Customs clearance agent

Customs clearance agent
See also

Customs clearance agent is an intermediary between a customs office and an entity that trades goods with foreign countries. First of all, he deals with all activities necessary for proper customs clearance of goods, namely preparing documents needed for customs clearance, carried out by the customs office, in cooperation with customs officers. It should be emphasized at the moment that a customs agent is not a synonym for a customs officer[1]. The basic difference between these professions is that the customs officer is a state official working for the state, and the customs agent is a representative of the economic entity, representing his principal before the tax authorities and the customs office.

Duties of a customs clearance agent[edit]

The basic duties of a customs agent include[2]:

  • Making sure that the necessary steps are taken to carry out customs clearance,
  • Controlling documents provided by entrepreneurs crossing the border,
  • Preparing customs documentation,
  • Ensure compliance with custom rules,
  • Checking of transported goods - are they legal and transported in an appropriate manner,
  • Contacting representatives of the Customs Office,
  • Ensure clearance of goods within stipulated time and avoid demurrage,
  • Making customs declarations.

In connection with the above, a customs agent may, among others control postal items and enterprises in which foreigners work. Importantly, the customs agent should not be confused with the publican because they are two different professions - a customs officer is a public official and a customs agent performs his work for a specific company, entrepreneur or as part of his own business.

Examples of custome clearance agent’s documents[edit]

Some of the documents that every customs clearance agent should prepare are[3]:

  • Exports Documentation: Purchase order from Buyer, Sales Invoice, Packing List, Shipping Bill, Bill of Lading or Airway Bill, Certificate of Origin and any other specific documentation as specified by the buyer, or as required by financial institutions or LC terms or as per importing country regulations.
  • Imports Documentation: Purchase Order from Buyer, Sales Invoice of supplier, Bill of Entry, Bill of Lading or Airway bill, Packing List, Certificate of Origin, and any other specific documentation required by the buyer, or financial institution or the importing country regulation.

Customs Agents prepare the document of Shipping Bills in the house for submission while rests of the documents are obtained from the client. Preparing shipping bill involves Classification of cargo under specific classification that is a critical activity in the entire process.

How to become custome clearance agent?[edit]

Pursuant to the Customs Law, the list of customs agents (a necessary condition to practice as a customs broker) is entered into by a natural person who fulfills the following conditions: has legal capacity, has appropriate qualifications related to customs service of economic entities, has not been convicted valid sentence for a crime against the credibility of documents, property, trade, trading in money and securities or a fiscal offense, and expressed a desire to enter in the register of customs agents.

In practice, to be employed as a customs agent you should have at least secondary education, however, a diploma of higher education (law, finance, international trade or economics) is welcome. A person holding this position should have at least one foreign language, have knowledge of customs law, should be familiar with the rules of intra-community and international trade, as well as be familiar with the simplified trading procedures between countries. Certainly, an additional advantage will be the experience in representing business entities before customs and tax authorities and experience related to customs service of goods


  1. Gwardzińska E., (2015), Zmiany w strukturze rynku usług pośrednictwa celnego w Polsce, Prace Naukowe Uniwersytetu Ekonomicznego we Wrocławiu Nr 402
  2. World Customs Organization, (2012)World Customs Journal, International Network of Customs Universities, p. 95
  3. Lisińska- Kuśnierz M., Cholewa A., (2003), Regulacje prawne dotyczące działalności przewozowej cargo w transporcie lotniczym, Akedemia Ekonomiczna w Krakowie, Zeszyty Naukowe Nr 625.



Author: Karolina Przewoźnik