Latest / The Dreaded Customs Clearance after an International Flight

July 8th, 2014 by Peter | Category: Pet Transport News

The most common complaint we get when we send a Pet overseas relates to the Customs Clearance procedures upon arrival. It is frustrating for us because we can do a great job of getting a Pet to the other side of the world and still have an unhappy Customer because they had a lousy experience at the Airport.

But unfortunately we have no control over Customs Clearance Procedures at any Airports and the Clearing Agent is usually chosen by the Airline so we can’t do anything about that either.

Owners arrive at the Airport excited to be reunited with their Pets. Naturally they want to collect them and get out of there asap. But unfortunately their excitement is often quickly replaced by frustration and stress.

The reality is that is often takes a few hours to complete the paperwork, pay the Customs Fees and wait around while it is checked before they finally hand over your beloved Pet. At many Airports the Customs Office is nowhere near the Airline’s Freight shed and getting from one to the other is an issue if you don’t have a Car. Even if you do have a Car finding parking may be a problem.

To add insult to injury the Customs fees can be quite expensive. If you are going to the UK or Holland the clearance fees are paid in advance and will therefore be included in our quote. Pretty much every other Country will charge you some fees upon arrival.

Here are a few tips which may help;

  • Find out in advance where you have to go and what you have to do and plan how you are going to get there. The Airline will usually give you this information when they call the Consignee to get the “Ok to Forward”. But if not ask them, we can provide their contact details if need be.
  • If you don’t have a lot of time or can do without the stress we can engage a professional Pet Transport Business to do it for you. You just need to ask us for a quote for Customs Clearance when you contact us. After your Pet is cleared they can either hand it over to you at the Airport or deliver it to your Residence.
  • If you wish to find out how much the Clearance fees will be please contact the Customs Office at the arrival Airport. Some Freight Depots also charge “Storage” fees (which is a rather unfortunate term).
  • In some Countries it is possible to do a pre-clearance. This means you take a copy of the export documents to the Customs Office before your Pet arrives and get most or all of the Paperwork sorted out before your Pet arrives. Please let us know if you wish to do this and for a small fee we will scan all the export documents and email them to the Consignee.
  • As in any Industry Customer service standards can vary from Airport to Airport or day to day. I think it’s fair to say the Freight Depots and Customs Offices of the world have their fair share of staff who do not share the “Urgency” of Pet Owners trying to collect Pets. If you get served by someone who you feel is unreasonably slow or uncooperative it may be better to ask to speak to their Manager rather than getting into a shouting match with them. And by all means write them a letter of complaint if you feel they did not do their job properly.