How to pay for AliExpress packages held at customs

Do you think your package has been held in customs, and you’re wondering what to do? In this article, we’ll help you identify if your package has been held, how to pay customs on AliExpress in different countries, and solve any other doubts.

How do I know if my order is being held in customs?

You’ll know the package is in customs since they’ll contact you to request documentation, when the courier claims the customs payment or when the tracking number reflects a customs message.

Keep in mind that, just because your order is in customs doesn’t mean that you have to pay, as some order statuses simply inform that the package has entered or left customs, some of these are:

  • Clearing customs
  • Export clearance success
  • Import clearance success
  • Export clearance success
  • Pending customs clearance
  • Customs clearance started
  • Customs clearance completed or import clearance success
  • Customs clearance process completed

If, on the other hand, the message displayed is any of the following, you should suspect that you’ll have to pay taxes:

  • Held by customs
  • Import clearance failure
  • Item held by customs
  • Pending customs clearance
  • Documentation requested
  • In customs processing
  • Import processing completed
  • Customs clearance completed
  • Shipment with a request for import documents
  • Awaiting customs clearance
  • Item presented to customs
  • Custom problem
  • Detained in customs with notice
  • Notice sent for import handling

How to pay AliExpress customs?

AliExpress’ customs payments can generate uncertainty, since, when making purchases by private courier, the company itself will charge you the customs when you make the delivery. However, with the rest of the shipments, it’ll be the customs itself who gets in touch by means such as SMS, e-mail or by letters, to request the necessary documentation to calculate the taxes.

In the case of some postal offices, the company is directly in charge of managing the customs documentation, releasing the package, and charging a very small surcharge at the time of delivery. For more information, we have a specific article on customs payments and how to calculate them.

How do you pay customs in the United States?

In the USA you can get orders of up to $800 daily without worrying about customs (that is if no anti-dumping measures are applied). However, if there are many packages that arrive at customs that go over the $800 limit, they will probably be stopped to see if they exceed that amount.

If that ends up being the case or if your order gets stopped at customs for “a review”, you’ll get an Arrival Notice.

How do you pay customs in Canada?

Small packages don’t pay duties in Canada, due to the fact that many sellers declare a value lower than what’s required by regulations. However, if your order is stopped at Customs, the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) will review the package and determine the cost.

How do you pay customs in the European Union? (Ireland, Belgium, Netherlands, France…)

Packages of under €22 were exempt from VAT and duties in several countries of the EU up until July 2021. Now, the low-value exemption doesn’t exist, so all packages that arrive at the Union need to pay taxes, and just like in other countries, it’ll be directly paid in the shopping cart.

The VAT percentage will depend on the country of destination (meaning that it could fluctuate between 17% and 27%, especially if the package is over the €150 mark).

How do you pay customs in the UK?

When it comes to the UK, buyers are legally obliged to pay customs when it comes to packages that arrive from other countries. However, you can pay the VAT directly through the AliExpress shopping cart if the order is under £135.

Now, if the amount is over the £135 limit, you’ll have to pay VAT and, additionally, Import Duties. Your carrier will let you know if you have to pay customs once you receive your order.

How to pay customs in Australia?

Usually, 10% of customs fees are paid directly through the AliExpress cart on purchases under AUD $1000. AliExpress collects the Australian Goods and Services Tax (GST), then forwards it to the Australian Taxation Office so you don’t have to pay anything when the order arrives in Australia.

But if your package is worth more than AUD $1000, you’ll have to pay customs when the order enters the country.

I have received a customs notification, what should I do?

When packages are held, you’ll receive a notification asking you to visit customs or provide proof that you paid for the product or package in order to calculate the customs costs.

If the seller put a lower amount, we suggest you mention the real price of the product, otherwise, customs could make the valuation, and it’ll probably be above the real price.

Can I not accept the package?

Generally, it’s not a good idea to refuse customs letters from your country to return the product to the seller. When purchasing products on AliExpress, the buyer is responsible for any customs charges, so “passing on everything” means losing the money for the order. However, if you’re too lazy to do the paperwork and the product isn’t very expensive, it may be worth it.

If you ignore the notice, the product will be returned to the seller, so you may be able to reach an agreement with them and get a refund of part of what you paid. Please note that if you ignore customs, your data may be flagged, so your next orders may be blocked.

Do I have to pay customs or import fees?

The answer is yes, the payments are to be paid by the buyer. The buyer is responsible for paying the customs fees and making all the formalities. So customs packages must be paid in case duties and other taxes aren’t included in the purchase (unless the seller specifies that the shipment is “tax-free”, i.e. without customs).

AliExpress purchases usually come from outside your home country and have to cross international borders. Also, keep in mind that each country has its own regulations.

What documents do I have to submit for customs clearance?

The documents may vary according to the country, but in general, it’s enough to attach screenshots of the AliExpress product, where the tracking number and payment proof are also verified. This way, customs can verify what you’re buying.

Customs conditions and responsibilities on AliExpress

Now, we’ll leave you with some recommendations and tips about customs conditions and responsibilities:

  • Your local post office or customs can give you more information about your country’s customs regulations.
  • Customs, taxes, or import charges are usually paid directly to the courier company.
  • The seller won’t be responsible for delays in shipping due to customs.
  • Products with domestic shipping offered by some sellers are shipped from your country and are customs-free.

Is it worth paying customs to buy on AliExpress?

Yes, absolutely, you can buy your products with total confidence. Generally, there’s not too much paperwork required, and if so, the prices would be so low that this would be justified.

Undoubtedly, it’s necessary to know how customs work, as well as their rules and regulations. Remember that the AliExpress invoice is required to pay for customs, as well as certain documentation.