How to send samples via international courier without having custom clearance problems?

TNT, DHL, FedEx and UPS are the well known global air courier companies.

They carry lots of international cargo contains not only just shipment documents but also small parcels every day from one country to another.

They are fast, secure and reliable service providers for international companies.

Sometimes samples held by the customs and unexpected custom clearance costs will be paid by the exporters or the importers.

Negative effects of this problem could lead to some harmful consequences on these companies.

On this article I would like to write about how to make sample shipments via courier companies so that the parcels will not be held by the customs.
International Courier Shipments

Before going any further I need to clarify one point. Even if you that all precautions, your cargo may still be held by the customs.

This is because of the fact that custom authorities around the world follow some sort of statistical sampling procedures for the custom controls and your package may be the lucky one. Also custom authorities open some packages upon reasonable curiosity. These occasions are beyond your control and will not be covered under this page.

What are the main costs if the courier package is held by the importing country’s custom authorities?

If your courier parcel is held by the customs authorities you have to clear it as if you are importing a regular cargo. As a result your extra charges equal to a regular import cost of this product. These extra charges could be summarized as bellows:
  • Import custom duties 
  • Custom broker charges 
  • Documentation costs 
Please keep in mind that door to door delivery will be paid in advance so freight charges will not be considered as an extra cost. After you clear the goods from customs the courier company will bring the package to you without extra cost to your company.

Steps to Take Custom Free Courier Shipments:
  • Make sure that you prepare all necessary documentation such as proforma invoice, commercial invoice, packing list etc. 
  • Make sure that you declare a small amount on the proforma invoice or commercial invoice. For example when you send a sample to European Union you have to declare a value less than 22EUR as Consignments not exceeding a total customs value of €22 may be imported without payment of VAT. To be on the safe side proforma invoice total should not pass 4-5 EUR limit. 
  • Make sure that you write a notation on the proforma invoice such as “No commercial value. Custom Purposes only.” or similar. 
  • Make sure that your documentation is complete for the importing country. For example if you are dispatching food samples to USA you need to fill some online FDA forms.