Customs Clearance UK: How to get it right?

Customs clearance is required before goods can be imported or exported internationally. If a shipment is cleared, the shipper must produce documents confirming the payment of customs duties before the package can be processed.

Customs clearing becomes even easier when a customs broker is employed to refer to during imports and exports.

About Clear Customs

We have worked with Customs experts to create a simple platform for UK companies and Customs agents to electronically file Customs declarations with greater accuracy. 

Our digital-first approach makes declarations convenient and simple.

What is customs clearance?

Customs clearance is the process of obtaining approval from the relevant government agency to import or export goods into a country. Customs clearance can also be defined as a document issued by the customs authority to a transporter.

Before delivering various goods, shippers may ask what customs clearance means and how it relates to their shipping alternatives. Each country's customs clearance quota must be met by every international ocean freight shipment. Customs clearance is a necessary step in the process of enabling goods to enter a country via an authorised customs broker.


Customs Clearance Process

Getting customs clearance is a complicated process. You can hire a transporter or customs agent, to make the import declaration and get your products through UK customs. Before you can acquire customs clearance, your company must be ready to import the goods.

1- Paper verification

A customs officer checks to see if the paperwork for shipments is correct and make sure to have commercial invoices required for international shipping.

Once the paperwork is validated, the document will list a shipper and the receiver's contact information. The export date and airway bill number are also included in the shipment.

2- Customs officers checks

A customs officer will check to see if any fees will be imposed on a shipment. Depending on the commodities, their worth, and the laws enforced by the importing country. If the value of the products exceeds a tax bracket, the officer will check to see if taxes and duties have been paid.

3- Payments, Taxes, and Duties

The amount of customs and taxes on a shipment may usually be determined by your carrier. You pay these to your carrier before the items arrive at customs, and they pay on your behalf.

Alternatively, some carriers pay customs and taxes in advance and then collect them from you afterward.

4- Release of shipment

Shipments are released once taxes and duties have been paid. If all documentation, duties, and taxes are handled correctly, the goods can be sent to their final destination.

Documentation required for customs clearance

It is important to have the required documentation in place while carrying goods when you are importing. Documents that are missing or incorrect can cause delays and extra costs, or even stop a shipment from arriving at all.

When running a business that imports, you must be aware of the documentation requirements. Even if you hire a freight forwarder or a customs agent, you are responsible for ensuring that the proper documentation is provided and readily available.

The documents to complete the import clearance in UK:

The following documents are necessary to complete the import clearance process in the United Kingdom:

  • Commercial invoice for the imported goods.
  • A packing list
  • An export declaration signed by an agent in the exporting country
  • Information regarding the commercial invoice:

    The commercial invoice should ideally include the following information:

  • Names, locations, and EORI numbers of the importers
  • The invoice number and the date
  • Description of the product
  • Total invoice value, net weight, and number of packages
  • Total figures for each unique commodity code: the origin, the net weight, the value, and the number of packages
  • Transportation costs
  • If applicable, a statement of origin
  • Required Documents:

    The commercial invoice, packing list insurance paperwork, bill of lading, and, if necessary, specific certifications of origin, sanitation, phytosanitary, and other documentation are required for goods being imported.

    Also, make sure your commercial invoice contains all relevant information, as this is how customs authorities will identify and process your package. Uncertain descriptions are a typical cause of shipments being held without customs clearance, which should always be taken into account.

    This means that a clear explanation of the goods is important; the description should be simple enough for someone who is not familiar with the business or product to comprehend. A product description should answer three simple questions: what it is, what it is used for, and what it is composed of.

    Vital documentation for international trade:

  • It's essential to have the proper documents in order to get paid on time.
  • It is important that the buyer and seller have a formal contract that includes      information such as the shipment delivery address, terms of sale, amounts, weights,      and parties involved, among other things.
  • It's possible that special documents will be required to pass your items through      customs and establish the appropriate duty and tax charges. Both the country from      which the commodities are exported and the country into which they are imported      may have requirements.
  • Certain products may be eligible for duty preferences with the prope certification.
  • Additional certifications may be required, such as Certificates of Compliance, Health      and/or Processing Certificates, Organic Certificates, and so on. This all depends on      the type of goods you're importing or exporting, and it's always a good idea to do      your homework and familiarise yourself with industry-specific criteria.