While there are suggestions in preventing unnecessary delays at border crossings, random inspections by customs procedures make it impossible to guarantee a delay-free crossing at the border. This article will discuss some suggestions that can help you when going through customs and prevent unnecessary delays. Two documents are required by highway carriers to be sent to the border. Customs brokers are responsible to submit necessary documentation regarding the shipment needing to be cleared at the border and providing an entry number. Information is also sent electronically (also known as an e-manifest) with the driver, truck and shipment details. The carrier will receive an electronic manifest cover sheet with a trip number as a confirmation. You can prevent delays be verifying the entry and trip numbers before you arrive at the border.
It is very important that the e-manifest and customs broker submissions to the border match. A common conflict is quantity. An example is boxes on skids. If a shipment has 100 boxes on 10 skids, is the quantity 100 or 10? Flags can be raised if the e-manifest quantity states 100 however the customs broker states 10. Customs wants the smallest package quantity so the correct amount would be 100. Plastic Boxes Problems can also arise if the commercial invoice and/or inward cargo manifest indicate 100 boxes and 10 skids as this could be entered either way. It is best practice to enter only one quantity when filling out customs documents. In the example above, it would be best to put the quantity of 100 boxes on the commercial invoice, customs broker submission and e-manifest.
Another example is machinery that has been disassembled for shipment. If there are 4 main sections and 5 skids with miscellaneous parts however the shipment is only of 1 machine, the preferred way to indicate the quantity is the total number of pieces - in this case being 9. In this example, to prevent delays at the border crossing, it is best to avoid indicating the quantity as 1 truckload as this does not provide adequate information that the Border Services Officer is looking for. Lastly print everything clearly. Delays and issues at the border can be prevented by submitting an e-manifest request and completing all customs documents legibly so that no confusion arises. An example is the letter S and number 5. Be sure to clearly display the difference. By taking the extra bit of time to print clearly, it may save hours at the border. Be sure that all information is accurate. If the name on your passport is Robert, do not submit your e-manifest as Bob. If you have a renewed passport or any other information, be sure your customs broker and e-manifest submission service has the latest information.
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