Customs control

Customs control is the process of analysis, investigation, inspection and supervision of all merchandise that is imported or exported.

Customs control

Customs control is carried out in compliance with a set of customs competence measures. This, in order to monitor the transit of all merchandise that crosses the land, sea and air borders. Merchandise of foreign, national or nationalized origin is included. In addition to merchandise, customs control also includes the transit of people.

Stages of customs control

The stages of customs control are:

  • Preliminary control: It is the one that is carried out before the merchandise is submitted to the customs regime. This stage is carried out by reviewing the documentation sent prior to the arrival of the cargo. For example, the cargo manifest. From that moment, customs administrators begin to investigate possible inconsistencies with the merchandise.
  • Immediate control: This control is carried out from the arrival in the customs territory until its release is authorized. At this stage, the merchandise can be subject to direct inspection by the Customs Administrators.
  • Subsequent control: It is after the lift. Understand the taxation processes and foreign trade processes. You can also carry out documentary or commercial audits.

Objectives of customs control

The main objective of customs control is to ensure compliance with current regulations by agents. This, to detect actions such as fraud to the nation or contraband.

  • Customs fraud : Fraud can take place at any stage of customs control. It includes supplying incorrect information to customs agents. For example, incorrect declaration of the value, cost, origin or quantities of the cargo. Also some acceptance of incorrect tax benefits or double accounting records.
  • National security: Refers to the entry or exit of contraband merchandise. It may be a load of illicit merchandise or merchandise in improper condition. For example, prohibited narcotics, foods processed inappropriately or not in accordance with current regulations.

In customs control avoid both scams through risk control techniques. This is due to the fact that physical recognition of all loads is not logistically possible. Also, given the regulations, also other objectives such as facilitating trade and international travel. Likewise, improve the performance of public resources and optimize the detection of fraud or contraband.


Suppose that company Alpha wants to import electronic products. After negotiating with your supplier, you must notify customs of your intention. For example, through the shipping manifest.

In this way, customs agents begin with the review of the application. They will perform an analysis of the request and compare it with their database to detect irregularities with similar transactions. This pre-check can yield three results:

  1. The load does not need to go through physical control.
  2. More documentation needs to be reviewed.
  3. The load will go through physical control.

In the last two options, immediate control is required. Therefore, a request is made to the Alfa company for more information about its transaction. Actions such as a physical examination of the products, collection and evaluation of samples, and inspection of the means of transport can also be carried out. Finally, the load is under further control. Due to irregularities in the process, it could carry out an audit of Alfa. It can be done after lifting because the irregularities did not merit seizing or retaining the load.