Customs examinations and random samplings: 8 things you should know about your rights and responsibilities

Any time the authorities do an inspection or a random examination, many companies expect inconveniences. But understanding the procedure and all of the laws and requirements can mean a quick and smooth operation.

Porath Customs Agents is happy to assist you in any way we can when it comes to customs inspections. That includes consulting you of your rights and responsibilities, any communication with the customs authorities, presentation of goods, representation at the examination and random sampling, controlling the customs findings and much, much more. We look forward to receiving your individual requests!

The customs examination can include:

  1. Cooperation: The customs applicant is required to assist in all ways in the case of a customs examination or random sampling. The applicant has the right to be present during the examination or to hire representation. Customs may set a deadline for this. Should the deadline not be kept, customs is then allowed to proceed with the examination in the absence of the applicant.
  2. Random sampling: Customs has the right to examine random samples – a sample serves as representation of the entire goods. The procedure is usually carried out by customs themselves. Samples not in compliance must be reported immediately – a delayed reprimand has no bearing.
  3. Mixed or composite goods: Mixed or composite goods or packaging must be declared by the applicant. Customs can require the applicant to provide samples of goods. Only after a sampling has been carried out by the customs authorities directly, is it possible for the applicant of mixed or composite goods to request the right to provide samples or have a representative provide them.
  4. Treatment of dangerous substances: There are always very strict procedures to follow when dangerous materials are being sampled. The protocol for sampling dangerous materials is only going to get more attention in the future, since the control rates have been too minimal in the past.
  5. Documentation: A customs report will be issued after completion of any examination, sample inspection or document check, which should be reviewed immediately upon receipt.
  6. Sampling rests and samples no longer needed: As a rule of thumb, the amount of material taken for sampling is a limited to the least amount necessary for an inspection and counter analysis. Unused materials are sent back to the applicant at the applicant’s expense if they were not destroyed at the time of inspection. If the results are not confirmed by the applicant, the samples will not be returned until after the statute of limitations, which is a minimum of three years.
  7. Reassessment of fees: Sometimes the customs examination or sampling can result in a tax reassessment resulting in additional fees. This must be reviewed within the window of repeal to see if the fees can be challenged.
  8. Expenses: The fees for a customs examination are always to be paid by the applicant. This includes the expenses for transport to the location of examination or sampling. The authorities however cover the expenses for the actual examination. This includes expenses incurred for transport between the customs office and their point of examination.


Do you have questions about our services? Just send us an e-mail or call us - your personal contact will be glad to answer your questions.

Heidenkampsweg 81
20097 Hamburg

Tel .: +49 (40) 8000 50-500

Emergency call after 6 pm:
+49 (160) 90 60 63 58