Loading

Customs, how the documents work (or fail)Customs, how the documents work (or fail)Misc

The world's finest hobby kits and toys, direct from Japan.
RajkeRajke6 päivää sitten
Hi MFC,

Probably everyone has experienced it at one point. Packages hold by Customs.
We sometimes think 'Why does it takes so long' or 'My package contains nothing special, why won't Customs release it'.
With this blog I want to point out how the Customs documentation works for shipments between the EU and the rest of the world. Explaining it as easy as possible.
Go to the section ‘the process in short’ if you only want to know the international process in a nutshell.

Placing the order
So we have ordered a figure by a shop in Japan. Somewhere in their warehouse your figure will be picked, packed and shipped. The shipper has the choice to create the documents themself or let the carriers do that for them. What the seller (not shipper) must create themselves is the invoice.

Documents needed
And here we have the first obstacle. For every shipment between EU and non-EU country's you need the invoice and the correct customs document. The kind of document needed depends on the country's involved. T1 or EX-A (export) are used the most for packages.
The data on the T1 or Export document must match 100% with the invoice.

Invoice
We all have seen an invoice at some point. When you buy something expensive like a car or bicycle you receive an invoice from the seller. Some are looking really professional and some looks like they are created by a monkey. When importing or exporting items the invoice must contain certain information. If it looks like it is designed by a monkey is irrelevant.

Information on the invoice
An invoice can be made in a lot of different formats and it doesn’t matter if it is one page or twentyfive pages.
More important is the information on the invoice. If there is something missing or filled in incorrect, expect some delay at the customs clearance.
So what must the invoice contain?
-Date of creation.
-Address of the seller and/or address of departure.
-Address of the buyer.
-Name or company name of the seller. In case of a company name the name of the representative person must be added.
-Name or company’s name of the buyer.
-The articles with description.
-CoO or in other words country of origin.
-Quantity of the article.
-Price a piece for each article without taxes.
-Gross/netto weight of the items.
-HS code for each article (each article in the EU has a category and subcategory. That information is brought back in a number which is called the HS code). That code explains for the customs declarant what the item is. An incorrect HS code has influence on the VAT that has to be paid.
-Incoterm (a code that exists in three letters, it tells who is liable for the insurance in case something goes wrong, who is responsible for the shipping costs, taxes etc.).
-Total price charged to the customer excluding taxes and fees.
-If there are dangerous materials inside it has to be mentioned. This includes things like batteries. With potential hazardous material a MSDS file of the article must be added. With figures I won’t see that happening. But for example paint for garage kits a MSDS file is possible.

The Customs document
Most of the time you will not receive this document and the shipping invoice. So it is possible that you never have seen these documents. The information on the invoice which pointed out is also registered on the customs documents.
Other important information on the customs document is the office of exchange/ office of declaration. This is a code or a place mentioned on the customs documents. It simply says that a follow up document must be made at that exact location or that the customs clearance has to be done at that location.
The customs documents have a timeframe within it has to be cleared. This is also mentioned on the customs documents.

I want to sell something, do I have to worry about these documents?
Yes. (Rectification: documents are generated by filling in the information online. You will mostly not see the documents, except for the CN22/23)
For buying and selling between consumers the rules are less strict applied. You don’t have to create the customs documents yourself and a shipping invoice is created with filling in some information. When you have a shop or created the item yourself this changes. Luckily this complicated stuff is common among carriers like DHL, UPS, FEDEX and others and they have standard services regarding this topic.
Keep in mind that creating the documents and the whole customs clearance process is time consuming. We see that back in the shipping costs.

Did you forget about the shipping document?
For every shipment there is a contract between the buyer or seller with the forwarding party. It only tells about the shipping conditions (AVG/CMR conditions), measurements, weight and that it has to be shipped from point A to point B with a certain service. You have never seen that document? It is your shipping label. For exceptional items the shipping documents are really documents instead of the label.

Why does it take so long before my package is customs cleared/why has my package been shipped back
Like mentioned earlier. If there is incorrect information on the shipping invoice, shipping document or customs documents, the information can be checked by the seller. In some extreme cases the manufacturer will be contacted. If something is incorrect and discovered, a delay at the Customs clearance cannot be avoided.
If the requested information can not be turned over by either the seller or manufacturer, the package will be rejected and shipped back to the return address on the shipping document.
Other delays are mostly caused by an error on the AGS servers. Or in other words the servers with software used to create and clear the Customs documents.
A package can fall in Customs control. The server picks packages at random that will be physical checked by a customs agent (being employed by the gouvernement of the country) instead of the customs declarant.

Red flags for packages
-shipments to country’s with sanctions applied.
-mentioning weapons, food, drugs, chemical material in the description of the article. So dear GSC, FREEING, Alter, Max Factory and other companies: Don’t mention weapons in the figures description.
-mentioning a pricetag that is far too low or too high.
-the weight of the package doesn’t match with the package.
-abusing the use of additional labels.
-the customs document has a different office of declaration/exchange mentioned.
-the wrong HS code has been used.
-the customs dog react to your package.
-incorrect use of information on the product package. The import rules for toys (main category for figures) have been updated this year. Due to the new rules figures that aren’t targeted toward kids must contain that information visible on the package. Otherwise the figure will be checked according the new rules for toys and it is for 95% of all figures certain that they won’t qualify. If the seller or manufacturer cannot clear this misunderstanding the package will be rejected.
-no CE mark or copyright.
-no EAN code. (Tip: if you sell secondhand figures across the border, look up and ad the EAN code of the figure inside the package)
-for sale in Japan only. (or other certain countries)
-your item is in conflict with the law.
-your package contains food.
-your package contains a freeby not mentioned on the shipping invoice.
-the value of one or more items is €0,-. Everything has a value even if it is a freeby. For freebies the text ‘non commercial value’ explains the free gift part. The actual value has to be mentioned.
-replacement items or replacement parts. Note that replacement parts or items have different rules for import and the VAT applied. Therefore these packages will be checked more often.
-restrictions by the copyrightholder for certain countries.
-the manufacturer or seller has multiple penalties by the government regarding import and export.
-the item is made with violating the human rights.
-the item is counterfeit or the seller/manufacturer has a record about counterfeit items.
-the EAN code is registered as recalled.
-the currency on the customs document is not the same as the one on the shipping invoice.
-incomplete set of documents.


Final words about this topic
And with that we end the blog about the international shipments. Important note: nobody has a benefit when the package has been rejected. A package will only be rejected by customs clearance with a serious reason. Most of the red flags are indicators for illigal items and not actual reasons of rejection.
The laws can be slightly different from country to country. For example the Netherlands and Japan have an agreement with some rules and benefits that only applies for shipments between these two countries.

The process in short
You ordered a figure by an international company.
That company aka seller prepares your packages and gives it dimensions, weight and shipping instructions through a label.
The selling company makes the shipping invoice (some companies even can generate the invoice automatically).
The customs declarant working for the company or forwarder creates the Customs documentation and creates the data on the international network.
The international server now decides if a customs control is needed. If yes, a customs agent (working for the gouvernement) wil decide within a certain timeframe if the package needs to be checked or not.
Your shipment is on hold until the customs agent gives green light to your shipment.
When your package is ready to go the documents will be added:
One set of documents will be added to your package, one set will be handed over to the driver that picks up the package and one set will be send to the forwarding party digital.
So your package is underway to point C. The place in your country where the customs clearance will be done.
Your package arrives at the Customs office. The customs document will be scanned and the necessary information will be filled in. (Information from both the invoice and customs document is filled in)
If the information is correct and no red flags are detected, permission for customs clearance will be given.
If a red flag is detected or your package is randomly chosen it receives the status customs control.
The customs agent (from your country) will decide within a certain timeframe if your package needs a physical check. After the check your package will be customs cleared or rejected.
When the package is customs cleared it comes your way.


So don’t panic when your package got stuck at Customs. In most cases some information will be checked and sadly, that takes time.

With that, this blog of the customs documents comes to an end. There are more interesting topics regarding Customs like Customs control. There is a lot more to tell about the documents but I am afraid that it would be too technical and complicated for a blog.


Zeeja,
Rajke
897 osumaa • 6 suosikkia7 kommenttia

kommenttia7

legend!
5 päivää sitten
Rajke Ca Fanatic
tharglet6 päivää sitten#103866068One thing to note is a lot of this is EU-specific and some specific to Rajke's country. Mentioning some of the box markings makes me wonder if Rajke is German (they seem to have the pickiest customs). Can't see any other EU country giving a toss if there's a barcode on the box XD. Not every EU person has had the same experience - some countries have been bouncing parcels, others have been taxing them instead of returning them. Some countries have been checking if tax has been paid, others haven't. From what I've been hearing on Discord, it's a bit of a mess rn whilst countries and retailers sort out implementing the new rules. Some countries are short on customs staff, so it's not taking on new staff temporarily and shops not using IOSS that's the main issues. If more stores charged VAT when they're supposed to, coupled with the electronic clearance, there'd be less work for customs to do but atm there's more work than what some countries anticipated.
Also filling in the customs documents varies by country - here you're expected to do the CN22/23 yourself, though the Post Office staff should help if you ask. HS Code isn't necessarily needed for low-value parcels (basically needed once you're over the duty threshold).
> I want to sell something.
The "No!" here is a dirty lie. If you're in the EU, sending within the EU you don't need a customs declaration or to attach any paperwork other than what you would for sending a parcel in your own country. If you're sending outside of the EU, then you need a declaration, though depending on country and courier, they may do some paperwork for you. Most will electronically generate it if you buy the postage online.


You are right that it has been written from the EU perspective.
Thank you for mentioning the taxes. I actually forgot that to mention.

I made a change in the blog by the No! You are correct and like you said these are automatically created by filling in the data online. Generating the CN22 or CN23 depending on volume and value.
I actually created the customs documents (EX-A) myself when I shipped something to the US. That was very interesting and time consuming and I won’t recommend that option.

You are incorrect about the HS code. It is possible to group the items in the package under one HS code. Even for lower valued articles. But it has to be present.

No barcode is not a reason to reject a package. However it could be a reason for Customs to check your package when it is unsure what the package contains. By a Customs control it is a point that will be checked and that goes a lot smoother and faster if there is an EAN code available.

Besides the shortage on employees and shops not using IOSS there is a third issue caused by errors on the AGS server.

German is indeed one of the most pickiest and strict countries around when it goes about customs. I know that Norway is very strict when it comes down to the correct office of exchange, correct type of customs documents and the goods values.
6 päivää sitten
"-mentioning weapons, food, drugs, chemical material in the description of the article. So dear GSC, FREEING, Alter, Max Factory and other companies: Don’t mention weapons in the figures description."

Whene I order from Yahoo JP, proxies sometimes warn me, that "this item may contain restricted/unshippable items" xD (often there is some kind of chemical or weapon in the name of the figure)
6 päivää sitten
StardustCrusader6 päivää sitten#103862791Thank you for taking your time to write about this.
This is exactly what I needed to read since one of my packages is stuck at customs. It arrived in my country on November 13 (after 4 and a half months) and haven't moved since (usually it takes minutes until it's cleared)
The statuses it went through since in my country:
- Arrival at inward office of exchange
- In customs
- Item presented to import customs
...and that's it.
I hope I'm just being impatient and the package gets cleared soon, but after all this waiting I just want to get my hands on my figures already T_T


If you're just checking on Japan Post, I'd recommend also checking with your local courier to ensure there isn't anything preventing your parcel from being delivered - a retention scan will normally appear on JPost tracking, but isn't guaranteed. Might be worth asking other Romanians how long processing is taking (I know some countries have been seeing 2-4 week clearances, but haven't been remembering which ones).
6 päivää sitten
One thing to note is a lot of this is EU-specific and some specific to Rajke's country. Mentioning some of the box markings makes me wonder if Rajke is German (they seem to have the pickiest customs). Can't see any other EU country giving a toss if there's a barcode on the box XD. Not every EU person has had the same experience - some countries have been bouncing parcels, others have been taxing them instead of returning them. Some countries have been checking if tax has been paid, others haven't. From what I've been hearing on Discord, it's a bit of a mess rn whilst countries and retailers sort out implementing the new rules. Some countries are short on customs staff, so it's not taking on new staff temporarily and shops not using IOSS that's the main issues. If more stores charged VAT when they're supposed to, coupled with the electronic clearance, there'd be less work for customs to do but atm there's more work than what some countries anticipated.

Also filling in the customs documents varies by country - here you're expected to do the CN22/23 yourself, though the Post Office staff should help if you ask. HS Code isn't necessarily needed for low-value parcels (basically needed once you're over the duty threshold).

> I want to sell something.

The "No!" here is a dirty lie. If you're in the EU, sending within the EU you don't need a customs declaration or to attach any paperwork other than what you would for sending a parcel in your own country. If you're sending outside of the EU, then you need a declaration, though depending on country and courier, they may do some paperwork for you. Most will electronically generate it if you buy the postage online.
6 päivää sitten
Thank you for taking your time to write about this.
This is exactly what I needed to read since one of my packages is stuck at customs. It arrived in my country on November 13 (after 4 and a half months) and haven't moved since (usually it takes minutes until it's cleared)

The statuses it went through since in my country:

- Arrival at inward office of exchange
- In customs
- Item presented to import customs
...and that's it.

I hope I'm just being impatient and the package gets cleared soon, but after all this waiting I just want to get my hands on my figures already T_T
6 päivää sitten
It was really informative, I roughly knew how it works but learning about the details I understand better why it can take so long with customs sometimes. Thank you for sharing!
6 päivää sitten
The world's finest hobby kits and toys, direct from Japan.

About this blog

 
Our interests over time may change.
No guaranties over the time to come.
When you look at your watch only the current time is shown.
Time to look at a different place.
Time to make some noticable change.

Thinking about what you have instead of what you want.
Thinking about a positive flow.
Thinking about what makes you happy.
And maybe you realize that thinking is not enough,
even when the current time is rough.
Do what lies the closest to you hart and let your feelings go.

Take some time and dare to look around.
Nothing in this world except time is bound.

More by Rajke+

Liittyvät kohteet

Tägit0

Liittyvät klubit