Import Clearance

Import Clearance – Simple explanation and Examples

What is Import Clearance?

Import Clearance is a critical process in international trade encompassing all the procedures and documentation required to move goods across international borders. The essential purpose of import clearance is to ensure that goods comply with the importing country’s customs regulations, tariffs, and statutory requirements, facilitating smooth and legally compliant goods entry.

Steps Involved in Import Clearance

Pre-Arrival Documentation

Before the goods arrive at the port of entry, preparatory steps include:
Bill of Lading: A legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper, describing the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried.
Commercial Invoice: A document required by customs to determine the value of the goods being shipped and assess the duties and taxes payable.
Packing List: A detailed list specifying the contents, dimensions, and weight of the shipment.
Import License: Depending on the type of product, some goods may require a license or special permit.

Customs Declarations

  • Entry Summary Declaration: Submitted electronically or manually to the relevant customs authority, detailing shipment specifics and ensuring compliance with import regulations.
  • Tariff Classification and Valuation: Deciding on the correct tariff codes and valuation to determine applicable duties and taxes.

Physical Inspection

After documentation, shipments might undergo a customs inspection, which could range from a simple document check to physical product examination:
Risk Assessment: Customs authorities evaluate the risk associated with the shipment based on various factors such as origin, nature of goods, and past compliance history.
Physical Examination: Random or specified inspections ascertain product conformity with a declared description, regulations, and health and safety standards.

Duty and Tax Payment

Import duties, VAT, and other applicable taxes are calculated and payable before the goods are cleared for import:
Duty Calculation: Based on the product’s tariff classification, value, and applicable trade agreements.
Tax Payment: Ensuring all dues are settled aids in quicker clearance and avoids penalties.

Examples of Import Clearance

Electronics Import

Suppose a company imports electronic gadgets from China to the USA. The steps would generally include:
– Pre-arrival arrangements like obtaining the commercial invoice and packing list.
– Filing an Entry Summary Declaration with pertinent data electronically.
– Ensuring proper tariff classification and calculation of duties based on the product’s merit.
– Possible customs inspections to ensure safety and compliance with US standards.
– Payment of import duties and taxes for goods’ final clearance and release.

Apparel and Textiles Import

For importing clothing from India to Europe:
– Documentation like bills of lading, commercial invoices, and packing lists are crucial.
– Entry Summary Declaration gets submitted to European customs.
– Product compliance check, especially for labelling, environmental standards, and material safety.
– Settling customs duties according to the Common External Tariff of the EU and additional VAT before the goods are fully cleared.

Important Considerations for Import Clearance

Compliance and Regulations

  • Legal Requirements: Ensure compliance with the importing country’s laws and regulations to avoid delays, fines, or shipment rejections.
  • Documentation Accuracy: Accurate and complete documentation is paramount to seamless import clearance.
  • Inspections and Compliance Checks: Be prepared for variable customs inspections.

Practical Tips

  • Use of Customs Broker: Leveraging a customs broker can vastly improve the efficiency and compliance of the import clearance process.
  • Understand Tariff Systems: Familiarize yourself with the Harmonized System (HS) for classifying goods.
  • Automate and Digitalize: Employ digital tools for documentation and declarations to streamline procedures.


Import Clearance represents a crucial facet of international trade, ensuring that goods meet all regulatory and legal frameworks of the importing country. Proper preparation, compliance, and understanding of the associated processes can enable smoother and more efficient clearance of goods.

Should you require expert assistance with import clearance or any other customs-related needs, feel free to contact us at eezyimport for reliable and professional guidance.

Import Clearance – FAQ


What documents are required for import clearance?

  • Bill of Lading: A legal shipping document.
  • Commercial Invoice: Details the value and description of the goods.
  • Packing List: Lists contents, dimensions, and weight of the shipment.
  • Import License: May be required for certain goods.

What is the process of customs inspection during import clearance?

  • Risk Assessment: Evaluation of shipment risk by customs authorities.
  • Physical Examination: Random or specific checks to ensure compliance with regulations and safety standards.
  • Document Check: Verification of submitted documents against the shipment.

How are import duties and taxes calculated?

  • Tariff Classification: Determining the correct tariff codes for the goods.
  • Product Valuation: Calculating the value based on the commercial invoice.
  • Applicable Trade Agreements: Taking any relevant agreements into consideration for duty reductions.
  • Final Payment: Duties and taxes must be settled before goods are cleared for import.
eezyimport is an online platform and is not a licensed customs broker. However, we work closely with a third-party licensed customs broker who can assist with any entry-related issues.

eezyimport is an online platform and is not a licensed customs broker. However, we work closely with a third-party licensed customs broker who can assist with any entry-related issues.

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