What To Do If Your Shipment Gets Stuck In Customs

What To Do If Your Shipment Gets Stuck In Customs

What To Do If Your Shipment Gets Stuck In Customs

Regardless of the reason, the following tips can assist in releasing the goods and avoiding potential customs issues in the future. It is often challenging to identify the appropriate contacts or actions to take to expedite the release of the shipment.

In this article, we will offer you some tips on how to streamline these customs clearance services, and also help you find out what is going on with your shipment.

Get in touch with your 3PL provider

Your first step should be to contact the party responsible for shipping your goods. It’s common for the shipper to communicate only with the seller due to various reasons. Therefore, you should get in touch with the seller to learn what’s happening with your shipment and if any essential documentation required for customs clearance was missed.


The seller can then contact the shipper to gather more information about the customs hold on your shipment. It’s important to ensure that the seller provides you with a tracking code that you can use to monitor your package’s progress accurately.

Typically, the best way to do this is through the company’s website, where you can learn about the shipment’s status. If you suspect that your shipment is stuck in customs, the shipment sender should be your first point of contact.

Contact your carrier as soon as possible

Check and see if your shipment is actually stuck in customs. It’s best to contact carriers by phone, but be cautious as some of them may use premium-rate numbers that can cost you. Contacting the shipper will help you identify any action you can take to speed up your shipment’s time in customs. Always keep your tracking number on hand as it will assist the shipper in locating your package.

Be careful with sellers who may under-declare the value of packages for DDP shipments to reduce their tax expenses (this can also occur with DDU shipments). To get your package released quickly and avoid potentially nasty situations, actively communicate with your shipper, check the commercial invoice, and be aware of these customs declaration situations.

Verify if there are additional taxes imposed

In some countries, taxes are imposed on shipments over a certain value and if these taxes are due, the shipment will be held until the balance is paid. Standard express shippers and postal services usually pay the tax on your behalf (DDU) and charge you an administration fee to clear your goods through customs.

However, for larger shipments (valued at over $2500 in the USA), you will need a customs broker to arrange for the taxes to be paid and for the shipment to be released from customs.

Make sure there is no incorrect or missing paperwork

One of the main reasons for shipping delays is the absence of required documentation. The documentation necessary for customs clearance may differ depending on the size, value, and type of goods being shipped. Even minor errors such as sending restricted items or forgetting to attach an invoice or CN22 customs form can lead to significant shipment delays.

It can be challenging to identify missing paperwork, particularly when you don’t have access to the package. However, if you are using an express shipping service, they can assist you in retrieving any missing documentation.

Therefore, contacting your shipper should be your first course of action. To make sure that your business doesn’t encounter any problems when shipping goods, use a company that handles custom clearance services.