Outsourcing dental cases to China has advantages, but sending dental packages can sometimes have difficulties. One of them is to go through Customs Inspections, though it is infrequent. Today I am going to tell you how to avoid your dental packages from being detained by the Chinese Customs. You should pay attention to this issue. Otherwise, your dental package could stay in the Customs for over 2 weeks.

1. Download a UPS/ FedEx APP or Set up mail messages

You should know it quickly after your package is detained by the Customs. In order to know this fast enough, you’d better download an APP of the Express Service you are using.

For example, I often put tracking number onto the UPS APP right after we send a package. (P.S. We often use UPS or FedEx, since they are usually the fastest.) Every few hours, I would check the status of the package, to make sure everything is going well. If anything happens, including packages getting delayed or detained, I would know it right away. And then I will react quickly. Or my clients would just put my email address onto their UPS/ FedEx systems. Then the system would send status of packages to me through emails.

2. Don’t wait for a call from UPS/ FedEx

If you see something unusual happens, do not wait for a call from the Express Service. Instead, you just make a call to them. I remember my first time of encountering this situation. My client sent a package by UPS to our dental lab in Shenzhen, China.

I expected to pick up the package on Monday morning. On Monday morning, however, I noticed that the package was under customs inspection. There was no further notice from UPS, so I waited until afternoon. I became anxious, so I just called. And they told me that somehow they could not reach me by my phone! Then I asked them to send me files to fill out for Customs clearance.

3. Call UPS/ FedEx to check if everything is fine

In less than an hour, I prepared all the documents and sent to UPS. Yet, it was in the evening, so I had to wait until tomorrow morning before I could know what was happening. The next morning, I called UPS to check whether things were going well. Sadly, they told me some documents were missing. They claimed they had sent an email to me, but I doubted it, because I got nothing in my mailbox!

So I did exactly what they said, and sent other documents. By then, I was more careful, so I called again. They told me the documents were fine, but they had to wait until they had enough documents to send to the Customs. I asked them to hurry up. One hour later, I called again, and they told me all documents were delivered to the Customs.

Unluckily, it was during one of the big Chinese festivals. All Customs officials in Shenzhen had a 3-day break. When they came back, the had many boxes to check. So we did not get the package back until 20 days later. It was a disaster for both my client and our lab. I should thank my client for his understanding. But mostly importantly, we should know how to prevent this from happening again.

4. Tips for What to put into Commercial Invoices

According to our experience, here are some tips for making commercial invoices when sending a dental package to China:

First, make sure that the number of cases is correct. Some people don’t take it seriously. But if Customs officials catch you, your package will surely be detained. Remember, the item quantity can only be more, but not less. For example, you send 10 dental cases in a package. You can write 11 cases in the commercial invoice, but you CANNOT write 9 cases.

Second, the description of goods should 80% match the goods in the package. Normally, we suggest writing “Dental plaster models”. You can also send some dental accessories, but not too many. For example, one time my client asked me to send over 100 acrylic teeth to him, along with dental cases. I did not send them in one package. Instead, I sent the teeth in several separate packages, so nothing bad happened. And of course, you cannot only send accessories while writing “Dental plaster models” in the Commercial Invoice.

Third, the item value should not be too low. If there are over 30 cases, we suggest writing 3 US dollars for the item value. If there are fewer than 30, please write 4 US dollars. As long as the total value of the package does not exceed 100 US dollars, we don’t need to pay too much tax. Remember, if the item value is too low, it is very likely that the package would be detained.

In conclusion, Prevention is better than cure. So be careful with making commercial invoices. As long as you follow all those above steps, everything shall be fine.