What To Do If Your Car is Held by Customs

Your Guide to Vehicle Shipping

Don’t worry if you need to ship your vehicle; it can be straightforward. To help you, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide explaining everything you need to know about auto transport. We’ll cover essential considerations and steps you can take to make sure your experience is hassle-free. When you’re done reading, you’ll feel confident selecting a carrier for your vehicle.

Introduction to Auto Transport Service

Everyday situations in individuals or companies ship cars into or out of the US are when a person migrates to another country, moves back to the US from another country, or imports vehicles as a business. If you have a delay in releasing your car shipment by Customs, please brace yourself for some inconvenience. If your car shipment is part of your business, the delay can be an inconvenience or a bad buying experience for your customer and even revenue loss.     

 Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBPA), along with Consumer Safety Protection Commission (CSPC), are government entities that the US government has mandated to check that goods coming in and out of the country conform to all the requirements before they are released. They have the exclusive right to check the validity of documents for any exported goods and open containers to prevent contraband, smuggling, or tax evasion. The entities are also responsible for conducting inspections of goods designated for export. 

Tax evasion, using illegal means to avoid paying taxes, typically includes the seller under-declaring the property’s value to lower tax rates. Shipments valued at $2,500 or over require a Customs broker who arranges for taxes to be paid so the shipment can be released. Non-payment of taxes can result in the shipment being confiscated or destroyed. 


Common Causes of Delay at Customs

 You may appreciate that to ensure all goods are legally shipped to and from the US, a series of steps are observed by the CBPA. Delays at the US customs come from implementing legal procedures regarding examining the conformity of goods and export paperwork to the current stipulations. There are three main reasons for delays at US Customs:

  1. Customs backlog

Shipments are frequently held because they wait for their clearance in the queue. Trillions of dollars worth of goods are exported to the US each year. It is easy to understand the quality of items that go through Customs the agency has to deal with daily. 

  1. Random physical inspections

Some items are randomly picked to be inspected against the bureau’s inspection list. 

  1. Checking for valid documentation

 Manifest Examination Team (MET), a separate branch within the CBPA, deals with documentation.

Physical examinations can be subdivided into several types:

     Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System (VACIS)

  1.     Anti-Terrorism Contraband Enforcement Team (A-TCET)

      The container’s contents are x-rayed During VACIS and A-TCET examinations. 

   Are any discrepancies regarding the exported goods’ description in the documents and their actual value and weight?

  1.     Commercial Enforcement Holds (CEH) 

       It is applied when the shipment infringes on registered trademarks or doesn’t meet US safety standards.

  1.     Manifest Examination Team (MET)


What to Do When Customs Hold Your Shipment  

If Customs hold a shipment, contact the transport company and wait for information from their staff. Ask about issues. Be sure to get a tracking code to track your package. Provide all necessary documents for clearing your shipments, such as a copy of your passport or government-issued ID, phone number, information about the consignee in the destination country, and bill of sale if the vehicle was bought in an online auction. Make sure to include all necessary paperwork as they cause unwanted Customs delays. 

All charges for the inspection and other additional fees are the customer’s responsibility. These fees depend on the cause of delay and inspection type, varying from port to port within the US.

When transacting with high-value goods such as cars, dealing with professional service providers such as shippers and sellers is always safe and prudent. You could afford the inconvenience caused by delays outside the standard Customs process.   

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What To Do If Your Car is Held by Customs

Your Guide to Vehicle Shipping Don't worry if you need to ship your vehicle; it can be straightforward. To help you, we've compiled a comprehensive guide explaining everything you need to know about auto [...]