FedEx is a global leader in the transportation industry with over 16.5 million packages passing through its network on a daily basis. Most of these packages travel across borders, requiring meticulous checks and processes to ensure smooth delivery. 

When it comes to international shipments, import clearance is necessary. This involves the local customs department reviewing all relevant documentation, assessing whether certain goods are restricted or prohibited, and determining applicable import duties.

One status update that recipients come across on the tracking page is “International Shipment Release – Import”. This shipment update signifies that the package has successfully cleared import customs and can now be delivered to its intended recipient.

international shipment release update

When receiving this update, there is no action required from the recipient, as the customs clearance process was successful. This means that all of the documentation prepared by the shipper matched the cargo description and the goods are cleared for import.

How Long Will It Take for My Package to Arrive After Receiving This Status?

Upon receiving this status, you can expect your package to be delivered to your doorsteps within the next 2 to 3 days. While this is a general estimate, we recommend that you use the scheduled delivery time provided on FedEx’s tracking page. The scheduled delivery time is updated frequently, as the date and time are based on the package’s current location in the network.

Why Does FedEx Need to Clear Import Customs for International Shipments?

FedEx, like any other logistics company, is not exempted from import regulations. While customs processes vary between different countries, each has its own set of import regulations.

Each package that passes through FedEx’s international network (similar to all other logistics companies) is required to go through export and import clearance procedures, as customs need to assess and collect appropriate duties and taxes and monitor the movement of goods across borders for security and legal purposes.

What Happens During Customs Clearance?

During the customs clearance process, several important steps are taken to ensure the smooth flow of goods across international borders. Here are some of the processes in more detail:

  • Documentation Submission – The process begins with document submission. This includes a packing list, commercial invoice, permits, licenses, and any other required documents.
  • Documentation Review – Once the documentation is submitted, customs officials carefully review each document to verify its completeness and accuracy. This ensures that all information provided is correct and per the regulations and requirements of the country’s customs authority. Any discrepancies or missing information may result in delays or further inquiries from authorities.
  • Duty Assessment – Customs officials conduct duty assessments to determine the applicable import duties. It should be noted that not all items are subject to import duties and taxes.
  • Package Screening – Another crucial step is package screening. Customs authorities conduct thorough security checks to ensure that the goods being imported comply with regulations and pose no threat to national security. This includes inspecting packages for prohibited or restricted items such as counterfeit goods.
  • Package Inspection – Customs authorities may choose to perform a physical inspection of the package. This typically occurs when they cannot determine the contents through the initial screening process. This type of inspection is more common for shipments that raise suspicion or for goods that require special handling.
  • Package Release – Once the package has undergone the necessary inspections and document checks, it’s released by customs. If a package is held, it means that it has not been cleared for import and will not be released until the relevant issue has been resolved. On the other hand, if a package is released, it has been approved for import and can be handed over to FedEx for final delivery.

What Happens After This Update?

After your package is cleared for import, FedEx can start its delivery process. Below, you’ll find what activities and shipment updates take place before the package reaches your doorstep.

In Transit

Upon leaving customs, the package will be passed to FedEx and you will receive the “In Transit” status update. During this phase, the package is on its way to a sorting or local facility. The “In Transit” phase is an important checkpoint as it signifies that the package has successfully cleared customs and is now being transported through its local network.

At Destination Sort Facility

Once the package arrives at its destination, it goes through another crucial checkpoint known as the “At Destination Sort Facility”. This facility is a local sorting and distribution center where large amounts of packages are processed, consolidated, and dispatched.

This sorting process helps streamline delivery by ensuring each package is assigned to the correct delivery location or area. By organizing packages this way, FedEx can optimize its time and resources, ultimately leading to more efficient and timely deliveries.

At Local FedEx Facility

Upon arrival at the local FedEx facility, the package undergoes a series of important tasks. Final scanning and segregation occur, ensuring that all necessary checks are done before the package continues its journey. Route planning and scheduling are also carried out to ensure that packages are routed to the correct delivery addresses.

On FedEx Vehicle Out for Delivery

Once the procedures mentioned above are completed, the package is carefully loaded onto a FedEx vehicle and begins its journey to the recipients. During this time, customers can track their package’s progress and be on standby for its arrival.


Finally, the package reaches its destination, signaling the end of its journey. This would be the final status update if the package has been successfully received or dropped off.

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Gerrit Poel

Co-Founder & Writer
at freightcourse

About the Author

Gerrit is a certified international supply chain management professional with 16 years of industry experience, having worked for one of the largest global freight forwarders.

As the co-founder of freightcourse, he’s committed to his passion for serving as a source of education and information on various supply chain topics.