How to import goods

Importing goods means bringing in something from another country – and it passes through the customs clearance process on arrival. To ensure everything goes smoothly, it’s vital you have the right documentation ready and have checked the necessary regulations.

What are customs?

They’re the authorities controlling the flow of goods into and out of a country. They’re responsible for enforcing a country’s import and export laws and regulations. They also collect any duties and taxes.

What’s the first thing I need to check?

You, the receiver, need to declare your goods to the customs authorities.

Your carrier can usually take care of this for you, but you should check if they can before receiving the goods. If they can’t, you should appoint your own customs broker to perform the clearance.

What are customs brokers and how can I find one?

They’re international trade experts responsible for preparing and clearing your goods through customs. You can find approved brokers on your country’s customs’ website.

And on this website you should also check if you need a power of attorney as some countries legally require it.

What about additional documentation?

Ask the sender if you need any additional documentation like licenses or certificates – the sender needs to provide all the relevant information and documents to support the clearance process.

Bear in mind there might be a time limit on declaring your goods, so it’s important the documentation is completed and in place before the shipment arrives. And the details on each document should match.

Are there different types of customs clearance?

Yes, there are different types of clearance depending on the goods, the value and destination country.

How do I find out which type is applicable to my shipment?

Ask your carrier or check your country’s customs’ website. Bear in mind some clearances may take longer than others and require a customs broker.

What about duties and taxes?

Your carrier will tell you how much duties and taxes you have to pay. Make sure you’ve organised the payment with your carrier before the goods arrive.

When will my goods be released from customs?

After customs have received the declaration and checked everything is in order, they will release your goods into the country.

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