Yes, importers can always opt to self-clear their shipments. However, the process and ease will vary depending on the mode and location of the shipment–please take note of the following before opting to self-clear:
- location of the goods: you must report to the Customs office nearest to where your goods are being held in order to self-clear. In certain cases, the Customs office may be located hundreds of kilometres away. As transporters are under no obligation to manifest a shipment closer to its final destination
- time: storage fees will start on most importations as soon as 48 hours after the goods arrive. For air and ocean freight, these fees can be extremely high. We strongly recommend
- documents: more than just your invoice will be needed to release the shipment; you will also require an arrival notice or manifest from your transporter
- in bond fees: many transporters will charge an in bond if your shipment is not released by your agent at the border; these fees ($40) are often higher than the service fees charged by customs brokers to release freight.
- classification: customs may obligate you to hire a customs agent if you are importing a variety of items without knowledge of the applicable classification codes.
that’s it! we recommend self-clearing when items imported include personal effects (including vehicles) but in most other instances is not efficient unless one is located near the specified customs office.