Having your parcel stuck in customs is one of the worst experiences. Unfortunately, customs delays are a pretty common issue when it comes to international shipping, and often, there's not much one can do to avoid them. The key here is to always ship via reliable and renowned courier companies. This is the first step towards avoiding the long and stressful process of having your shipment held in UK customs.
Packlink can help you with that. By using our comparison tool, you'll be able to compare between various delivery providers and find the best deal when shipping overseas. We only work with the world's most renowned couriers, including DHL, DPD, and Evri, so you can rest assured your shipment will be delivered on time and without any customs issues. However, if you have already experienced some trouble regarding your stuck shipment, the following guide will provide you with all the information on what to expect and do.
Why Can a Package Get Stuck in Customs?
There are numerous reasons for your parcel to get stuck in customs. The most common reasons for having your shipment stuck or delayed include:
- Transporting restricted or prohibited items. Every country has a list of prohibited or restricted items. If your parcel contains an item that is stated as prohibited or restricted, the customs clearing process will take much more than usual. What's more, if you fail to provide the necessary documentation a customs officer asks for, your package might even be destroyed.
- Failing to provide the necessary documents. Customs officers can hold your parcel for as long as they like until you provide them with the required documentation. When you ship globally, you should always provide a customs declaration. Incorrect paperwork can also cause considerable customs headaches, so be sure you provide all the necessary documentation on time and fill it out correctly.
- Unpaid taxes. Countries impose taxes on shipments that exceed a specific value. The longer it takes you to pay them, the longer will your parcel be stuck in customs.
The type of shipment service can also impact how long the customs clearance will take. In many countries, slower forms of transportation involve longer customs processes. To avoid any problems, use Packlink's international shipping services and get your parcels delivered faster no matter the destination country.
How Long Is the UK Customs Clearance Process?
A standard customs clearance process shouldn't take longer than a few hours (usually, it's minutes). However, if any problems arise regarding your parcel, this process can take days or even weeks. The exact period will depend on the scale of an issue or how quickly you resolve it. For instance, missing paperwork can prolong customs clearance for as long as you provide customs with complete paperwork.
Are There Any Customs Fees?
Yes, there are, and unfortunately, there isn't one unified customs clearance fee when your package gets stuck in UK customs. A third party can do both shipping and clearance, and they can charge:
- A customs handling fee for processing all the required documentation
- An advancement fee for paying VAT and duty on the sender's behalf
- A security fee for screening the shipped goods
What to Do When My Parcel Is Stuck in UK Customs?
If you receive a message that your parcel is stuck at customs, you should take immediate steps to resolve customs issues as soon as possible. Here's what you should do:
Contact Your Courier
The first thing to do is contact your courier. Renowned couriers like DPD or DHL might be able to help you and have customs clear your parcel. The fastest way to contact a courier company is via phone. Their customer service should provide you with all the information regarding clearing your shipment fast. However, be sure to have your package tracking number at hand for the shipper to locate your parcel.
Check If There Are Any Outstanding Taxes to Pay
As mentioned, countries can impose taxes on shipments exceeding particular values. If there are any payable taxes on your parcel, it will be held at customs until the tax is paid. If you ship via postal service or a standard express shipper, they will pay the required tax for you, charging you an administration fee for clearing your package through customs.
If you own an online store and send larger shipments regularly, you may require a customs broker. They will arrange for taxes to be paid, clearing your shipment. In general, it's best to understand the clearing process and tax arrangements, ensuring it's paid. Your shipment will be sent back to your warehouse in the best-case scenario. In the worst-case scenario, your parcels might even be destroyed.
Double-Check the Paperwork
Missing or incorrect paperwork is probably the most common reason for having a package stuck in customs. Be sure that you provide customs with all the documentation required. Even a small mistake like forgetting to apply an invoice or using the wrong shipping labels may cause significant delays. If you suspect that the reason for your parcel getting stuck has something to do with missing paperwork, contact your shipping provider. They will provide you with the necessary information and assistance regarding delivering the required customs paperwork.
Avoid International Shipping Problems With Packlink
Dealing with customs delays can be a slow and stressful process. Unfortunately, if you send lots of international parcels, you will come across a customs problem sooner rather than later. That is unless you ship via reliable and renowned couriers.
For this purpose, using Packlink is your best way to avoid any customs problems when shipping items to other countries. We only work with the world's most renowned courier companies to ensure our users receive the best and cheapest delivery service possible, avoiding any customs drags along the way.
Finding your ideal shipping via Packlink is a very easy process. All you'll need to do is fill out information regarding your parcel, including its weight dimensions, as well as from where and where you want to send it. We'll calculate the fastest and cheapest delivery option based on your answers, saving you time and money on your parcel delivery needs.
UK Customs FAQs
How to find out my parcel is stuck in customs?
The best and fastest way to check whether your shipment is stuck in customs is by contacting your shipping provider. However, be sure to have your tracking code at hand for them to locate and see what might be the problem with your parcel.
Why is my shipment stuck in customs?
There are several reasons for having your shipment held at customs, including sending restricted or prohibited items, missing documentation, or unpaid duties and taxes. Sometimes, even a trivial thing like a seller forgetting to provide an invoice or using the wrong language can cause significant delays.
Who pays customs fees when shipping globally?
Typically, it's a receiver's duty to pay customs duties. However, both parties can agree for the sender to cover any customs charges.
How long does it take customs to clear the package?
If there aren't any issues with the package, the clearance process should only take a few minutes and no longer than a couple of hours. However, if a problem arises (missing documentation, unpaid duty, etc.), the whole process can take days or even weeks.