Customs Clearance Process – Steps to be followed by an Exporter

  • December 2, 2022
  • Blog

Imports and exports involve a number of procedures that could be tricky and need attention to details. Laws are implemented by a nation’s Customs department in accordance with government regulations, and they keep an eye on imports and exports. Organizations that provide policies and regulations for imports and exports exist in several nations like India’s DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) and the US Department of Commerce at the same time (Bureau of Industry and Security).

Customs clearance of goods starts with the filing of a shipping bill and the ensuing activities around it. However, before an exporter tries to get customs clearance for your goods, there are a few prerequisites and shipping terms we need to know about. The primary ones are the import-export code, authorized foreign exchange dealer code, current account for the credit of duty drawback, and license for export.

Initial steps in the customs clearance process


As an exporter, one has to self-assess the duty charged on the export items. It is expected to declare the correct classification, rate of duty, and the value of the goods, and claim the exemption notification properly while filing the shipping bill. Documents generated at this stage include the commercial invoice and packing list, consular invoice, certificate of origin, insurance certificate, etc.

Shipping Bill

A Shipping Bill is generated through the Indian Customs EDI System (ICES) or the non-EDI mode in case of non-EDI ports. It is filed in a particular format along with the supporting documents.

Risk Management System

Self-assessed shipping bills are assessed by the Risk Management System (RMS) of the customs department. Once done, the verification of such shipping bills will be done to ensure the correctness of classification, value, duty rate, exemption, etc. by the officer who may also examine and test the goods. Thus, shipping bills, once filed electronically in the ICES through the service center or ICEGATE will be processed by the RMS, based on which the next step will be decided. The shipping bills will either be taken up for verification or examination, or both, or will be given the Let Export Order (LEO).

Post-Clearance Audit

Post Clearance Audit (PCA) of the shipping bill has been introduced after the implementation of the RMS. This aims to improve compliance levels and reduce the cargo dwelling time of exports in India.

Customs clearance process upon arrival of goods at the dock

Checklist verification

On arrival of the goods at the dock, the custodian must endorse the quantity of the goods on the reverse of the checklist. This endorsed checklist is presented by the exporter/CHA to the customs officer upon receipt of the goods at the dock area, along with original copies of the invoice, packing list, and other relevant documents.

Verification of cargo

The customs officer will verify the goods received and update the same to the system. An electronic copy of the shipping bill and hand it over to the dock appraiser, along with the original documents submitted earlier.

Examination of cargo

The dock appraiser assigns the task of examination to a customs officer. The examination norms and the RMS can be bypassed by the customs to examine any export consignment even up to 100% based on information.

Sampling the cargo

Based on the orders of the proper officer, a representative sample from the shipment may be drawn and tested, or verified for visual inspection, description, valuation, etc.

Let Export Order

Let Export Order (LEO) is the green signal given by the customs to the exporter once they are satisfied with the verification and examination of the shipment.


When it comes to the stuffing of the container cargo, the customs preventive officer ensures preventive supervision for the same and gives a ‘Shipped on Board’ endorsement on the exporter’s copy of the shipping bill.

Export General Manifest (EGM)

The shipping lines/agents have to submit a shipping bill-wise Export General Manifest (EGM) to customs before their departure. EGM is lodged electronically as well as manually.

Duty Drawback

Duty drawback is now primarily limited to the incidence of customs duties on inputs used. It is claimed by filing the prescribed format of the shipping bill. The drawback claim must be accompanied by prescribed documents as defined in the Drawback Rules 2017. The claim may be returned in case of any deficiency, but the shipment is not stopped for this reason.

Apart from the documents mentioned in the various subheads, others like inspection certification, dock receipt, warehouse receipt, destination control statement, bill of lading, etc. are generated during the customs clearance process.This extensive list of steps can help and guide the stakeholders for the customs clearance processes.

To ease this process, reach out to @20CubeLogistics a 12 years old multi-modal operator offering single-window solutions to take care of all Import, Export, Customs Clearance, Distribution & 3PL requirements.

Contributed by :- G V S K Vedant, Sales, Hyderabad, 20Cube Logistics.