About Customs Clearance

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DHL Express is an international transportation specialist with extensive knowledge of customs procedures and experience on a global scale. We are support to facilitating smooth customs clearance processes and provide comprehensive support to ensure that our customers can focus on their core business activities.

The basic documents required for customs clearance

✓ Waybill

✓Custom Invoice

When you ship non-document to overseas, an custom invoice is required. This invoice is a detailed declaration of all the contents being shipped and is used by customs authorities to assess whether any taxes should be imposed.

  • Commercial Invoice: Used when the contents are for business transactions or resale purposes.
  • Proforma Invoice: Used when sending non-commercial contents (e.g., samples). 

You can also create invoices online by registering for MyDHL+ and submitting them along with the shipping documents.

When preparing invoices, please confirm the following:

  1. Date of invoice creation (in the format of year, month, day)
  2. Sender's company name (or full name for individuals), contact person's name, department name, address, postal code, phone number
  3. Receiver’s company name (or full name for individuals), contact person's name, department name, address, postal code, phone number
  4. Description of the shipped items, quantity, unit price, subtotal amount, weight, country of origin for the shipment. Even for free items, an amount should be indicated. Please provide specific and detailed information about the type of parts or samples, rather than using generic terms like "PARTS" or "SAMPLE"
  5. Waybill number
  6. Total amount (declared value)
  7. Total weight (Please specify if it is Total Net Weight for the cargo contents only or Total Gross Weight including the packaging)
  8. Currency unit for the declared value
  9. Incoterms (trade terms): Incoterms are necessary for export declarations. They are internationally standardized terms that define the responsibilities of the buyer and seller in international shipments. For example, "FCA" means that the seller is responsible for the costs within Japan, while the buyer bears the costs and risks from that point onwards. Other examples include CIP, CPT, etc. For detailed information, please refer to the Incoterms 2020 issued by the International Chamber of Commerce
  10. Please indicate "Proforma" for non-commercial shipments and "Commercial" for commercial shipments. However, note that some countries may require the "Commercial" designation even for non-commercial shipments. Please consult with customer service regarding the use of "Proforma" designation
  11. Sender's signature

Prohibited and Restricted Commodities

Prohibited Items

The following items will NOT be accepted for carriage by DHL. This list includes items which are prohibited for carriage by any law, regulation or statute of any federal, state or local government of any country from, to or through which the items may be carried. For international carriage there may be additional prohibited items specified by the country of destination. DHL may at its sole discretion refuse to carry other items not listed below.

  • Bullion (of any precious metal)
  • Cannabis
  • Cash (legal tender – bank notes, currency notes and coins)
  • Complete firearms, ammunition, explosives/explosive devices including inert explosives and test pieces, air guns, replica and imitation firearms
  • Human remains or ashes in any form
  • Hunting (animal) trophies, animal parts such as ivory and shark’s fin, animal remains or ashes, or animal b y-products and derived products not intended for human consumption, prohibited for movement by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and/or local law
  • Illegal goods, such as counterfeit goods and narcotics
  • Live animals (including but not limited to mammals, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, insects, larvae and pupae)
  • Loose lithium metal batteries under IATA PI968 section II
  • Loose precious and semi-precious stones (cut or un-cut, polished or un-polished)

Restricted Items

The following items will NOT be accepted for carriage unless otherwise agreed to by DHL. To obtain such agreement a business case will need to be conducted by DHL and the items approved for carriage will be recorded in writing with the customer.

  • Air guns, tasers, imitation or replica firearms, firearm parts and replica ammunition (includes rifle butts, trigger mechanisms, screws/bolts etc which are manufactured for the sole purpose of creating a functional firearm)
  • Antiques and works of art with a shipment value in excess of €500,000
  • Banderols/Tax stickers with a shipment value in excess of €500,000
  • Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes with a shipment value in excess of €500,000
  • Commemorative coins and medals with an individual value or total shipment value of €2,000 or more are restricted for carriage
  • Dangerous/hazardous goods including but not limited to perfumes, aftershaves, aerosols, flammable substances, dry ice, biological substances, UN classified dangerous goods and any goods specified as such under International Air Transport Association regulations (“IATA”), the Agreement on Dangerous Goods by Road (“ADR”) or International Maritime Dangerous Goods (“IMDG”) regulations
  • Financial and monetary commodities – examples include but are not limited to activated SIM cards for mobile phones, blank or activated credit or cash dispenser cards, blank checks, event tickets, lottery tickets, money or postal orders, pre-paid phone cards, tickets (blank stock), traveler’s checks, vouchers/tokens, unused stamps etc. Applicable to all shipments valued in excess of €500,000
  • Furs
  • Jewelry and watches and with individual values in excess of €100,000. The shipment must not exceed €100,000


Paperless Trade ("PLT") service

With DHL's paperless trading service, you can electronically transmit customs documents without the need for printing and directly affixing them to the shipment. 

What Paperless Trade Services (PLT) can do for you:

  • Time saving-There is no need to physically attach the invoice to the shipment
  • Cost reduction-Reduces printing and paper costs
  • Avoiding delays-Customs documents are submitted in a timely, leading to speedy customs clearance
  • Sustainability-Reduce use of paper and printing supplies