What do I do if my package is held up in customs?

International purchases are quite common today thanks to technology, globalization, payment and shipping facilities among others, anyone can buy a product from the other side of the world in a comfortable and safe, thanks to this we can enjoy buying an object that in our country, may not exist or probably is more expensive, it is also rewarding that this comes to our hands at the door of our house or a nearby branch, whatever the case, international purchases are easy and currently very common.

In spite of all the amenities that international shopping has, sometimes our package can be held up in customs, and this can cause us conflict, so we explain some things that are important to know and that can help you.

How do I release my package that has been held up?

Well, it's likely that your package is taking a while to arrive and it's worrying, so one of the questions that may cross your mind is:

Is my package being held?

Once the question is asked, we recommend you:

Wait: it is possible that your package is on its way, generally when making your purchase you are mentioned probable dates and/or delivery deadlines, do not despair, also sometimes when it is a holiday or in times of pandemics, weather problems, among others, usually take longer as many people make use of courier.

Check: it is not superfluous to investigate why your package has been delayed, better to prevent than to regret, when making your purchase you are sent a code or number to be tracked, delivery note or reference, this is provided by the transport company that manages your shipment, you have used this on the website of the transport company to track and verify if your package has been retained in customs.

If my package is being held!

Generally, when your package has been detained, you will be informed by means of a postal notice with the instructions to be followed, documentation to be presented (such as invoices, receipts, declaration), documentation to be filled in, import duty regulations where you will have to pay VAT, taxes, corresponding duties, etc.

  • Call/contact: you can contact the mail or shipping company and/or the seller, both to check if the shipment is being held and to get information on how to proceed.
  • Help: Just as you can contact the post office and/or the seller for advice, you can also ask for the help of a customs professional, present yourself personally at the customs office or make use of your representative's documents.

Tip/ Trick: How do I avoid having my package held up in customs?

The reasons why the package can be retained are the keys to avoid that it is retained, here are some tips:

  • Get informed: get informed about forbidden and/or illegal items that cannot access your country, or in case you make a shipment it would be a good idea to do it also regarding the destination.
  • Correct and complete documentation: make sure that the data you present is correct and complete.
  • Declared value: among these data avoids declaring a value lower than the real value of the goods, this is one of the main reasons why a package gets detained in customs.
  • Additional documentation/special permissions: you may require additional or special documentation, such as if the item has restrictions in the destination country or even in the country of origin, it may be retained, however it is important that if it has restrictions you get the permissions, attach documents requested and inform yourself correctly to avoid problems.
  • Personal/commercial purchases: if your purchase objective is not commercial, avoid buying several units of the same item, otherwise it will be considered commercial, however if this is your objective you must comply with the import and export requirements, and make use of the Packing List that will help speed up everything.
  • Packing list: this helps to speed up and check your shipment, being a list of the shipping package which should have data of the amount of product units, color, weight, measures and description. To know more about it we have prepared a simple and quick guide in "What is the Packing List?
  • Trademarks: sometimes you can make a purchase of trademarks through a supplier who does not have the rights to sell, and it can be retained for legal reasons, so you should be aware of this fact and take your measures to avoid surprises.
  • Payments: make sure that the shipping / order payments are in order.

What happens if I don't pick up my package from customs?

Generally your package can be up to three days in customs for necessary procedures, if more time passes it is certain that something is wrong, and the period in which your package can be retained in customs can be 15 to 20 days depending on the place, so it is important that when you receive notice of the retention or that you find out, when investigating, that your package has been retained, the right thing to do is to act soon to recover it, if you do not pick it up it can be returned to the sender.