What does a customs agency do and what can be contracted to them?

What does a customs agency do and what can be contracted to them?

It often happens that a customs agent is confused with a customs officer. The latter is a government official responsible mainly for supervising customs clearance and customs inspections. So who is a customs agent, what does a customs agency do and what can they do for you? Let’s read in the article.


A customs agency is a private company that supports entrepreneurs and individuals in specific activities related to international trade.

As we mentioned, agency employees – customs agents – are often and wrongly confused with customs officers. The latter are state officials responsible for supervision and customs inspections.

Customs agents are intermediaries between entrepreneurs trading in goods and customs and tax services. They are often invaluable support for companies or private individuals who cannot always find their way around all international regulations and provisions regarding the import or export of specific goods.

Customs agents can not only provide information on a given topic, but also take over some of the actions that need to be taken to pass customs clearance. And what exactly can you contract them to do?


The extent to which you will cooperate with a customs agency depends on you and your needs. It may be one-off advice on a matter that concerns you or almost the entire customs clearance process. Then your role is limited to providing the appropriate documents to the customs agent.

And what can they do on your behalf? A customs agent can:

  • prepare documentation related to import and export clearance, as well as apply for customs simplifications on your behalf, which will make the clearance processes faster and more efficient,
  • prepare declarations regarding excise duty, INTRASTAT and the origin of goods,
  • calculate and indicate in the customs declaration the amounts of import or export duties,
  • help you with transhipment and storage of goods and full logistics,
  • represent you before customs and tax administration authorities, e.g. in the case of customs inspection.

Even if you go through part of the process yourself, you can ask a customs agent to check the correct classification of your goods or indicate the appropriate customs code. This is very important when calculating customs duties.

That is not everything! As we mentioned, customs agency staff can advise you on any import and export permits, restrictions or regulations regarding dangerous goods.

Importantly, when choosing a specific customs agency, it is worth checking whether its employees are included in the list of customs agents. Then you have a guarantee that their knowledge and knowledge of regulations is at the highest level.


Undoubtedly, using the services of a customs agency has many advantages.

First is safety. When contracting specific activities, you can guarantee that they comply with applicable regulations. Therefore, even if you get a “random” inspection, it will only be a formality.

Secondly, you gain time, not only the time needed to prepare a customs order, but also to update your knowledge in the field of importing or exporting goods. While the agents will deal with customs matters, you can focus on the development of your company or what is important to you.

And finally – money. Some people, wanting to save on customs agency fees, decide to go through the process themselves. There is nothing wrong with this if the person knows the procedures and rules for submitting documentation. However, if you are not sure, it is better not to risk it, because it may turn out that the money you save on the agency (usually more) will have to be paid as penalties for mistakes.


As we mentioned, it is worth checking whether a specific employee is entered on the list of customs agents.

Secondly, whether the agency is able to meet all your expectations or facilitate matters related to import or export. It may turn out that you will need support not only with customs clearance, but also with transport or storage.

Opinions, quality certificates or awards for a given agency may also be helpful in making a decision. It is worth mentioning the AEO certificate, an EU document confirming the company’s credibility. Why? Because it translates into specific benefits for you.

An agency with this certificate has much fewer customs inspections, and when they do occur, shipments are treated as a priority, which saves time. Additionally, the certificate provides faster and easier access to customs simplifications, priority handling of customs declarations and all applications submitted in customs matters.

And if you are looking for a customs agency or have a specific question for a customs agent, please contact us. Not only will we clear up any uncertainties related to import or export, but we can also arrange customs clearance formalities for you.