Customs Clearance

Reminder to Campus:

If you do not provide a purchase order to Expeditors, the invoice will be sent to your department for processing. The UW is contractually obligated to pay invoices Net 30 days from receipt. Failure to pay invoices promptly may result in the UW being put on credit hold.

Customs Brokerage and Freight Forwarding

The University of Washington has a contract with Expeditors International for customs brokerage and freight forwarding services.  Expeditors is a compliance-driven organization and is in position to understand and address the intricacies of trade regulations and agreements at the global, regional, national and local levels.  By utilizing Expeditors for customs clearance, you can closely manage your international shipping needs and:

  • Meet the requirements of the ever-changing regulatory environment.
  • File your import, export and security declarations electronically.
  • Enhance existing customs compliance programs, such as free trade zones, special regimes, border crossing and trade preferences.
  • Minimize risk and future potential costs of non-compliance.


As of March 18, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is deploying new validations around postal codes of imports of Chinese goods in an effort to combat forced labor. The entry documents must include the manufacturers’ postal code.  The most effective way to provide this information is if your suppliers include the manufacturers’ postal codes on their documents. Customs is specifically targeting the postal code that is being filed as the ‘Manufacturer/Supplier’ in the cargo release filing. This party should not be confused with the Manufacturer ID (MID) – which is filed on the entry summary filing and is not highly impacted by this change. If a postal code is not provided in this data field when the entry is filed, the filer will receive a reject message and the cargo release data will not go on file with CBP. If a postal code is submitted within the postal code range of XUAR, the filer will receive a warning message stating: UFLPA FLAG XUAR POSTAL CODE. The filer is then responsible for notifying the importer of the rebuttable presumption established in the Uygur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA).

Expeditors Contacts


Brendan Cox, Customer Service Representative, Customs Brokerage, Office 206-826-4100, Email


Jameson Wenner, Air Export Manager,
John Williams, Air Export Supervisor,
Donald Gacilo, Air Export Agent,

Basics of Importing and Exporting


Best Practice: Purchasing from foreign suppliers:

For all foreign purchases, departments should be aware that any item coming into the US may require customs clearance. Therefore, departments should create two purchase orders;

1) A purchase order for the supplier of the goods and..
2) A second purchase order for Expeditors covering the customs clearance charges

It is recommended that you contact Expeditors in advance to notify them of a shipment requiring customs clearance. However, in the event that Expeditors does not have a purchase order to invoice for customs clearance, they will contact you requesting the a purchase order number before releasing the shipment.   
When placing a foreign purchase order, it is recommended you provide the Customs and Freight Forwarding Information sheet to the Shipper notifying them the University's preferred customs broker is Expeditors

Goods/Materials purchased from a foreign supplier without an Expeditors purchase order

Please follow the following steps when purchasing without a purchase order.


  1. Notify the shipping company that the UW uses Expeditors for customs clearance.
  2. Contact Expeditors to give them information about the purchase.
  3. ​​​​​Provide correct billing address, department contact with phone number and email address.
  4. Create a purchase order, or use a Supplier Invoice Request in Workday to process the Expeditors invoice.  


Note - Expeditors may contact the recipient of the goods for additional information for invoicing and filing proper shipping documents on behalf of UW.  It is imperative to share this process with the recipient (i.e. research technician, scientist etc.).

How are invoices paid?

  • Expeditors will contact the department requesting the a purchase order number.
  • Once the purchase order number is received, Expeditors will email the invoice to UW for payment.
  • If Expeditors emails the invoice to the department, the department can create a Supplier Invoice in Workday (similar to non-po invoice)
  • Invoices received without a purchase order number, will be returned to either the department or the supplier depending on the information in the invoice.  


If you don’t preplan or notify Expeditors at the time you’re placing order, who will clear your items? 

Although the best practice is to notify Expeditors as soon as you purchase your goods from a foreign supplier, U.S. Customs and the Port of Seattle are aware that the UW has a contract with Expeditors International of Washington and will generally notify Expeditors if something comes in for the UW and requires Customs Clearance. Expeditors will then contact the recipient of the goods for additional information on billing and shipping documents. Failure to provide Expeditors with the necessary shipping information may results in U.S. Customs assessing fines against your department.