Blocked customs parcel: information and advice

All packages sent to a non-European Union country or a French overseas department and territory (DOM-TOM) must comply with customs obligations specific to the destination country. When a package is held by customs, it means it is being inspected by customs officials.

This verification process can take time, especially in countries where customs formalities are strict. When a problem is identified, such as sending a prohibited product or missing a document, the delivery is usually delayed by a few days to a few weeks.

Discover the main reasons for customs holds and the steps to take to release your package.

Customs Hold: What Are the Most Common Reasons?

There are many reasons that can justify customs holds. Here are the main scenarios.

Customs Hold for Missing Invoice or Incorrect Information

A customs declaration form is required and must include the following information:

  • A precise description of each of the goods sent,

  • The nature and value of each item sent.

It is also necessary to include invoices to confirm the value of the goods. In addition, some products must be accompanied by specific documents.

The package may remain held by customs until the missing documents are received.

Customs Hold for Counterfeit or Prohibited Goods

For obvious security reasons, some products are strictly prohibited from being shipped by transport services.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of these products:

  • Banknotes, jewelry, precious metals,

  • Animals (dead or alive),

  • Counterfeits,

  • Drugs and narcotics in general,

  • Goods containing hazardous materials,

  • Lithium batteries,

  • Perishable food,

  • Alcohol and tobacco (in most countries),

  • Etc.

It is important to note that each country has different regulations. Therefore, it is essential to inquire about the rules in force in the destination country before undertaking any action.

When prohibited or restricted products are detected in a package during the customs clearance process, customs officials may:

  • Block all of the goods or destroy them, even those that are not prohibited,

  • Return the package to the sender,

  • Remove the prohibited goods and clear the remaining items for delivery.

Unpaid Customs Duties

Customs duties are fees imposed for the import and export of goods from one country to another. These fees are calculated based on the nature and value of the goods sent. Note that shipments made between European Union countries are not subject to customs duties.

Customs duties are collected by the customs authorities of the destination country and can be paid by the recipient or the sender of the package.

Your package remains held by customs until the unpaid duties are paid.

Customs Hold: Who to Contact?

It is pointless to contact customs directly. Indeed, they are not authorized to provide information regarding the shipment of your package.

In case of a customs hold, it is advisable to contact the carrier responsible for the pickup and delivery of your package. Your carrier will do the necessary to detect the reason for the hold on your package. 

Then, they can indicate the steps to take to resolve the situation and clear your package.

How Long Can a Package Be Held by Customs?

The length of time your package can be held by customs is difficult to estimate because it depends on many factors. The destination country, the content of your package, the reason for the hold, or the workload of customs are some factors that can affect the duration.

While most packages are held in customs for one or two days, others may be detained for several weeks. 

If your package is held in customs, contact your carrier as soon as possible. This will allow you to obtain detailed information about the reason for the hold-up and the steps to take to release your package as quickly as possible.

Customs package hold-up: beware of scams

Email and SMS scams are on the rise year after year. Many malicious individuals use the pretext of a package being held in customs to extract money from their victims.

It is important to know that customs services never request payment of customs duties for a package by email or SMS. This request is always made by registered mail with proof of receipt. Furthermore, if you have entrusted the delivery to a carrier, it is the carrier who takes care of the payment of the fees and who invoices you for them later.

If in doubt, contact your carrier or the competent customs authorities directly to verify the legitimacy of the contact.

Choose Happy Post for worry-free package delivery!

By choosing Happy Post for the pickup and delivery of your package abroad, you can be sure that all customs formalities are taken into account. In other words, you avoid all the hassle and delays that can occur if there are missing documents or unpaid customs duties.

Upon receipt of your package, we verify that all the information requested by the customs services is on it. If customs fees are required, you can count on the availability and efficiency of our customer service to release your package as quickly as possible.

With Happy Post, sending your international packages is easy, fast, and hassle-free. In addition, we offer ultra-competitive rates tailored to the needs of each of our customers.

Whether you are a merchant or an individual, Happy Post is the ideal partner for worry-free package delivery!