Importing goods into any country requires lots of paperwork and import documentation is a major reason why most import shipments are delayed. If the required import documents are incorrect or any is missing, it gives of the signal that there are legal infractions and this definitely attracts the attention of custom officials and that second look is bound to cause delays.
Delays can add extra cost to your business and inconvenience for customers and that is bad for business. Providing proper import documentation is the most important step in avoiding delays in the customs clearance process. You will have to put in the work to understand your legal obligations as an importer
The custom authority looks at a number of factors such as;
Who is the importer?
What are you importing?
Where was the product made?
What is it made of?
What tariff treatment is the product entitled to?
The purpose of import documentation is to clearly answer these and other questions for the custom authority who use this information to determine if the goods are under ban, or if they comply to custom's legislation, or if the products would undergo scrutiny from other government departments such as the FDA or CFIA.
Your business's shipment would be delayed if you don't care much enough to provide proper and correct documentation.
Doing the following will help you to avoid border delays;
1- Understand your legal obligations as an importer under the custom legislation of the country you're importing into. As an importer, you are ultimately responsible for providing the required particulars of your import shipments. You have to know what licenses or permits are required for your product before the shipment arrives at the border. Also, make sure the documents you're presenting are clear and legible.
2- Ensure that your foreign suppliers comply with product standards and provide adequate shipment documentation including commercial invoices, certifications, packing slips, certificates of origin and other applicable compliance documents.
3- Clearly identify the country of origin. This information is very important to custom officials as it determines how they treat and clear the product.
4- Ensure you pay any duties and taxes that apply to your product. It is your responsibility as the importer to know what duties and taxes apply to you and to pay them promptly.
On a final note, it is advisable to have the support of a reliable customs broker that would help facilitate the clearing process at the border although you should never lose sight of the fact that the major responsibility lies on you as the importer.