Customs & Regulations

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Customs & Regulations

1 Customs


Customs is a government agency whose main tasks include collecting state duties on goods imported into the country, conducting customs supervision both at the national border and within the country, and issuing the necessary permits for foreign trade.

Although DHL Express cannot influence customs, we have the expertise to help facilitate smooth shipment clearances.

Read up thoroughly on the customs requirements of countries you plan to export to before shipping. Similarly, it is important that you know your country’s importing requirements when you are ordering something from overseas.

2 Duties & Taxes


A duty is a tax levied by governments on imported and exported goods. The word “duty” is also often used interchangeably with “tariff”. Each country has its own standards for whether a shipped item is dutiable or non-dutiable.

Duties calculation depends on the commodities' declared value within the shipment. Duties are applied by customs at the time of initial entry and vary depending on the classification, value, country of manufacture, and associated freight charges for the commodities.

Payment of duties and taxes is often the responsibility of the receiver. To help expedite delivery, DHL Express will contact the receiver on behalf of customs to arrange for payment. DHL Express indeed offers the option for the sender to pay customs duties.

Learn more about customs clearance guidelines

3 Compliance


Compliance means adhering to trade regulations of whichever countries you are exporting from or importing to.

DHL Express upholds a high standard of compliance to ensure international regulations, laws, and ethical standards are followed.

Non-Compliance Risks to Avoid

Avoid declaring the value of goods to be lower than their actual transactional value.Provide your shipping invoice with a detailed breakdown of all the items applicable to cost (goods, freight, insurance, etc.).

Counterfeit & Pirated Goods
Fake goods are sold illegally without permission from the brand owner. Ensure your shipment does not contain any fake branded products as they are prohibited for carriage.

Misdeclaring Names
Providing an incomplete or inaccurate name or address of the true shipper or receiver could lead to shipment delays. Always give the real full name of the shipper and the receiver, correct address, and complete contact information on your documentation.

Incomplete Goods Description
To avoid disruptions, ensure good descriptions include complete information with precise details on the goods’ nature. Do not use generic descriptions.

9 Classes of Dangerous Goods
If you need to ship dangerous goods, talk to your Account Manager on your shipping requirements.
Not carried by DHL Express


Not carried by DHL Express

Radioactive Materials

Only non-infectious

Toxic Substances

Only non-toxic

Flammable Gases

Flammable Liquids

Flammable Solids

Oxidising Substances

Corrosive Substances

Micellaneous Goods

Good to Know
Always ensure all four compliance risks are avoided.
Always ensure the accuracy, completeness, and timeliness of all information you submit to DHL Express.
DHL Express neither accepts nor carries any shipment that includes counterfeit foods.
DHL Express reserves the right to inspect documents and shipments and to take appropriate actions to comply with regulations.

Learn more about MyGTS

4 Classification of Goods & HS Codes


You will need to indicate the Harmonised System (HS) code for your goods in your shipping documents to ensure uniform clearance.

The HS code is an internationally recognised commodity categorisation system and is commonly used in customs to clear shipments.

It classifies taxes and tariffs, trade policies, and controls and monitoring for different commodities. There are thousands of different HS codes dissecting each commodity into very specific descriptions.

Use the Interactive Classifier on our Global Trade Services (MyGTS) tool to easily find HS codes to classify your products.

Learn more about MyGTS

5 Your International Trade Toolkit on TAS

MyGTS Features

Landed Cost Estimator

Calculate total shipping costs including duties, taxes, and other fees like insurance, brokerage, and transport.

Interactive Classifier

Find classification codes for your goods including HS code in ASEAN Harmonized Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN), Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN), and Schedule B number.

Customs Compliance Check

Check your shipments’ compliance with the latest trade protocols.

Trade Document Library

Get the documents and forms your shipments need.

Comparative Services

Compare import options between countries to pick your best import source.

Service Reports, Product Catalog & Address Book

Save your shipment details for future use and faster processing.
Learn more about MyGTS

6 Customs Compliance checklist


Avoid customs compliance risks when shipping cross borders. Ensure your shipments arrive safely and lawfully with our checklist.