Held by Customs is a tracking update on AliExpress that no one expecting a package from AliExpress wants to receive.

If you see the dreaded message that your AliExpress order has been “Held by Customs”, it simply means that the border control – Customs in the destination country didn’t clear your package until some issues are resolved.

Held by Customs meaning

‘Held by Customs‘ means the AliExpress package you are expecting is in your country (i.e. destination country) and is held by the officials of your country’s customs and border control.

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These government agencies detain the AliExpress parcels until they confirm that only permitted items reach their border and that the import taxes (Duties & Excise) have been paid. These organizations also ensure that the product is legally owned and controlled by the right person.

What happens if AliExpress package is held by customs?

According to AliExpress, the buyer is obligated to do the customs clearance at the destination country, hence you are expected to contact your country’s customs and border control service to know the detained reason why your AliExpress package is held.

A seamless customs clearance process improves the overall transit time of your AliExpress package. There are several common reasons an AliExpress package shipment can be placed on hold by Customs in the destination country.

The most common reason for AliExpress shipments being held by Customs is because of either missing documentation or import tax/duty required.

You are expected to pay the required import duty or tax when contacted by the courier service for customs clearance or reach out to the AliExpress vendor for the required missing document needed for customs clearance.

If the AliExpress vendor refuses to give you all the required documents needed for customs clearance, you are expected to open a dispute and seek a refund immediately.

Why AliExpress shipments are held by customs?

If your AliExpress package is held by customs, here are some of the reasons your AliExpress order might fail customs clearance at the destination country.

Normally it means that the Customs in your country has detained your AliExpress package. Several reasons could cause this to happen, such as:


If your AliExpress package was held by customs because the AliExpress vendor declared price on the package is much lower than the actual value of the product, the destination country’s customs might detain the package until the right price is declared and the necessary import taxes are paid.


One common way to avoid paying customs duties or taxes is to label the contents of the package as a “gift.” The word “gift” is very broad, and it doesn’t tell you anything useful about the products you bought.

Items marked as gift products are considered an item for personal use, which are occasionally purchased.


There are some things you can’t buy on AliExpress or bring in from other countries because they are considered hazardous for your health. This is why their consumption is only guaranteed if they originate from an accredited company.

Some good examples would be medicines, foodstuffs, raw materials and semi-finished products for confectionery, some drinks types, drugs, exotic animals, archaeological artefacts, corals, shells and products coming from endangered animals such as ivory.


Although the importing of certain goods is forbidden, they may be acquired abroad with prior authorization.

This is true for explosives, weapons, some types of plants, chemicals, alcohol, and anything else that needs a license to be sold.

Without the proper authorization, such items could be held by customs until the appropriate authorization is provided for customs clearance.


One of the biggest challenges with using AliExpress Hidden Links to find good replicas on AliExpress is that counterfeit and fake products are illegal in most countries, and people with an industrial patent can report them.


The Canada Border Services Agency says that any item shipped to Canada through the mail could be taxed under Goods and Services Tax and/or customs duty.

Unless specifically exempt, you must pay the 5% GST on AliExpress items shipped into Canada. The CBSA estimates any tariffs owed depending on the Canadian dollar worth of the package.

The tariff rates vary depending on the type of products being imported and the origin or place of manufacture.

Depending on the package or their worth, other taxes may apply, such as excise duty or tax on luxury items. You are not expected to pay GST on the following items that you mail into Canada: goods worth less than CAD $20 and gifts from family or friends who live outside of Canada that cost less than CAD $60.

The majority of small packages from AliExpress are exempt from duty in Canada, as many AliExpress sellers declare a value below the CAD $20 threshold.

But if your AliExpress package is held by Canadian Customs, the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) will examine the item and figure out how much the customs fees will be.



AliExpress started collecting VAT on sales of products shipped to EU consumers on 1 July 2021. This includes cases in which goods are delivered from outside the EU with a maximum order value of 150 EUR, or where goods are dispatched from inside the EU when the vendor is based outside the EU.

Vendors and logistics operators on AliExpress are expected to include the Chinese eCommerce giant’s Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) number in their import declaration into Europe for all goods shipped from outside the EU and for which AliExpress has collected VAT. This is to ensure that the goods can be released for free circulation and delivered to you without VAT or any other extra fees at the customs.

If your AliExpress shipping address is in the EU, you will have seen that VAT is added to your payment for each item.

Different member states have different VAT rates. According to the European Commission, every country has both standard and reduced rates.

Please note that AliExpress doesn’t charge VAT on orders of €150 or more. For orders of €150 or more, you, the buyer, will have to pay your VAT and customs duties at the time of import. If not, the customs authorities may hold on to your AliExpress packages.

AliExpress has warehouses in several EU countries such as France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic with the help of Cainiao but AliExpress packages from their EU warehouses are still subject to VAT because they are considered non-EU citizens and traders.


United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims that packages with a declared value of less than $800 (or $100 if they are being sent as a gift to someone other than the buyer) will usually be cleared without any extra paperwork.

But CBP always has the right to require a formal entry for any importation. This is usually done if there is something unusual about the importation or if important documents like an invoice or bill of sale are not with the item.

This means you can receive AliExpress packages that aren’t more than USD $800 daily without any worry about the united states customs if no “anti-dumping” measures are applied because the package is coming from AliExpress in China.


According to the Customs Administration of the Netherlands, your AliExpress order will be held by Dutch Customs, if it is on the list of restricted or prohibited items to imports or if it’s a  counterfeit items, animal products and foodstuffs, vegetables, plants, toy weapons, flowers, fruit, weapons and munitions.

You are only allowed to bring counterfeit items for your own personal use in your luggage provided you travel to the Netherlands from outside the European Union, hence use AliExpress Hidden Links with extreme caution.

Your AliExpress shipment can be held by Dutch customs if paying import duties is required for the package.

If the value of your AliExpress order is not more than € 45, you do not pay taxes to import the goods.

If the value of your AliExpress shipment is over € 45, but no more than € 700, you will be required to pay  2.5% of the value of the goods and VAT (0 or 6 or 21%) as import duty tax.

The majority of the time, the postal or courier service responsible for conveying your AliExpress cargo will submit the report to Customs.

Customs-relevant information must be included in the report, such as the value and description of the products. If this information is unknown, the postal or courier service will contact you to obtain it.

If the AliExpress seller does not pay the postal or courier company for the customs fees, the postal or courier company will charge you for these fees upon delivery of the AliExpress package.

However, if the AliExpress vendor is shipping your package from a local warehouse in a country within the European Union, you will only be expected to pay only VAT on AliExpress because there is free movement of goods and packages within the European Union.

Please note – Products shipped from the local warehouse must have been already imported and cleared by Customs into the European Union.


AliExpress package customs clearance in the united kingdom usually takes some minutes or hours but sometimes it can take days or weeks if there’s something wrong/missing, or your package needs to be inspected.

If you must pay any VAT, duty, or delivery fees (‘handling fees’) to receive your AliExpress cargo, Royal Mail or the courier company employed to transport your order will contact you.

They will give you a bill with all applicable fees and will typically hold your box for three weeks. Your AliExpress package will be returned to the sender if you have not paid the charge by that date.

Most AliExpress items shipped to the UK are subject to a standard VAT rate of 20%. The reduced VAT rate is 5%, and it only applies to certain items like car seats for kids, works of art, and artefacts.

Food and children’s clothing are exempt from VAT and qualify for a 0% VAT rate.

If your order is less than or equal to £135, you will be forced to pay VAT while purchasing on AliExpress from the United Kingdom.

In addition to customs taxes, the buyer will be forced to pay VAT on any AliExpress delivery with a value equal to or greater than £135. If your AliExpress delivery incurs customs fees, you must pay them on both the purchase price and the shipping cost.

AliExpress is responsible for collecting and paying VAT on the sale to a customer with a UK shipping address or British customer.

If you purchase a counterfeit product using a hidden link on AliExpress, it might likely fail customs check too.


All goods imported by post or mail (whether for commercial purposes or personal use) are assessed for community protection risks, permit and import requirements, duty, taxes and other charges.

When your AliExpress package arrives in Australia and is a prohibited good under any Commonwealth law, Australian Border Force can hold the package until you can produce a permit or approval to import the goods.

If you have bought a prohibited or restricted good, Australian Customs will send you an Information Sheet (Seizure of Prohibited/Restricted Imports) advising that they are holding your goods and why,  who to contact for assistance, and what you need to do.

AliExpress packages that arrive in Australia with a declared or assessed value of AUD1000 or less, are generally not charged any customs duties, taxes or charges at the border unless they are alcoholic beverages.

However, the Goods and Services Tax will be collected and forwarded to the Australian Taxation Office by AliExpress when you are making payment for your purchases under AUD $1000.

It is usually ten per cent (10%) and it is applied directly to your shopping cart, hence you will not pay anything when your AliExpress package arrives in Australia.

If your AliExpress shipment has a declared or assessed value of over AUD1000, you will be required to pay customs duties when the order enters the country.

You will get a First Notice by Australia Post or the courier service, advising you to lodge an Import Declaration with Australian Border Force and the amount you need to pay before your package can be delivered to you.

When you buy pirated, replica or counterfeit items using AliExpress Hidden Links, you are purchasing a defective product and contributing to an illicit trade that may include significant criminal conduct and cause injury.

It is illegal in Australia to import pirated, replica or counterfeit items, you can be prosecuted when caught by Australian Border Force (ABF) officers.

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