Customs Clearance is

Customs clearance is a procedure required before goods can be imported or exported internationally. If you have undergone this procedure, then the shipment can be processed. Usually, this process will be easier if the importer or exporter uses customs clearance services. Because, in the process, various information is required which is sometimes quite complicated for "lay people" to provide. So what is the actual definition of customs clearance? According to Andy Susilo and colleagues in the Export World Smart Book: Series 1 (2018), customs clearance is an administrative process related to customs and government administration in sending or releasing goods from or to loading or unloading ports. While referring to the Cambridge Dictionary, "customs clearance" is official permission to bring goods into or out of a country. This includes creating contracts, collaborating with transportation companies, as well as providing shipping documents.

Customs clearance processing procedures

In logistics activities, there are three basic process stages that must be carried out, namely as follows:

  • Pre-clearance stage
  • This first stage begins with various matters related to administration. Companies and logistics service users must register with customs authorities to obtain a NIK or customs identification number.

  • Clearance stage
  • This is the second administrative stage that must be passed. This stage consists of three things that must be taken care of, namely notifying the customs agency, paying taxes, and releasing the goods. Apart from that, for importers, there are three routes, namely the red, yellow and green routes.

  • Post-clearance stage
  • This is the final administrative stage before the logistics goods are actually sent to the destination country. At this stage, a customs audit and re-examination will be carried out to create a customs bill.

    How to handle customs clearance

    So, how do you take care of customs clearance? Basically, processing documents for export and import is not easy. However, referring to the Medan Area University Academic Quality and Information Administration Bureau, there are 4 steps that can be followed to process customs clearance, namely:

  • Customs registration and product licensing process
  • The first step you have to take to arrange customs clearance is to register for customs. Without this, you will not have legal permission to import an item. Therefore, do not skip this process. If you have been registered legally, you will get a NIK or customs identification number from the relevant forum. Then, remember to take care of permits for the goods you want to import.

  • Send data to Customs
  • If you have registered and the documents related to your product license have been completed, the next step you need to take is to submit the data to customs. After that, wait until the data verification process is complete. The verification process includes inspection of goods, taking samples for laboratory tests, and the like if necessary. In general, the process of checking documents and other things takes up to 30 days. If there is missing data, customs will ask you to complete it by issuing an error note. Complete the documents immediately after you receive acceptance so that the import-export process can run more smoothly.

  • Wait for Customs audit and re-inspection
  • When the verification process is complete, customs will send you details of customs clearing fees. Then, a bill will be issued which you must complete. If you have paid, then the goods are ready to be shipped out.

    Required documents

    Basically, each country has its own document requirements in processing customs clearance. Because, everything depends on the regulations of each country. However, in general, there are several documents that are equally required in processing customs clearance in several countries, namely:

  • Bill of Entry
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Bill of Lading or Airway Bill
  • Import License
  • Insurance Certificate
  • Letter of Credit or Purchase Order
  • Industrial License (if any)
  • RCMC (if any)
  • Test Report (if any)
  • Even though they often carry out goods transportation services, especially exports and imports, several companies admit that managing customs clearance is a complicated process. For this reason, many people prefer to use customs clearance services.