GUIDE TO: Completing a clearing instructions form
A Clearing agent’s job is to arrange the Customs clearance of their client’s imports and exports, and to pay over any relevant taxes on their behalf.
The freight agent arranges the movement of the cargo, but may also do clearing. Either way, the freight or clearing agent may only act on behalf of their client at Customs if a formal clearing instruction has been issued by the client. Let’s see how this instruction works.
What is a clearing instruction?
The clearing instruction is a document completed by the exporter or importer giving their freight and/or clearing agent specific permission to represent them at a border or post where the goods must pass. This will cover all the activities that are required to move the goods either from the seller to the Incoterms handover point (in the case of exports) or from the Incoterms handover point to the buyer in an import.
What does it look like?
The clearing agent usually provides a clearing instruction form for the exporter or importer to complete, so details regarding what the document contains and how it looks will vary between freight and clearing providers. Regardless of its layout, this form acts as a contract of performance and payment for services rendered by the agent. The agent will also be held liable for any deviation from what is stated in the clearing instruction. If you should therefore want to change anything regarding the service contracted for, a new clearing instruction must be completed and handed over to the agent.
An example of both a standard export and import clearing instruction form is given below. It is quite a detailed example and a freight or clearing agent may not ask for all the information indicated in these examples.