How Can I Check The Status Of The Customs Clearance Process?

So you’ve just imported a package from overseas and you’re eagerly awaiting its arrival. But how do you know where your package is in the customs clearance process? Fret not, because in this article, you’ll discover the easiest and most efficient way to check the status of your customs clearance. No more waiting in the dark, wondering when your package will finally reach your doorstep. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be able to track and stay updated on the progress of your customs clearance, giving you peace of mind and a smoother import experience.

How Can I Check The Status Of The Customs Clearance Process?

e Customs Clearing Process

What is customs clearance process?


The customs clearance process refers to the procedures and documentation required by customs authorities to allow goods to enter or exit a country legally. It involves verifying the goods, assessing their value, and determining any import duties, taxes, or restrictions that may apply.


The customs clearance process is an essential part of international trade. It ensures that goods comply with all legal and regulatory requirements, preventing illegal or counterfeit items from entering the country. Proper customs clearance also helps facilitate the flow of goods across borders, ensuring smooth delivery and reducing the risk of delays or penalties.

Why is it important to check the status?

Avoid delays and penalties

Checking the status of your customs clearance is crucial to avoid unnecessary delays and penalties. If there are any issues or discrepancies with your shipment, it is better to address them as soon as possible. Keeping track of the clearance process allows you to take corrective actions if needed, ensuring that your goods reach their destination on time.

Ensure smooth delivery

Knowing the status of your customs clearance helps you anticipate any potential hurdles that may arise during the transportation of your goods. By staying informed, you can proactively communicate with the relevant parties, such as shipping carriers or customs authorities, to resolve any issues and ensure a smooth delivery process.

Plan ahead

Checking the status of your customs clearance allows you to plan ahead and make informed decisions about your shipping schedule. By knowing the estimated clearance time, you can coordinate with other stakeholders, such as suppliers or customers, to avoid any logistical disruptions and manage their expectations effectively.

How Can I Check The Status Of The Customs Clearance Process?

Get your US Customs Bond

Methods to check customs clearance status

There are several methods you can use to check the status of your customs clearance. Here are some effective approaches:

Contact the shipping carrier

One of the simplest ways to check the customs clearance status is to reach out directly to the shipping carrier responsible for transporting your goods. They should have comprehensive information about the progress of your shipment and can provide you with real-time updates.

To contact the shipping carrier:

  • Find the carrier’s contact information on their website or the shipping documents you received.
  • Provide them with the necessary details, such as the tracking number or reference number.
  • Ask for a status update on the customs clearance process.

Track shipment online

Many shipping carriers provide online tracking services that allow you to monitor the progress of your shipment in real-time. You can easily check the customs clearance status by following these steps:

  • Locate the tracking number provided by the shipping carrier.
  • Visit the carrier’s website and navigate to their tracking page.
  • Enter the tracking number to retrieve the details of your shipment.
  • Look for information related to customs clearance and check its status.

Contact customs authorities

If you prefer direct communication with the customs authorities, you can contact them to inquire about the status of your customs clearance. They will have access to the necessary information and can provide you with updates on the progress.

To contact customs authorities:

  • Find the relevant authority’s contact information, which can usually be found on their official website or through a quick online search.
  • Provide them with the details of your shipment, such as the bill of lading or airway bill number, invoice, and packing list.
  • Ask for an update on the customs clearance status of your goods.

Hire a customs broker

If you find the customs clearance process overwhelming or require professional assistance, you can hire a licensed customs broker. These experts specialize in navigating customs regulations and can provide valuable insights and updates on your clearance status.

To hire a customs broker:

  • Engage a licensed customs broker with experience in the countries you are shipping to or from.
  • Provide them with the necessary information about your shipment, including the bill of lading or airway bill number, invoice, packing list, and any other relevant documentation.
  • Request regular status updates on the customs clearance process and rely on their expertise to handle any issues that may arise.

What information do I need?

To check the customs clearance status, you will typically need the following information:

  • Bill of lading or airway bill number: This unique identifier is assigned to your shipment by the shipping carrier and can be found on the shipping documents or online tracking information.
  • Invoice and packing list: These documents detail the contents, value, and quantity of the goods being imported or exported.
  • Entry number or declaration ID: This reference number is assigned by customs authorities to your declaration form, which contains important information about your shipment.

Having these details readily available will facilitate the process of checking the customs clearance status and ensure accurate and timely updates.

What does the customs clearance status mean?

Understanding the various status updates associated with the customs clearance process can provide valuable insights into the progress of your shipment. Here are a few common status updates and their implications:

  • “In progress”: This status indicates that the customs clearance process is underway. It means that the relevant authorities are reviewing the necessary documentation and verifying the goods. It is a positive sign that your shipment is moving forward.
  • “Held for inspection”: This status suggests that customs authorities have flagged your shipment for a detailed inspection. It could be due to various reasons, such as security concerns or discrepancies in the documentation. You may need to provide additional information or await further instructions.
  • “Cleared”: This status indicates that your shipment has successfully completed the customs clearance process and is ready for further transportation or delivery. It is a positive outcome that signals the successful entry or exit of your goods from the country.

It is important to recognize that customs practices and terminology can vary between countries. Therefore, it is advisable to seek clarification from customs authorities or your customs broker if you encounter unfamiliar or unclear status updates.

What to do if there is a delay?

Despite careful planning, delays in the customs clearance process can occasionally occur. If you encounter a delay, it is essential to take prompt action to address the issue and minimize any further disruptions. Here are some steps you can take:

Contact the shipping carrier

If you notice a delay in the customs clearance process, the first course of action is to contact the shipping carrier responsible for your shipment. They can provide you with updates on the precise status and reasons for the delay. By actively engaging with the carrier, you can collaborate on finding potential solutions or mitigating the impact of the delay.

Reach out to customs authorities

If the delay persists or requires further clarification, it may be necessary to reach out directly to customs authorities. By contacting them, you can obtain detailed information on the reasons for the delay and seek their guidance on how to proceed. Customs authorities are typically helpful in resolving any issues and ensuring that your goods are properly cleared.

Seek assistance from a customs broker

If the delay becomes complex or you find it challenging to navigate the customs clearance process on your own, consider seeking assistance from a licensed customs broker. They have the expertise and experience to handle various customs-related complexities. By engaging their services, they can intervene on your behalf, communicate with the relevant authorities, and expedite the clearance process.

In conclusion, checking the status of your customs clearance process is vital for ensuring a smooth and timely delivery of goods. By utilizing the various methods outlined in this article, such as contacting the shipping carrier, tracking shipments online, contacting customs authorities, or hiring a customs broker, you can stay informed about the progress of your clearance and take appropriate actions if any delays or issues arise. Remember to have the necessary information readily available and to reach out for assistance when needed.

ISF Filing