clear customs without issues. So, if you’re in the business of importing and exporting but need to know more about navigating customs, you’ve come to the right place. 

If you need expert help navigating customs transactions and other customs processes, RM Customhouse Brokers, Inc. in El Paso, is the team to reach out to. Contact us online or call (915) 564-0582 to learn more about our services.

What Exactly is Customs Clearance?

As the name indicates, customs clearance is the act of clearing customs when you transport goods in and out of the country. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the government entity that collects taxes and levies on the goods you import and export, and they’re also responsible for ensuring you aren’t moving illegal goods. 

As the only entity that monitors imports and exports, CBP will thoroughly inspect anything that moves into or out of the country. Additionally, if you’re shipping things to another country, your goods will also have to clear foreign customs, which may be different than that of the US. 

How Does the Customs Clearance Process Work? 

Customs transactions that must clear customs go through a four-step process: 

Paperwork Entries and Verification

The first and most difficult aspect of making customs transactions is filling out the right paperwork. Nothing enters or exits the country without a chain of paperwork, especially for large shipments or valuables. 

The reason that the paperwork portion of customs transactions in El Paso is so difficult is that it has to be perfect. Putting in the wrong description, value, weight, or amount of your goods will result in delays and potential penalties. It’s also essential to enter the proper classification code, or your goods could be delayed or seized. 

Customs Officer Check

Once you’re finished with your paperwork, it and your goods will be inspected by a customs officer. If anything is mislabeled or incorrect on your paperwork, they will catch it. This could result in fines and shipping delays. 

Making Any Necessary Payments

Depending on the size, weight, and nature of the goods you’re importing or exporting, there will be fees involved. These fees include taxes, levies, duties, and shipping fees. These fees will vary from shipment to shipment, and it can be difficult to keep up with all the different costs and tariffs. Contact us at RM Customhouse if you have questions about pricing and aren’t sure what to expect from customs. 

Release Your Shipment 

Once all your paperwork is completed, a customs officer checks your goods, and you pay all the necessary fees, you’re ready to release your shipment. Or, if you’re importing something, you’re ready to receive your shipment. 

Simplify Customs Transactions With RM Customhouse Brokers

Because of how complicated and difficult the customs process and El Paso customs transactions are, you may benefit from working with a customs broker. Customs brokers handle every aspect of customs clearance for you from start to finish. Call (915) 564-0582 to learn more or to start making customs transactions with ease.