Frequently Asked Questions

Custom Clearance :

A necessary process of permitting goods that are transported (Import or export) from one country to another through an authorized customs broker.

1. Who is a customs broker?

A customs broker is a licensed specialist, trained to handle the declaration of your shipments through international customs. Their expertise includes tariff and customs laws, rules and regulations for the clearance of imported or exported goods or merchandise. They ensure appropriate customs permits are obtained for goods entering, leaving or being trans-shipped through a particular territory. The agents will be able to organize custom entries, payment of duties, and how goods can be discharged from custody.

2. Import clearance process

Importers are required to obtain a custom permit before actual importation of goods into Singapore. While some goods may be prohibited, others may only be allowed in limited quantities or under specific conditions. Imported goods are also subjected to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and/or duty payment.

Dutiable goods, which incur both GST and duty, are:


-Tobacco products

-Motor vehicles

-Petroleum products

Customs brokers can help to obtain the appropriate certificates, licenses and permits to import your goods.



3. Export Clearance Process

While Goods and Services Tax (GST) and duty are not levied on goods exported from Singapore, exporters are required to apply for the relevant Customs export permits. It is essential to declare Free on Board (FOB) value of the goods in the export permit application.

Custom brokers can assist to declare on behalf of the exporter, obtain Certificate of Origin and advise on Free Trade Agreements to ensure processes are appropriate for the goods being transported and that the declaration process is carried out thoroughly, speedily and cost effectively.

4. What are the documents required for an import or export process?

- Country of origin

- Airwaybill

- Commercial invoice

- Packing list

-  Licenses where applicable

- Supporting documents where required

5. When is customs clearance needed?

Whenever you transport commercial goods from one country to another by land, air, or sea, usually, custom clearance processes are involved.  A customs permit is also required to account for the import and tax payment of the goods.  Accurate information of goods is vital to avoid delays in customs clearance processes

6. How long is a typical customs clearance process?

Customs clearance takes approximately 3-5 days and this time frame can vary during the year.

7.What are the advantages of Customs Brokerage

It’s Cheaper!
Let’s start with a really easy one. Using a specialist customs service provider will almost always be cheaper than buying such services in a bundle through a freight forwarder or shipping broker.

It’s More Secure
When you work with a customs broker or customs service provider your business is secure from the increasing number of threats to your trade data.

It’s Faster
With the globalization of trade there is now more external cross-border trade in goods than ever before, and this requires constant policing by national customs during the declaration process and at the physical border.

Makes Your Business More Competitive

As countries’ economic priorities change, so do their customs and trade compliance regimes, and particularly the tariffs they apply to imported goods. An experienced and capable customs broker provides timely and comprehensive advice on these changes as they happen and is therefore able to advise clients accordingly.

You Can Be Assured Of Compliance
Failure to complete customs paperwork accurately and on a timely basis, or failure to secure import licenses for the goods to be imported or exported will lead to delays in cargo being released, and may also lead to imposition of fines and other penalties.

Customs brokers not only keep abreast of current customs laws and how they are applied but will also be updated by their national customs agency and other government departments on possible changes in customs regulations which might be coming down the line, thus allowing them to give the most up to date customs information to their clients.

Speaking The Language Of Customs

As supply chains become more and more complicated and include one or more border crossings, customs brokers have the ability to ensure that the necessary customs clearance processes are embedded in the overall supply chain process, and that information is communicated to external stakeholders accurate and on a timely basis.

8. Where can I find a customs broker?

TNETS is one of the largest declaring agents in South East Asia and we assist many traders, importers, and exporters to declare import and export permits. TNETS’ team of custom specialist have the knowledge and expertise to communicate effectively with the international trade specialists within the importers’ and exporters’ organisations in order to ensure that cargo is cleared and delivered in a timely manner and in full compliance with customs regulations.

Do you need Help? Get in touch.

Feel free to contact TNETS for information on any matter related to customs or trade compliance. We're here to help!