How to make a good customs declaration?

Facilitate customs clearance

On July 1, 2021, the European Union implemented new customs regulations. Indeed, "all online purchases made outside the European Union are now subject to taxation, and this from the 1st euro". These new rules are intended to facilitate customs formalities for companies within the European Union, and to limit tax fraud to ensure a better equity between companies.


How does customs work? 

The role of customs is to carry out security controls as well as to ensure a fiscal mission. When a parcel arrives in customs, the taxes on the goods are controlled and the taxes paid. Customs performs security controls in order to fight against terrorist threats (chemical, bacteriological attacks etc...). It prevents trafficking and controls goods that are prohibited for import/export (drugs or other illegal goods). Finally, it guarantees the protection of the health of citizens and the environment (goods subject to sanitary and phytosanitary regulations).

What is customs clearance? 

Customs clearance is performed when parcels / goods must enter or leave a territory. For example, within the European Union, it is necessary to carry out a customs clearance procedure in order to send your parcels legally and without any problem. 

This is an administrative procedure that consists in declaring the nature and value of the imported/exported goods, as well as declaring information about the sender and the recipient. 

Then, the customs services will calculate the amount of taxes and charges to be paid.

Avoiding customs delays

When your shipment arrives at customs, customs agents are responsible for calculating the charges on all shipments. Therefore, these customs agents need to know the precise contents of your shipments in order to accurately calculate the charges. The declaration of the contents of your shipments must be as accurate and clear as possible to reduce the risk of blockage at customs and avoid delays in delivery.

Why are my parcels delayed at customs? 

Customs regulations in the European Union have been different since July 1st and it is possible that since last summer, you are subject to many delays in customs clearance. 

How can this be explained? When you declare the contents of your shipments, a wrong description of them can lead to delivery delays and customs blockages

For example:

You sell clothing and need to ship a leather coat. If you put "clothes" on your customs declaration, your shipment may be blocked / delayed. Mentioning the nature of the shipment is not enough, you will have to specify "leather coat" in your customs declaration. 

This example is valid for any type of business sector, for the example above, the clearance of a leather goods will not be the same as a cotton one (a t-shirt for example). This is why the description "clothes" is not efficient. 

You can find several examples of compliant descriptions on the European Commission's guide.Si l’anglais n’est pas votre langue, pensez tout de même à écrire en anglais la description de votre marchandise pour une meilleure compréhension pour les services douaniers internationaux

How to facilitate customs clearance? 

  • Enter enough detailed information about the nature of your merchandise 
  • Customs will verify that your shipment is not subject to any restrictions or prohibitions 
  • If English is not your language, remember to write the description of your goods in English for a better understanding by the international customs services

The more detail and clarity, the faster the process will be. The goods prioritized for clearance will be those with the clearest declarations. If not, your goods will be redirected to another customs agent who will be responsible for verifying the nature of the goods, and therefore your shipment will spend more time in customs. 

If you ship via Upela, you don't need to make a proforma invoice because all the information will be requested when you place the order. It is therefore very important to fill in the requested fields correctly, especially the fields: Shipment characteristics and Customs obligations, to ensure a smooth shipment. However, for all your international shipments, we invite you to attach 3 copies of the commercial invoice to your shipment specifying the EORI, and the HS Code (Harmonié Customs Code). We also invite you to contact the customs of your country for any additional information.

Enjoy your shipment!

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