search

UPS, FedEx, DHL, & More

FedEx Customs Clearance: What Are the Steps

In this guide, learn the steps to take for customs clearance with FedEx as well as the services they provide to facilitate the process.
FedEx Customs Clearance: What Are the Steps
Jules

By Jules

 

September 25, 2020

Customs clearance is an important aspect of international shipping, but also one of the biggest hurdles that merchants face when sending goods cross-border. Any mishandling of the paperwork can result in unplanned extra charges or cause unnecessary delays in delivery that can inconvenience your buyers.

That is why it is important to take a few additional steps and learn how to deal with FedEx customs formalities to prepare your shipment for the customs clearance process every time you ship internationally.

FedEx is a global carrier that processes millions of shipments to over 200 countries around the world every day, and their teams have a strong understanding of customs regulations in different countries/territories.

Having been in the international shipping game for long, the carrier can offer you innovative strategies and guidance to help make customs paperwork a breeze and simplify this irksome process.

What Services Does FedEx Offer to Help With Customs Clearance?

FedEx is a well-established carrier that works with customs officials worldwide. Through many years of experience working with customs authorities, the carrier has developed innovative ways and technology to eliminate the hassles that come with handling paperwork and can help you expedite the clearance process and quicken the movement of your international shipment.

Here are some of the services that FedEx offers to help with Customs clearance.

  • Customs brokerage

As one of the largest customs entry filers worldwide, FedEx offers you expert customs brokerage to help you move through customs with the greatest ease when you ship internationally using FedEx Express services.

Duty and tax calculation, trade facilitation solutions, customs bonds, protest preparation and filling, duty drawback system, and follow-up liquidation issues are all different FedEx customs brokerage services that FedEx offers to make your international shipping a breeze.

These expert customs brokerage services are included for free (some restrictions apply) to clear your shipment through customs when you ship using FedEx Express services!

  • Export Documentation

Preparing export documentation can be a hassle, especially when you don't know what you should be doing or when you don't have the right tools. FedEx helps you solve this puzzle with a reliable Export Documentation service that is quick and accurate through FedEx Trade Networks.

With the help of FedEx Trade Networks, you can access the following Export Documentation services:

  • Preparation of required shipping documents
  • Management of exports via land, sea, and air
  • Packing list preparation
  • Electronic filing of Shipper's Export Declaration
  • Pre-alert information
  • Letter of Credit services
  • Comprehensive Cargo insurance and certificate arrangements
  • Commercial invoice creation
  • Rate quotations including all INCOTERMS
  • Certificate of origin preparation
  • FedEx International Broker Select

Although Customs clearance is included with every international shipment through the Customs Clearance service, FedEx gives you the freedom to use your own broker.

Through FedEx International Broker Select services, you have the options to use your own broker when shipping through International Priority, International Priority Freight, International Economy and International Economy Freight for shipments to more than 120 countries.

To use your own broker, all you need is to specify the broker’s name and check the broker selection box on the air waybill. FedEx will tender your shipment to your broker, and later resume its delivery to the final destination at your request.

  • EXPRESSCLEAR Customs Clearance System

FedEx offers you a fully automated EXPRESSCLEAR customs electronic system for rapid and accurate processing, clearance, and transmission of your international FedEx customs paperwork. Using state-of-the-art technology, the system transmits shipment information electronically to the customs agency so that processing of your shipment can begin before or when the plane is in the air.

This makes it possible for customs agents and brokers at the destination airport of entry to examine your commercial invoice, assess duties and taxes, and query the air waybill data to get more details for the shipments they wish to examine. By the time the plane arrives, packages that have been approved and cleared by customs for release can be sorted and sent out to meet the original delivery deadlines.

This makes it possible for over90% of all shipments to be cleared the same day.

  • Customs Self Assessment Program

FedEx stands out as the first integrated carrier in Canada to receive Customs Self Assessment certification, and the Customs Self Assessment Program (CSA) can work for you if you frequently import or export goods to Canada.

This service enables clearance of goods across the border for low-risk, pre-authorized importers and carriers, and can be very beneficial if your company is CSA-certified.

With FedEx Express, the CSA program can help you to:

  • Expedite clearance of goods across the Canada/U.S border.
  • Significantly reduce paperwork and eliminate the need for pre-approval
  • Use your own tracking and accounting systems to remit customs duties.

Customs Clearance and Brokerage Services

For import shipments, FedEx will provide you standard customs clearance at no extra charge. But there are times when your shipment has special clearance needs, especially when additional processing is required by a regulatory agency or when you or your importer request special processing from a FedEx customs broker.

At such times, FedEx offers you a comprehensive range of value-added customs brokerage and other solutions that work with your preferred mode of transportation. FedEx assesses a service fee for these ancillary service offerings to obtain the release of your shipment from any regulatory agency or for any other special services that you may request.

The FedEx total customs value for these ancillary clearance fees will be listed on your duty and tax invoice as separate line items and may be different per country/territory.

How Long Does Customs Clearance Take FedEx?

There is no one-size-fits-all period when it comes to customs clearance because this depends on the type of shipment, the country of origin, and the destination country. Authorities in different countries have different clearance requirements, and how long it takes depends on the paperwork required based on the type of goods you are shipping.

However, FedEx makes your customs clearance process quick and hassle-free, with its EXPRESSCLEAR customs electronic system, which makes it possible to clear up to 90% of all shipments the same day.

Does FedEx Charge Customs?

When you ship using FedEx Express services, FedEx customs clearance is included, and FedEx will clear your shipment. However, if your shipment has special clearance needs, and you request special processing from a FedEx customs broker, FedEx will apply and bill the service fees incurred.

You may also be charged a fee for standard customs clearance service in some countries/territories or some FedEx subsidiaries. Ancillary clearance service fees may also apply for international shipments to direct served FedEx destinations.

FedEx total customs value for these ancillary clearance service fees will be listed on your duty and tax invoice as separate line items.

What Are FedEx Customs Documents?

FedEx customs documents are the paperwork that you need to complete for your international shipments. They provide you with the shipping tools you need to prepare all the documentation online in their Document Preparation Center or upload your own paperwork.

Here is a quick look at the customs documents that you will need.

  • FedEx International Air Waybill: This document is required for every international shipment. It captures key details about what you are shipping, the destination of your shipment, and how you want it delivered.
  • FedEx Ground Shipping Label: If you send your shipment via FedEx International Ground, you will need to print and attach a FedEx Ground shipping label.
  • Commercial invoice: This is an important document required by customs authorities for all international shipments if the goods are intended for sale. If the goods are not for sale, you will need a pro forma invoice.  It serves as the primary document for all other international shipping documents and is used for import control, valuation, and duty determination.
  • Certificate of origin: This document states the origin of the exported commodity and serves as a declaration by the exporter. Customs authorities use it to determine the duty that will be applied to your shipment.
  • Export License: This document permits you to export products that may fall under certain restrictions due to security concerns or restricted use.

Other important customs documents include the insurance certificate, inspection certificate, Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI), export packing list, and the Electronic Export Information (EEI).

If you are not sure of the documents you need, FedEx helps you find the required and recommended documents for your shipment using the Find International Documents feature in the FedEx Global Trade Manager.

You can also use FedEx International Shipping Assist to get assistance with every step of the international shipping process.

How to Contact FedEx Customs?

There are several ways to contact FedEx for special brokerage assistance, or trade and customs advisory services. You can reach out to FedEx in the following ways.

For customs brokerage assistance:

For trade and customs advisory services:

Contact the duty drawback department:

Easyship Connects Merchants Our Global Courier Network

With Easyship, eCommerce merchants gain access to a modern courier stack that connects with over 250+ shipping solutions, including FedEx. We help you expedite your FedEx customs paperwork processing with pre-filled customs forms and declarations and automated shipping label generation.

We’ll connect you to a range of FedEx customs clearance services so that you won’t find yourself having to pay extra fees or have your shipment delayed because of incorrect customs paperwork.

Sign up for a free account today and let our team of experts help you navigate FedEx customs formalities with ease.


If you found this article valuable, you might enjoy the following: