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Item Presented to Import Customs: Is this Bad News?

You’re expecting a package from overseas and you have received an “Item Presented to Import Customs” tracking update.

What does this mean exactly? Is there a problem with the package? Will it be held at customs and is there anything you need to do?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: Item Presented to Import Customs

Essentially, “Item Presented to Import Customs” means that the package has been put forward for customs inspection upon arrival in the destination country. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the shipment, items are often presented to import customs on a random basis.

Item Presented to Import Customs – Guide

Item Presented to Import Customs

No matter which carrier you use, when a shipment arrives in the destination country (I.e the country containing the recipient address) it will be subject to customs clearance

This is a general procedure and does not mean that a package has been singled out due to any error or complication.

The tracking alerts you receive will differ depending on the carrier, however, when a package has been put forward for customs clearance you will see an alert stating “Item Presented to Import Customs” or words to that effect.

How Long Will My Status be Stuck on “Item Presented to Import Customs”

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How long your package stays on this alert will depend on several variables.

Customs Back-log & Delays

Presented to import customs does not mean that customs staff physically have your package and are currently inspecting it.

First, it will join a queue of shipments that require inspection. If your package has arrived in the USA with an International Service Center that is experiencing a backlog, you could wait several days for your item to be processed.

Similarly, packages arriving in Europe via Liege in Belgium will often be held up due to high volumes, (Liege is the European hub for AliExpress shipments, so if your order is via this platform you will likely experience delays).

Documentation Issues

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Another potential problem that can cause your shipment to be stuck on the “Item Presented to Import Customs” update is incorrect or incomplete documentation.

This is obviously the responsibility of the shipper, however, where information is required, they will need to be contacted. Major carriers such as FedEx, UPS, and DHL will generally reach out to the sender and or recipient when clearance information is required.

You will also see details on the tracking page.

Customs Duty and/or Tax

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A situation where the recipient in the destination country will be contacted is where customs duty and tax are owed. Your package will be stuck on the “Item Presented to Import Customs” update if money is owed.

Essentially, customs will not release the item back to the carrier until the debt is paid.

So, in answer to how long your package will be stuck on the “Item Presented to Import Customs” update, it really does depend.

In the best-case scenario, your package will be processed within just a few hours, with no issues before handing back to the carrier. This is rare, however.

A good rule of thumb is 24 to 48hrs for a package with a premium carrier. If your item is being imported into the country from China via an economy carrier this can be stretched to several days, sometimes weeks.

Similar Tracking Updates to “Item Presented to Import Customs”

As mentioned, “Item Presented to Import Customs” is a standard alert that means the shipment has been put forward for customs processing.

Similar updates include, “Inbound into Customs“, UPS “Clearance in Progress”, and DHL “Clearance Event”.

What Happens After the “Item Presented to Import Customs” Update

Item Presented to Import Customs

Once the shipment has been cleared through customs you should receive a status alert confirming this, (“Item returned from import customs” and “Customs Clearance Processing Complete“).

From there the package will be handed over to the carrier in the destination country that is responsible for the next leg of the journey.

This will typically involve transit to a hub facility where the shipment will be sorted for dispatch towards a facility closer to the destination address.

From there, the package will be placed onto a truck for final delivery.

Final Words

Essentially, the “Item Presented to Import Customs” status alert is nothing to be concerned about. Your package has not been singled out for inspection for any particular reason, it is just standard procedure.

However, it is wise to keep an eye on the tracking to check that the shipment is being processed and whether any additional steps need to be taken.

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