You’ve sent or are expecting an international shipment via UPS and you receive a “clearance information required” status update.
What exactly does this mean and what can you do about it? Let’s take a look.
What does UPS “Clearance Information Required” Mean?
As the status suggests, UPS clearance information required means that the package has encountered an issue during customs clearance and more details are required before customs will release the item for delivery.
Different types of UPS Clearance Information
The customs clearance process varies depending on the country and type of shipment.
A quick look at this UPS import and export regulation guide will reveal just how complicated it can potentially be.
This leads to myriad reasons your shipment has been held at customs. In other words, the type of clearance information required varies greatly.
Here are some of the more common ones:
- Incomplete or incorrectly completed UPS customs forms
- Missing or incomplete invoice
- Missing Waybill
- import duties that must be paid prior to release
- Incomplete details of either shipper or addressee
- Incomplete description of goods, (value/type/weight/amount)
Essentially, the various permutations mean there is plenty of scope for error when it comes to missing clearance information.
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What to do when you receive a UPS “Clearance Information Required” alert
Essentially it is the responsibility of the shipper to take care of any issues occurring during customs clearance.
If you are the recipient of the package you will need to contact the shipper. If you are the shipper you will need to contact UPS International.
You will need to cite the tracking number and describe the tracking update that you are receiving.
You should also provide details of what is being shipped, the paperwork that you have already included, and various values.
The UPS representative will likely put you forward to a UPS brokerage employee who will be able to dig deeper into your shipment to see what clearance information is required.
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Will the UPS tracking update include details of what clearance information is required?
Unfortunately not. The UPS tracking update is generally quite scant in detail when it comes to revealing what clearance information is required.
It is the government agency (i.e. customs) that inspects the shipment and decides whether it has violated any import/export issues.
It can take time before the specificities of this reach UPS. In the meantime, you are only told via the tracking that information is required, not what that entails.
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Will UPS contact me regarding the “clearance information required” update?
In some cases, the shipper will receive a call from UPS regarding the clearance issue. In other cases, you will have to make the first step and make contact.
There is no specific policy on when and how UPS will reach out first.
This means that shippers should be proactive and contact UPS as soon as they receive the clearance information required update. (See above on how to go about this).
That being said, there is one particular tracking alert that UPS uses to notify that contact has been (or will be) made…
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“UPS Initiated Contact with the Sender to Obtain Clearance Information”
If you see a “UPS initiated contact with the sender to obtain clearance information” it means that UPS has made contact with the shipper for the clearance information that is required.
In this case, as the recipient, there is very little you need to do.
The shipper will be provided with details on the missing information and can act accordingly.
NOTE: A small number of UPS customers have complained that after receiving this alert UPS did not in fact reach out to the shipper.
If you encounter this issue, you should contact UPS customer service and if possible contact the facility/clearance hub where the package is being held. This will help speed the process along.
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How to prevent UPS Clearance Information Required issues in the future
The best way to ensure that you do not run into any issues with customs clearance when shipping with UPS is to use their in-house brokerage services.
UPS Customs Brokerage states that its service helps to ensure that “97% of all shipments are cleared on the same day”.
These services are designed to ensure that all paperwork has been completed correctly.
In other words, when you make a shipment you can be confident that it meets all compliance requirements.
UPS Customs Brokerage works with both small companies and large enterprises. It also provides international trade consulting and tax clearance services.
If you are shipping internationally via UPS on a regular basis this is a recommended approach to help reduce the risks of “Clearance Information Required” updates.
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I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂