Before release of international freight upon arrival at destination or departure from origin, the owner must complete customs clearance. The exporter must obtain export clearance before the cargo leaves the port of origin. Similarly, a package can only leave the destination port and into ‘free circulation’ once the importer has received import clearance.
Even seasoned shippers making customs entries can run into complications if they don’t have the appropriate documents on hand.
It’s critical you meet the conditions of the jurisdictions your freight is exported from and being imported into.
You can outsource the physical and administrative work of processing declarations. It remains your responsibility however as owner of the goods to ensure you have complied with customs rules and regulations.
The obligation to have paid any duties and taxes due also rests with the owner of the goods.
The commercial invoice, packing list, and shipping document are essential for customs clearance. Still, your package will only physically leave customs control once all duties and taxes have been paid or guarantees given.
For certain cargoes, you may need additional documents such as import / export licences, or certificates of origin to clear customs.