• Customs Documentation Basics for Importers

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Customs documentation basics for importers

Usually, as an importer, you do not need to prepare any customs documentation except as a first time importer, you might be asked to complete a Power of Attorney to authorize FedEx to perform customs clearance on your behalf.

While your shipment is travelling, we will screen the paperwork & prepare customs clearance. Only if something is missing or incorrect, will we contact you to get the additional information required. In that case, your prompt reply will support timely clearance & delivery of your shipment.

Good to know: All customs documentation needs to be prepared by the exporter at origin and it is very important that the exporter completes the customs documentation correctly in order to ensure timely & accurate customs clearance.

Learn more about POA ►

  • Your role, step by step, in the international shipping process

Step 1

Expert tip: It is very important that the exporter completes the customs documentation correctly in order to ensure timely & accurate customs clearance.

Step 2

Expert tip: It is very important that the exporter completes the customs documentation correctly in order to ensure timely & accurate customs clearance. FedEx online shipping tools guide the exporter through the entire shipping process & customs documentation.

Step 4

We will guide the shipment through export customs clearance. We will only contact you if there is missing or incomplete paperwork.

Good to Know: It’s rare to encounter any export customs delay.

Step 6

We will guide the shipment through import customs clearance. We will only contact you for the payment of duties and taxes and in the case of missing information (EORI number, Power of Attorney, incomplete product information, etc…).

Learn more about POA ►

Expert tip: Be sure to respond to any import issues quickly to ensure a timely delivery of your shipment.

Step 7

One of our couriers will deliver your shipment at the address that the shipper completed on the Airwaybill.

Step 8

Except if you have agreed with the shipper that he will take care of the payment of duties & taxes, you will need to pay for duties and taxes advanced by FedEx.

We will send you the clearance documentation for your files together with your duties and taxes invoice.

Good to know: Depending on the shipment’s value, you may need to pay duties and taxes before he can receive the shipment.

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What is an EORI number?

What is an EORI number?

An EORI number is a unique reference assigned by a custom authority to identify economic operators within the European Union. It is needed for all companies and all types of export and import shipments. Since July 1st, 2009, European Union legislation requires that all member states adopt the EORI (Economic Operators Registration and Identification) system.

Why do you need an EORI number?

The EORI number is a legal requirement and should be included on all custom declarations for import from or export to countries/territories outside the EU. Customs authorities will refuse any entry of goods without an EORI number.

How can you get an EORI number?

You can simply register online for applying for the EORI number.

Please find the application form of the BMF ►

Who should I contact to update my information?

Simply inform our customer service department of your EORI number with your customer number or the company data by calling 0800 123 800.

How can I submit my EORI number to FedEx?

FedEx can only process your imports smoothly if you provide us with your EORI number.
Submit your EORI number ►

What is a Power of Attorney and how can I grant it to FedEx?

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney (POA) is a written authorization to represent or act on another's behalf in private affairs, business, or some other legal matter.

In this case, the POA is the importer’s or exporter’s authorization for FedEx to perform customs clearance on their behalf.

Why is it needed?

Having a POA is a legal requirement and that customs can always request the evidence of the POA.

How can I grant Power of Attorney to FedEx?

You can not grant Power of Attorney to FedEx but to Bishoff, who will issue the customs declaration on your behalf.

By compliance with these legal requirements, you make a decisive contribution to the smooth handling of your shipments and thus to punctual delivery of your shipments.

What shipments are prohibited in the International FedEx network?

Prohibited shipments

Here is the list of items prohibited in the FedEx network.
Please note there are more country/territory specific prohibitions. For more information on country/territory specific prohibitions contact us.

  • Human corpses, human organs or body parts, human and animal embryos, or cremated or disinterred human remains.
  • Explosives *
  • Firearms, weaponry and their parts (acceptable between the U.S. and Puerto Rico).
  • Perishable foodstuffs and foods and beverages requiring refrigeration or other environmental control.
  • Live animals including insects.
  • Plants and plant material, including cut flowers (cut flowers are acceptable from the U.S. to selected points in Canada and from Colombia, Ecuador and the Netherlands to the U.S.).
  • Lottery tickets and gambling devices where prohibited by local, state, provincial or national law.
  • Money (coins, cash, currency, paper money and negotiable instruments equivalent to cash such as endorsed stocks, bonds and cash letters).
  • Pornographic and/or obscene material.
  • Shipments** being processed under:
    • Duty drawback claims unless advance arrangements are made.
    • Temporary Import Bonds - acceptable under the FedEx International Broker Select option, for initial import only.
    • U.S. State Department licenses.
    • Carnets
    • U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration export permit.
    • Letters of Credit. Shipments subject to Letters of Credit are generally prohibited, with the exception of shipments subject to Letters of Credit calling for a "courier receipt," as defined by Article 25 of UCP 600, shipped using the FedEx Expanded Service International Air Waybill.
    • Certificate of Registration shipments (CF4455).
  • Hazardous waste, including, but not limited to, used hypodermic needles or syringes or other medical waste.
  • Shipments that may cause damage to, or delay of, equipment, personnel or other shipments.
  • Shipments that require us to obtain any special license or permit for transportation, importation or exportation.
  • Shipments or commodities whose carriage, importation or exportation is prohibited by any law, statute or regulation.
  • Marijuana, including marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use, and synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Shipments with a declared value for customs in excess of that permitted for a specific destination.
  • Dangerous goods except as permitted under the Dangerous Goods section of the Federal Express conditions of carriage.
  • Processed or unprocessed dead animals, including insects and pets. Taxidermy-finished hunting trophies or completely processed (dried) specimens of whole animals or parts of animals are acceptable for shipment into the U.S.
  • Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odor of any kind.
  • Wildlife products that require U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service export clearance by FedEx prior to exportation from the U.S.
  • In-bond shipments destined to or being withdrawn from a Foreign Trade Zone or bonded warehouse, unless the FedEx International Broker Select option is selected for U.S. import shipments, or the FedEx International Controlled Export service option is selected for U.S. export shipments.
  • APO/FPO/DPO addresses.
  • C.O.D. shipments.

* Class 1.4 explosives are acceptable for carriage to Canada, Germany, France, Japan, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. Note:United Arab Emirates only allows Class 1.4 explosives to be shipped hold-for-pickup to the FedEx Express facility in Dubai.

** You may be able to ship these items via FedEx International Controlled Export, FedEx International Premium, FedEx International Express Freight (IXF) or FedEx International Airport-to-Airport (ATA). For information on FedEx International Controlled Export, call International Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 (say "international services"). For information on the other services listed call FedEx Express Freight Customer Service at 1.800.332.0807.

More complex customs clearance needs? We also have answers!

You need Other Government Agency Processing?

Certain commodities are regulated and controlled by a separate governmental agency and are subject to specific clearance processes. To accelerate the clearance of these types of shipments, FedEx can provide the necessary documentation to file the required information (paper or electronic) with the respective governmental agency. We will advance payment of charges to external Governmental Agencies on your behalf. The Agency charges and a FedEx processing fee will subsequently be invoiced to the payer.

You need In-Bond transit?

If you choose to use your own customs-clearance department or a brokerage company other than FedEx to clear your inbound shipments, we will charge a service fee to prepare the necessary transfer documentation. We will also move your inbound shipment from the point of arrival to a location you specify.

To find out more, discover all our ancillary clearance services or get in touch with your FedEx Sales Executive.

You need a Customized solution? You can rely on our customs clearance specialist expertise to help you build the right solutions to your most complex customs needs.

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  • Grow your business with FedEx. Learn more with shipping stories, tips and tools.