If your profession involves importing and exporting goods from the United States, it’s important to know what customs clearance is. Customs clearance is a complicated, time-sensitive process that you can do on your own or hire a professional customs broker to handle on your behalf. Hiring a professional is often easier, safer, and faster than clearing customs on your own.
What is Customs Clearance?
Customs clearance is clearing customs on goods you import into the US or export to other countries. During the customs clearance process, you have to get permission from the government to import or export these goods. While most goods imported and exported for business purposes are required to clear customs, there are exceptions. For instance, goods and packages valued at less than $2,000 and select other items are exempt. Contact us if you need clarification on whether or not your goods must clear customs to import or export them legally.
How to Clear Customs on My Own
If you’re interested in going through customs clearance independently, the process can be broken down into six steps.
The main reason that people hire customs brokers to handle customs clearance is because of the documentation and paperwork involved with the process. Documentation and paperwork must be filled out and submitted to a customs officer, who will then check it for mistakes and inaccuracies. You could be subject to fines and other legal issues if a mistake is found. Documentation should include details about the shipment and shipper, including:
- Your contact info
- Weight and size of your shipment
- Details about your shipment
- An invoice, commercial if applicable
- Reference number
- Cost of the shipment
- Any other details and documents required by the customs officer
- Taxes, Duties, and Payment Calculations
Next, the customs officer will determine how much money you owe for taxes and duties. This cost will depend on what you’re importing or exporting, its size, value, and other factors. If you hire a customs broker, they will handle this complicated payment process, and you simply have to reimburse them.
- Making Your Payments
If you choose to go through customs clearance on your own, the next step is to make your payments. For payment, you have two options – Delivered Duty Unpaid (DDU) or Delivered Duty Paid (DDP).
- Your Shipment Gets Released
Once you’ve jumped through all the necessary hoops and completed the customs clearance process, your goods will get shipped or released. However, failing to pay your taxes or duties on time or in full amount will hinder the shipping process. You also will only be able to import or export your goods if there’s an issue with your documentation or paperwork.
Advantages of Hiring a Customs Broker for Customs Clearance
As you can see, the customs clearance process is complicated and takes time. Therefore, you might find it advantageous to hire a customs broker if you’re not comfortable handling customs clearance on your own. Here are some advantages of doing so.
- A customs broker will handle all your paperwork and documentation to ensure it’s filled out properly.
- A customs broker will handle the initial payment for taxes and duties.
- Customs brokers will save you time and money in the event that you document incorrectly and receive a fine.
- Customs clearance is much easier, faster, and more stress-free when you hire a customs broker.
If you think that a customs broker can help you, RM Customhouse Brokers Inc. is ready to assist you. Our team of customs brokers and importing and exporting experts are here to help. We can answer all of your questions and handle the customs clearance process from start to finish. Contact us online or call (915) 564-0582 today.