When buying something on AliExpress, one of the most common concerns is to have problems with customs.
That's why many of you ask us through the comments about the status of the order “started customs clearance process”, and today we will solve this doubt once and for all.
Remember: to check the most updated status of your order on AliExpress you can click here.
What does “started customs clearance process” mean?
First of all you have to know that all items go through customs. However, that does not mean that your order will be held.
“Started customs clearance process” means that your package, after arriving in your country, has begun this process. This happens at the airport or seaport itself, depending on the means by which your order has arrived.
Which orders are inspected by customs?
Main article: AliExpress Customs
In most countries, the possibility that customs will hold your order is very small, especially if it's a small and light package. But keep in mind that for large and heavy packages, this possibility increases significantly.
When is an order held by customs?
If your package is being held by customs, you would know, as the status “held by customs” would appear on your order. And if you have any doubts about this status and similar ones, we recommend you read our article on that topic so you can have more information on the subject.
Every country has particular customs regulations that determine the amount or weight above which taxes must be paid.
If the customs agents consider that the value of your order may be higher than a certain amount of money, 2 things can happen:
- They may ask you to provide an invoice or proof of purchase to find out if, depending on the price, you have to pay VAT or duties.
- Your order may be scanned directly and, if required, opened for inspection. In this case, they can be the ones to estimate the value of your item.
After this, you will have to pay any applicable taxes. If the package is of large volume or weight, we recommend you to check the customs regulations before buying to avoid any kind of problem.
If you have had a package held up by customs, you can read more about this in our article Held by customs on AliExpress.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a package take to clear customs?
Usually the status changes in about 48 hours, but on some ocassions, it may take a few days. Keep in mind that statuses are not always updated immediately and may even jump directly to “Awaiting Shipment”.
What to do if you are stuck in this status?
If more than 10 days have passed, the best thing is to contact the seller and the post office so that they can check if there is a problem. Check the protection time to open a dispute before the end of the period, adding a screenshot of every step of the process: tracking, messages with the seller, messages with the post office…
Should I contact customs?
Unless the tracking message indicates that it has been stopped by customs or there is a problem with the package, there is no need to contact them. The customs check is part of the process of receiving a package and most orders pass through customs without further processing.