Why is Customs Holding Your Parcel? (and How to Avoid It)
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International Postal Regulations require that every item passing an international border is subject to Customs inspection in the destination country.
Postal items coming into New Zealand are inspected by the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs) for a number of reasons.
These include but are not limited to inspecting the item to identify:
- Customs Charges, Duty and taxes (importing of items valued over the existing Customs threshold)
- Prohibited and restricted items
- Bio-security risks and risks to New Zealand’s environment
If you’re importing goods into New Zealand, it’s important that you’re aware your goods may attract charges or be delayed by Customs inspection.
If your item is stopped for Customs inspection, it won’t affect the target delivery period of 1-3 working days once your item has been released by Customs, unless your item is ‘held for clearance’, your item may require payment of Customs charges or further inspection by another Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) branch.
If your parcel is coming into New Zealand and is stopped by Customs for the payment of Duties or GST, New Zealand Post will send you a letter with the details of the payment required once it has been processed by Customs.
Postal items leaving New Zealand valued at over NZD$1000 must have an export entry issued by Customs. For more information about export entries, see the Customs website.
If your parcel does not have an export entry, New Zealand Post will hold your item and contact you to arrange it.
To avoid delay you should arrange the export entry before you post your item. You can arrange this with us on +64 (9) 215-4653 or by submitting details online. There is an administration charge for this service.
It is also possible that your parcel may be delayed by the customs service in the destination country.
If this happens, generally the postal organisation in the destination country will contact the person you have addressed the parcel to, and arrange for them to pay the duties and taxes.
You will not necessarily be informed of the delay, although if you have used a tracked service, the tracking may indicate “Held for clearance.”
If your item is detained by a customs authority in another country, please be aware that New Zealand Post is not able to ‘speed up’ the clearance process on your behalf.
As the sender of the parcel, you may be able to speak directly with the customs service in the destination country to expedite the process, or you can contact the postal organisation in the destination country.
If you have any questions, please leave your comments below or contact us directly.