Can I clear Customs at my destination by myself?


Depending on country, and if sending a consolidated (CFS Container Freight Station)  shipment it may be possible to clear customs yourself.  You will need:

(1) Packing List & Shipping Invoice

(2) Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration customs form (Usually obtained by downloading from the government customs webpage).

(3) Bill of Lading (B/L) and proof of living overseas for "X" number of years.

Procedurally, this is generally how to clear import customs:

1) Complete the Unaccompanied Baggage Declaration form downloaded from the relevant customs authority prior to arrival.

2) When exiting through customs at the airport, show the declaration form and receive a stamp (this stamp means you have declared unaccompanied baggage but does not "clear" the cargo for import yet). They will ask questions like how long ago did you purchase the items and how long have you lived overseas. Some countries require you have purchased the items 6 months to 1 year prior to returning. They may ask to see your detailed packing list, so have it handy. Note: Some airport customs staff are unfamiliar with sea imports - you can also do later when the cargo arrives.

3) Receive "Arrival Notice" from Shipping Agent at destination as per contact information provided to when completing online booking in Japan.

4) Take Arrival Notice, the Bill of Lading (B/L), Packing List and Shipping Invoice, Passport, Unaccompanied baggage form and proof of being in Japan for "x" number of years to the Customs authority (The shipping agent will tell you the location/phone number). The cargo must physically be in the country now to import through Customs. Note: Some countries do not accept visa stamps in your passport as proof of being away. You must have evidence such as tax records, a note from your employer or embassy etc. The Customs Authority will "clear" your import .

5) Pickup cargo at the warehouse. The shipping agent will give the address and phone number of the warehouse. Take the approval stamp/letter from Customs to the people at the warehouse. Prompt retrieval is advised as storage charges may accrue.

6) Take your cargo home and unpack.

Procedures and regulations vary by country. The above information is supplied without guarantee and for informational purposes only. If in doubt, you are recommended to consult your consulate, embassy and relevant customs authority.