Custom Clearance

Table of Contents

Custom Clearance Process

Customs declaration is one of the ties of import and export trades and an important part of the country's foreign economic and trade activities and international trade chains.

The basic process of customs clearance is as follows:
Declaration acceptance → Document audit → Goods inspection → Tax collection → Customs clearance and release.

1. Declaration

A custom declaration happens when a unit, enterprise, or individual submits an import-export application to the state-designated agency (customs) before an import/export process is completed. After providing the corresponding cargo information and relevant documents, the state-designated agency Customs) for review and approval.

  1. Declaration time.

    The amount of time required for a customs declaration form to be submitted to a country's Customs Bureau varies from one country to another. However, generally speaking, the form should be submitted as early as possible, before the goods arrive at the country's borders.

  2. Declaration documents.

    1. Basic documents: generally refers to the customs declaration form for export goods, commercial and shipping documents directly related to export goods (usually including invoices, packing lists, and contracts)
    2. Special documents: The relevant national laws and regulations stipulate special control documents, mainly including import and export customary licenses, quota licenses, and other approval documents.

2. Audit documents

Once all documents are submitted, the Customs Bureau will conduct some document audits. The documents are checked based on the relevant national laws and administrative regulations. Once the documents are approved, they will proceed to inspect the incoming goods.

Customs declaration fees includes:

  • Freight and insurance fees
  • Customs duty
  • Value-added tax or VAT(charged according to customs and national tax rate regulations)
  • Document legislation fees
  • Port and import formalities fees.

3. Inspect the goods

Inspection is done when the Customs Bureau had received, audited, and approved the declaration documents It's done to verify if the actual goods are consistent with what was declared in the documents.

It's to avoid any misreporting, omission, concealment, false reporting, etc., and to review whether the import and export of goods are legal.

Inspection fee:
Customs does not charge fees for inspections in the supervision area.

  • If customs marks are applied to containers, container trucks or other goods, the seal fee will be charged in accordance with regulations.
  • The cost of moving, unpacking, or repackaging imported and exported goods arising from the inspection shall be borne by the consignee and consignor of the imported and exported goods.
  • For inspection of goods outside the Customs Bureau's supervision area, the consignee or consignor of the imported or exported goods or its agent shall pay the Customs a fixed fee.

4. Tax

Collection of export taxes is one of the basic duties of customs. Since the collection of export taxes will inevitably increase the cost of exported goods and affect their competitiveness in the international market, many countries do not levy export taxes on most of their exported goods. After the export enterprise or its agent pays the customs at the prescribed tax rate or provides appropriate guarantees, the customs can sign and seal the release.

5. Customs clearance and release

The whole process finally ends with customs clearance and release.

At this point, the owner of the goods or their agent will sign the release seal on the relevant documents. Pick up or ship goods. At this point, the customs supervision of import and export goods is considered to be over.

6. Clearance

Customs clearance refers to the goods that need to continue to be subject to follow-up management after being released by the port. The customs will conduct inspections within the specified time limit, and deal with the goods that need to be levied and paid taxes until the customs supervision is completely completed.


Important: An honest declaration is required. False import and export declarations refer to the fact that the declaration by the customs declaration unit constitutes a violation of customs regulations, but does not have the intention of smuggling. If the import and export commodity name, HS code, quantity, specification, price, trade method, origin and other declaration elements are inconsistent with the actual situation of the goods, it will affect the customs supervision order, tax collection, and trade statistics, and will be subject to customs administrative penalties.