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What does a "shipment subject to customs clearance" SMS mean?
What does a "shipment subject to customs clearance" SMS mean?

When we buy outside the European community we can receive an SMS that tells us “shipment subject to customs clearance". Today we are going to tell you what it means and what you should do when you receive this message.

All of us who are used to buying online have bought something that came from outside the European community, probably from China. These products, as you well know, must go through customs since only countries belonging to the EU are free of this procedure.

Not all products are stopped at customs and most of the time we don't have any problem, but it may happen that one day we receive an SMS explaining that our shipment is subject to customs clearance.

Consequences of customs retention

What does a "shipment subject to customs clearance" SMS mean?
What does a "shipment subject to customs clearance" SMS mean?

When we order a product outside the EU and we opt for “traditional shipping”, that is, shipping by regular mail (very slow) it is more than likely (it is not 100% reliable) that you do not have any customs problem and the product reaches your home after many days.

The problem comes when we opt for faster shipping and the order comes through an agency (DHL, it is the most used). At that time your chances that the product will be retained at customs and you will receive the SMS that we mentioned before, will be much higher.

When what we have purchased is retained by customs, we must assume that the cost of the product could rise substantially, since the following taxes, costs and procedures could be required:

  1. corresponding VAT (or IGIC).
  2. Tariff.
  3. Excise taxes (if necessary).
  4. We must present an import declaration (DUA).

Procedures depending on the value

Depending on several factors, we can get rid of paying, even if our order has been stopped at customs, until we have to pay a significant amount for said product to reach our hands.

If the value is less than 22 euros and the invoice is attached or has a declared value, there will be no problem and the order will come to our house. This is why most of our orders to China come with a “Gift” description and a value less than $15 (even though the actual value is higher).

When the value is between 22 and 150 euros, with the attached invoice (unless it is some type of special merchandise), we can have it with us with the inconvenience of having to pay when it is delivered to us, the corresponding VAT and the DUA fee that they request.

If the product does not have an invoice, its price is higher than 150 euros or the customs agentsThey believe that its value is greater than this amount, the package will not reach your home because it will be held at customs.

In this case, after receiving the SMS that we mentioned before, they will send us a notice to our address with all the indications that we must follow to regularize the situation, which we must resolve within 15 days.

When this time comes we have three options to solve the problem The first would be go to Customs and do all the paperwork ourselves, the second would be hire a customs agent to make the arrangements or as a third option, we can use Correos as our representative.

We choose the option we choose, we must bear in mind that no one is going to free us from paying:

  1. Import SAD.
  2. Warehouse retention.
  3. 21% VAT.
  4. Tariff depending on the content of the package.
  5. And if you have chosen a customs agent, we will add what they charge for their efforts.

Now you know what happens, what are the consequences and the procedures to follow if you receive the message “shipment subject to customs clearance”. From there you must be the ones who decide how to act if necessary.

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