It is already a fact that no importer or exporter moves around internationally without having an encounter with the Customs officers. Most times, you sail through without issues, but others are not as lucky. In this post, we show you how to reclaim your package from Customs if your package has been seized by them.

At some point, you are required to submit important documents, make some payment for clearance, and get your shipped items in your hands. These processes, as simple as it sounds in this write-up, may not turn out the same in reality. There are a whole lot of expectation to win and if due processes or submissions are not respected, your packages may be seized until all conditions are met.

In this article, we decided to answer the questions on what you do to reclaim your package from Customs when they are seized. We also delve into the effect of the long stay of your package at customs as well as why you should use the right Customs Licensed Agent at every given point in time.

NB: Packages sent during the COVID-19 outbreak might just have been held due to the pandemics and not by Customs.

Possible Reasons why your packages are seized

1. You shipped in Prohibited/Restricted items: Should your shipped packages have been listed as prohibited or restricted for good reasons, you are likely to experience a delay. You may never recover these items, it simply takes longer than expected, let’s say a week longer, sometimes, months or even years. Apparently, that’s like never possible to get them.

The Nigerian government does not want to allow her people to obtain illegal items. So, any such package, when detected, are seized and never released.

So if you are sending the following products your packages will be held at the customs check.

i. any product which is illegal in the destination country

ii. if the products you sell is against the domestic interests of the people and industry in the destination country

iii. if the product is infected with some disease or micro-organisms that can affect life in the destination country.

iv. Sometimes, products can be restricted for political reasons.
A product that is restricted and can be imported only after proper checks

See this for more details


2. You must have Failed to provide complete shipping documents: Customs requires some important documents to clear your shipment. You are required to do some declarations to prove ownership, authentication as well as some other legal reasons, contrary to which your shipment will be held until you have provided all correct information.

Some Common Shipping documents include
a. Commercial Invoice/Packing List: a bill for goods that the seller sends to their customers. It can be self-generated (by you) or generated using a shipping software. It helps determine the value of the products you imported and the duties calculated as well.

b. Transport document like Airway Bill, Bill of Lading, Shipper’s Export Declaration now regarded as Electronic Export Information Filing.

Airway Bill – required for airfreight shipments.
Bill of Lading– It is the agreement between the shipper/owner and the carrier of the package.

Read about Different Bill of Lading here.

Electronic Export Information Filing: This is electronically filled (online form) and that is if the packaged being shipped is valued at more than $2,500. some packages may require export certificates, so for that, you will be required to fill this form.

c. Export Compliance Documents such as Export Licenses.

See our earlier post on import document.

3. Tax Payment: Some times, there might be a slight delay in payment of tax from your end. Having all necessary steps ready on time and in due course is an advantage. Preparation is key. The longer it takes you to pay the taxes, the longer the package will be stuck in customs.

4. Transport Mode: There are four major modes of transportation, i.e. Air, Sea, Road and Rail. Depending on your choice transportation mode, your shipment may also experience a delay. This is not actually directly an issue with the customs but an entirely different factor that you might need to check. It is not regarded as a hold up by the customs but it requires you to be a little patient for your courier driver to arrive. The slower the method of shipping, the more delayed your shipment is to get to to your door.

That said, we move on to the reason why we have this post today.

How to Reclaim your Package from Customs

Having a shipment held at customs can destroy your customers’ buying experience and incur a cost in terms of lost revenue.

Or should we rather say, what you should do to avoid a possible shipment seizure by the Custom?

Well, without much ado, Bowa-Gate Global Limited has to her credit, the ability to waive so much stress from her clients.

Does that answer your questions?

Well, I’d say no if asked, because that response is still an understatement as we carry our relationship with clients beyond merely avoiding a delayed shipment or helping save clients from shipment seizures. Our professionals have a taste for seamless delivery services that are void of shipping challenges, without involving in any form of illegality.

That being said, this is what you should do when your shipments are held at Customs.

1. If your package is held at customs, you should first contact whoever shipped your items, i.e. the seller.

Contacting the seller, you should be able to find out what is happening with the shipment. They should be able to tell if they missed out any of the important documentation required to smoothly move your shipment over the border.

Your seller will be able to contact the shipper and get more information concerning your shipment and the problems faced.

2. If you had used a Customs Agent, contact them, and they’d contact the seller/shipper on your behalf. They might just be able to identify the problem. If the problems fall in the category of shipping document, you know you should get all papers correctly.

However, if your packages happen to be identified as illegal/prohibited or restricted, you want to

Normally, they should be able to help you with the customs clearing process, or even, just identifying the problem. Before contact, make sure you have the tracking number to give it to the courier to check its status.

3. Contact Your Carrier. This is considerable if you are certain that your shipment is stuck at Customs. Contacting the carrier/shipper will help you to identify if there is anything you can do to speed up your shipments time in customs.

Make sure you have your tracking number on hand, as it will help you shipper locate your package.

This news might be very helpful too. Click to check

Read Also: Calculate Chargeable Weight for Air Freight

Why Choose Us As Your Agent

Our team of highly motivated and experienced professionals can provide quality cargo handling, freight forwarding and clearing services in Nigeria.

We provide adequate logistics and clearing services for our numerous clients. Our operational systems include handling of all relevant documents, freight forwarding, customs clearance, warehousing and transportation of consignment on behalf of the consignee. Proper monitoring of all inward and outward bound consignments is ensured by our efficient and dedicated staff.

We answered some pressing questions for you here

Avoid these Mistakes, if you are an Importer

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