Are you receiving an international shipment from FedEx, but the tracking is currently telling you that clearance instructions are required from the importer?

This message, albeit rare, can be incredibly confusing – and leave you wondering what to do next.

So what does this message mean, how can you resolve the situation, and how long will this delay the delivery of your package?

In this article, I’ll be answering all of these questions and more!

What Does It Mean When FedEx Tracking Says ‘Clearance Instructions From The Importer Are Required?’

Fedex Delivery Vehicle

If FedEx is telling you that clearance instructions from the importer are required, this means that the package is currently being held at customs in the country it is being imported to – usually your country.

This can be caused by missing information, incomplete paperwork, or errors on the customs documents on behalf of the shipper.

Unfortunately, until the issue is resolved, the package will be unable to clear customs. This means that the delivery cannot continue until the necessary steps are taken by the shipper.

Thankfully, FedEx is usually very specific about what actually needs to be done. This allows the importer to quickly resolve the issue, and get the package moving again.

After all, having the package held at customs is in no one’s best interest!

Sometimes, It’s Not Their Fault!

To make matters even more complicated, sometimes the clearance issues are not even the shipper’s fault!

In fact, the shipper could have done everything right, but if they are sharing a shipping container with someone else who messed up, they will have to wait until its resolved for everyone else’s packages to clear customs.

Alternatively, the shipper could be sending a large batch of the same item at once, but made a mistake with their paperwork.

In this instance, the entire batch will show ‘Clearance instructions for the importer are required’ when tracking it with FedEx, affecting a large number of customers at once.

According to a thread on Reddit, this once happened with 3,127 different Motorola phone orders!

So, while this issue is rare, it can occur at a large scale in certain circumstances.

Next Step: Contact The Shipper

If FedEx is telling you that clearance instructions are required, it may be a good idea to contact the person or company that are shipping the package to you.

While FedEx may try to contact them themselves, it’s a good idea to be ahead of things, and get in touch with them as soon as you can.

Ultimately, they are the only ones that can fix it, and provide the updated information necessary for the package to clear customs.

That being said, most online sellers do not pay attention to every shipment that they send out. So, unless someone reaches out to them, they may never notice that the package was not delivered.

In order to ensure that you receive your package as quickly as possible, make sure to contact the customer service department of the place that you ordered from, and let them know exactly what’s going on.

If the person or company that shipped you your package is inexperienced with international shipping, it may be a good idea to have them get in touch with FedEx’s clearance specialists, at 1-800-463-3339.

If you’d like, you can also contact FedEx’s customer support using the same number. While they will not be able to fix the issue for you, they may be able to provide additional insight as to what’s going on.

So, How Long Will The Delay Take?

Now the important question – how long will the delay take?

Unfortunately, it depends entirely on how quickly the shipper is able to get the issue resolved with customs. And to make matters worse, issues dealing with customs typically take longer than other FedEx delays, such as operational delays, or local delivery restrictions.

If you’re lucky, the delay will only add an additional 1-2 days to your package’s total transit time.

However, since the paperwork will need to be fixed, and processed a second time by customs, it’s possible that your package could be delayed a week or longer, depending on how quickly the importer is able to resolve the issue.

The best thing that you can do is to regularly check your FedEx tracking page, and pay attention to any updates.

Once the product has cleared customs, you should see this reflected on the tracking page. Additionally, you’ll usually be provided with a new estimated delivery date as well. 


If you see ‘Clearance instructions from the importer are required’ on your FedEx tracking page, this means that something is preventing the shipment from clearing customs.

In order for the issue to be resolved, the shipper will need to provide updated information / documentation to FedEx, so the paperwork can be processed again a second time. Therefore, it’s a good idea to contact the shipper as soon as possible to alert them of the problem.

I hope that this article has answered all of your questions, and your delay won’t be significant.

If you have any other questions about FedEx, ask them below and I’ll be happy to help.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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