Skip to main content

Job Scam Alert: 

This is to notify you that we have been alerted of job scams misusing the name of Global eTrade Services (GeTS). We would like to emphasize that there is no active, ongoing recruitment under the brand name of GeTS as we now operate under our parent company, CrimsonLogic. Please read the full disclaimer here.

  • 05 Jul 2021
  • USA
  • All Other Countries
  • U.S.
  • Customs Clearance
  • eCommerce
  • e-Commerce
  • Trade Compliance
  • Trade
  • Shipments
  • Shipping
  • Logistics
  • HS Code
  • Customs Compliance

U.S. Customs Clearance: The Must-Knows


Table of Contents:

U.S. Customs Clearance

U.S. Customs Duties and Taxes

Section 321 Shipments and Type 86

U.S. Customs Clearance with GeTS’ U.S. e-Commerce Import Program

Companies that want to expand to international markets to increase sales and reach new customers will need to have a good idea of the customs clearance process. Customs clearance, or moving shipments through customs so they can enter the country, is done at every port and country. It helps provide security and peace of mind that the items being shipped into the country are safe and compliant to applicable regulations and laws. Read on to learn more about U.S. customs clearance and the must-knows.


U.S. Customs Clearance Process


Customs clearance typically takes less than 24 hours. But if paperwork is lacking, it could take several days for customs to clear your goods. The documents typically needed are:

  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing slip
  • Shipping label
  • Purchase order
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Bill of Lading
  • Export Packing List
  • Air waybill
  • Letter of Credit
  • Dock/Warehouse Receipt
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Insurance Certificate
  • Export License



A customs officer checks your customs paperwork. These documents, particularly the shipping label and commercial invoice, must be complete and accurate. The commercial invoice is important because it indicates the shipper’s contact information, the receiver, the airway bill number and export date.


Making sure that the paperwork is in order can go a long way toward a hassle-free customs clearance. Incomplete and inaccurate documentation is the most common reason for shipments to have difficulty with U.S. customs.


U.S. Customs Duties and Taxes


After checking your documents, import duties and taxes are assessed using your customs paperwork.

Import fees are calculated based on the type of goods, their value and the specific import regulations that apply. Duties are assessed on shipments that exceed the de minimis value. The de minimis value is the minimum taxable value for imported goods. For example, a de minimis value of $200 means shipments valued at $200 or less will not incur import duties. Every country applies taxes and duties on goods crossing their borders. This helps to generate income, protect the country, environment and the economy.


After the taxes and duties are determined and if your goods exceed the tax threshold, the customs officer indicates the applicable payment. There are also certain restricted goods that will incur fees regardless of their value.


It’s also helpful to know the difference between shipping with Deliver Duty Unpaid (DDU) and Deliver Duty Paid (DDP).


Delivery Duty Paid (DDP)


DDP means that import taxes and duties have been paid. With DDP, the shipping price you paid covers any import fees and the recipient of the shipment does not need to pay any fees or taxes. This makes sure there are no surprises for those receiving the goods and helps create a better and smoother customs clearance process.


Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU)


DDU means that import taxes and duties are not yet paid. The customs officer may forward the shipment to an independent customs broker to collect. The broker will then contact the recipient to collect the total fees, which can include variable fees for late payment, brokerage and storage. It’s also impossible to tell customers in advance the final amount that they’ll need to pay for DDU shipping since there are so many variable costs. The better option is DDP if you want a better delivery experience for your customers.


Don’t make the mistake of shipping items before paying fees and duties. For your goods to clear customs, these fees and duties will need to be paid before the shipment enters the country. It’s better to pay or charge these in advance and to provide a receipt of payment.


Section 321 Shipments and Type 86


Section 321 is a customs entry type that allows for shipments valued at US$800 or less to enter the United States tax and duty-free. To import Section 321 shipments, you need to submit an eManifest to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) currently supports Section 321 air and truck shipments. However, the new Type 86 release extends coverage to low-value shipments for all modes of transport, including shipments regulated by Participating Government Agencies (PGAs).


The Section 321 Type 86 release is good news for businesses. It simplifies the clearance process for low-value shipments and expedites customs clearance, last mile delivery and processing. It also applies even to shipments regulated by agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means faster release of low-value items like cosmetics and other regulated goods.


U.S. Customs Clearance with GeTS’ U.S. e-Commerce Import Program


To avoid any delays and issues during the clearance of your shipment, the CBP strongly recommends that you learn more about CBP policies and procedures prior to the importing and exporting your goods. It will also help to learn more about any entry requirements specific that are specific to the commodity you are importing/exporting.


However, keeping up with these various regulations and procedures can be overwhelming. The US e-Commerce Import Program from Global eTrade Services (GeTS) can help. is a leading provider of advanced global trade facilitation solutions. GeTS solutions are created to streamline processing and optimize customs compliance.  


The US e-Commerce Import Program from GeTS is a one-stop import solution, including ground handling service and fulfillment for Section 321 goods up to US$800 and duty-free entry AMS Type 86 clearance. You can manage the filing of pre-arrival documentation requirements for all your e-Commerce shipments within a single platform.


Outsourcing e-Commerce shipment clearance to a trusted service provider like GeTS offers more options and flexibility. Advanced software helps providers process high volumes of parcels quickly, classify shipments accurately, and value each parcel accurately to ensure that duties and other fees are only paid when needed.



How GeTS can Help

U.S. Customs Clearance: The Must-Knows

With the U.S. e-Commerce Import Program, you get:

  • Advisory consultancy
  • Label printing services (in exporting country)
  • Once your shipments arrive in the US, the program will automate the filing of import data with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Partner Government Agencies (PGA) for cargo release. 
  • Track and trace your shipments’ location within the US
  • Shipment fulfilment through Container Freight Stations: inclusive of airport transfer, deconsolidation and warehouse transfer
  • Last mile delivery (through GeTS’ partners)


To learn more, visit our page on U.S. customs clearance or contact us today!





Related Pages

North America: Guide to HS Code Classification for eCommerce Retailers

Adapting to the e-Commerce Boom with U.S. e-Commerce Managed Services

Faster eCommerce Clearance with GeTS Managed Services

CBP Entry Type 86 Clearance for eCommerce Shipments

What Importers Need to Know About Section 321 Entry Type 86

CBSA Commercial Transportation Agenda

CBSA Announces Changes to ACI eHBL Post-Arrival Amendments

ACI eManifest e-HBL

eManifest Canada: 10 Helpful Points in Choosing the Right ACE ACI Provider for your Business

ACI e-HBL Portal

The ACI eManifest Portal and your ACE ACI Services Provider

ACI Highway Canada eManifest FAQ

Simplifying the Filing Process with eManifest EDI Integration

CBSA eManifest Processing

Canada eManifest: Highway Shipments Made Easy

Mandatory Electronic Notification of Cargo Arrival FAQ with CrimsonLogic

ACI for Freight Forwarders (eHBL)

ACI eManifest Phase III: Canada eManifest House Bill Data & Supplementary Cargo Reports

ACI housebill eManifest: Bill of Lading for Freight Forwarders

Canada ACI eManifest Highway

ACI eManifest Air

Canada ACI Marine