Customs Clearance in China and the US


Industry Encyclopedia


Customs Clearance in China and the US

Export and import customs clearance can seem complicated, and in many cases, that’s because it is. Nevertheless, it is an unavoidable aspect of ocean and air shipping from China to the US. Consequently, it is something for which every supplier, consignee, and intermediary engaged in international trade must be prepared.

Your carrier will not take any responsibility for helping you with customs procedures. However, a freight forwarder will take care of them for a fee. Even so, there are some steps for which your business must retain responsibility. They include the provision of accurate information and the documents to accompany your freight.

Typically, you will need to ensure that the following documents accompany all your exports from China to the USA, as customs authorities in both countries will require them:

Commercial Invoice
Packing List
Certificate of Origin
Letter of Credit or other payment terms (depending on the contract between the parties involved)
Bill of Lading for ocean freight or Airway Bill for air freight (Your freight forwarder should provide this)
We have published a comprehensive Shipping Documents page to familiarize you with the various papers and forms, including examples that you can examine.