Customs Clearance

What is customs clearance?

A Customs Clearance is an electronic transmission sent by a customs broker to U.S. Customs & Border Protection to release cargo into the commerce of the USA. In order to obtain this release of your goods into the country, information about your shipment is submitted to the government for their release. Duties and fees are due and paid as a result of the release of the merchandise. Payment is due prior to delivery, unless terms have been arranged prior to release. 

Documents Required for Customs Clearance

  • Power of Attorney - Document filled out by the importer giving us legal authorization to classify and clear import freight through customs. It also allows us to pay duty on your behalf that is owed. 
  • Commercial Invoice - Document detailing the origin, description, quantity, valuation and any other information pertaining to the contents of your import freight. This can be generated by either the sender or receiver of the freight. 
  • Bill of Lading/Airway Bill - Document provided by the shipping line or airfreight carrier confirming that your freight is in their possession and in transit. It provides a tracking number and an arrival notice when your freight has arrived at the port of destination.

Responsibility for Importer of Record


  • Responsible for the correct and truthful description of the commodity
  • Responsible for correct classification as provided by the US HTS (Customs Tariff) which can be found on 
  • Responsible for duties and fees due to U.S. customs for the imported products.
  • Responsible for any charges that may occurred at ports and customs warehouses (demurrage, storage, per dim fees, etc.)
  • Responsible for any customs exam /inspection charges

General Information


Every port in every country around the world puts your cargo through a customs clearance process.

The rules, regulations, and laws are a bit different from country to country, sometimes from port to port within a country, making someone who specializes in customs clearance very important to a shipper exporting and importing goods.

These specialists are called customs brokers and the work they do is called customs brokerage.

Having the wrong person handle your customs brokerage can be very problematic. Cargo takes terminal space or is warehoused as they go through customs clearance. Warehousing and storage fees can add up quickly. If there is a problem with your customs brokerage and your customs clearance does not happen smoothly, your shipping costs could go up by hundreds to thousands of dollars.

On top of these costs, the delay in getting your shipping containers released to you because of customs clearance problems could cost your business more money because the arrival of your shipment is delayed.