What Does It Mean When Your Item is Returned From Import Customs?

Understanding “Item Returned from Import Customs” Tracking Status

Waiting for an international package to arrive can be an anxious experience. You watch the tracking updates closely, hoping to see that your item has cleared customs and is on its way to you. But then the status changes to “item returned from import customs.” What does this mean and what should you do next?

This article will explain what an “item returned” status signifies when importing goods, why it happens, and how to get your package back on track for delivery. With the right information and quick action, you can overcome this customs hiccup.

Why Would an Item Be Returned from Customs?

There are a few main reasons why an international package may be returned by customs before entering the destination country:

  • Prohibited contents – Certain items are restricted or banned from import. Food, drugs, weapons etc. may be returned if detected.
  • Inadequate paperwork – Missing or incorrect customs forms and invoices can cause return.
  • Questionable declared value – Undervalued or overvalued items on paperwork may get flagged.
  • Security concerns – Some items trigger closer inspection and get sent back.
  • Failure to pay duties/taxes – The importer must pay any required fees but if not done in time the item can be returned.
  • Export restrictions – Some overseas countries prohibit certain exports.

What Happens When an Item is Returned from Customs?

Once customs decides to return an item, it goes back into the custody of the shipping carrier. They scan the package as “item returned” and route it on the next available transit back to origin.

The package is taken out of the normal import flow and will not continue on to delivery until the return issue is resolved. Customs attaches a return label explaining the reason for refusal. This gets scanned at each step.

The item will travel back to the carrier’s international hub or service center in the origin country. Once arriving there, the shipper will be contacted to determine next steps.

How to Get an Item Returned from Customs Released for Delivery

If your package tracking shows it was returned from customs, don’t panic. Here are some steps to take:

  • Review tracking history – Look for scans with return codes or refusal reasons to identify why it was rejected.
  • Contact the carrier – Speak with customer service to confirm details on the return and what needs to be done.
  • Submit missing forms/paperwork – Provide any documents customs needs to clear and release the shipment.
  • Pay any unpaid duties or taxes – Cover any required import fees to get the item delivered.
  • Consider repacking prohibited contents – You may need to remove banned items and re-ship a revised package.
  • Dispute incorrect reasons for return – If you disagree with the refusal causes, appeal to the carrier and customs.
  • Request redelivery – Once resolved, ask for the item to be shipped again and restart the customs process.

Key Takeaways on Items Returned from Customs

Tracking an “item returned” status can be concerning but doesn’t necessarily mean your package is lost for good. Being proactive will help get to the root of the problem and find the solution. Some key points to remember:

  • It’s a common hiccup in international shipping and can often be resolved.
  • Work quickly with the carrier to understand the return reason and next steps.
  • Focus on providing any missing paperwork that customs requires.
  • If needed, be prepared to pay duties, taxes or fines to allow import.
  • Appeal a refusal you believe is unwarranted.
  • With the right fix, the item can be reprocessed and delivered.

With persistence and the carrier’s help, an item returned from customs can get back on track for successful delivery. Learning why it was rejected and taking prompt action lets you troubleshoot the issue.

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