What is Customs Clearance? Everything You Should Know
If you’re reading this blog, then the chances are that you are a seller looking for information on global expansion. Whether you are only just starting your journey toward selling overseas in the UK and Europe or are a veteran seller looking for ways of streamlining your processes, this blog will help you to tackle one of the biggest sticking points when it comes to expanding your business on an international scale: how to make sure your products transition smoothly through the customs clearing process.
In this blog, you will learn what customs is and how it works, what the customs clearance process involves, and how third-party services can support you in ensuring you never face any hold up in the order fulfilment journey. But first for a little insight into customs and what it involves for you as a seller.
What is customs clearance?
Customs clearance is what allows your products to transition from country to country. It is essentially the process through which goods are exported and imported from one location to another, making sure that they meet and are approved by the trading standards and regulations of the receiving country.
As a checkpoint on your list as a seller looking to expand overseas, customs clearance can be one of those areas which feel a bit like a minefield – largely because of the many legal terms which get in the way and can muddy the waters. However, with the right support from a third-party provider like GEE, customs clearance is just another hurdle to overcome as your business grows.
Customs is defined by a duty tax that must be paid to the government of the country you are transferring goods into. As a seller you need to provide the correct documentation to allow your goods to be received by the destination country, ensuring that goods are fully compliant and secure. Without this, your shipment will become held up at customs in the receiving country, impacting your order fulfilment process and creating a barrier to your customer service.
The fee is payable via a unique VAT number that you must apply for as a seller, which ensures that you pay the correct tax on all goods you export to the UK and EU. This fee can be passed on to the customer as part of your pricing strategy, to ensure a smooth transition of goods through customs and to offset the tax that you need to pay to the local ruling of your goods’ destination.
With that said, what do you need in order to pass through customs clearance efficiently?
What do you need to pass the customs clearing process?
Before shipping, you need to provide the following documentation:
- Seller registration number
- Proof of label compliance on all goods
- Tax registration
- The assurance that any and all products and goods you are sending are not restricted in the destination country or region – including checking the ingredients listed in products
- A packing list on every shipment, so that it can be quickly dissected in terms of content
During shipping, you will need to provide the following information to allow the customs office to quickly process your shipment and identify its contents, its origin, and its final destination.
- A clear label and address for the company or individual who is receiving your goods. You are not there at the other end to manage and facilitate this delivery, so the information you provide needs to be accurate and detailed.
- Commercial invoice and shipping note, with the same information which allows them to be a clear match. These documents outline the cost price and value of the goods being shipped.
- Any relevant certification relating to the products being shipped.
- The correct commodity code unites your shipment with your customs documents and duty tax.
- Make sure that goods are customs approved in advance of shipping, so that they do not spend any time held up at a customs check warehouse prior to being delivered.
- Accurate data relating to the size, weight, sender details, and product details of every shipment – so that deliveries can be accepted without issue once they reach the final destination.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges that sellers face is finding a reputable individual to take responsibility for their shipment when it arrives at the destination port. And that’s where GEE comes in – delivering an end-to-end customs clearance service which supports sellers as they expand overseas and takes over the management of goods as they pass through customs in the UK and Europe. With a thorough understanding of EORI registration (an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number for the movement of goods to and from the UK), duty tax and VAT rates, connections with HMRC, and high-end warehousing facilities for storing your goods once they clear customs, when you work with us you are free to focus on selling – leaving the finer details to us.
Tips to clear customs efficiently
The number one thing that sellers can do to clear customs efficiently and without any trouble, is to partner with a company that is experienced in the finer points, details, and requirements of the customs process on each border.
With both the UK and Europe operating under their own customs clearing processes, knowing what to do and what you need in order to pass the customs checks can become confusing and can quickly get in the way of your ability to fulfil orders. Making sure that customs fees and duty taxes are paid prior to receipt of the goods at customs is the only way of making sure goods pass through quickly – the use of a VAT number makes it easy to track all taxes paid and owed. We will take care that everything goes smoothly b helping you register for VAT easily.
When you work with a reputable partner, you receive support in compiling the documentation required for customs – with our team able to act as your dedicated customs broker and ensure that all goods are safely and securely delivered to our warehousing facility in the destination country.