CLEARANCE, com. law. The name of a certificate given by the collector of a port, in which is stated the master or commander (naming him) of a ship or vessel named and described, bound for a port, named, and having on board goods described, has entered and cleared his ship or vessel according to law.
2. The Act of Congress of 2d March, 1790, section 93, directs, that the master of any vessel bound to a foreign place, shall deliver to the collector of the dis ot from which such vessel shall be about to depart, a manifest of all the cargo on board, and the value thereof, by him subscribed, and shall swear or affirm to the truth thereof; whereupon the collector shall grant a clearance for such vessel and her cargo; but without specifying the particulars thereof in such clearance, unless required by the master so to do. And if any vessel bound to any foreign place shall depart on her voyage to such foreign place, without delivering such a manifest and obtaining a clearance, the master shall forfeit and pay the sum of five hundred dollars for every such offence. Provided, anything to the contrary notwithstanding, the collectors and other officers of the customs shall pay due regard to the inspection laws of the states in which they respectively act, in such manner, that no vessel having on board goods liable to inspection, shall be cleared out, until the master or other person shall have produced such certificate, that all such goods have been duly inspected, as the laws of the respective states do or may require, to be produced to the collector or other officer of the customs. And provided, that receipts for the payment of all legal fees which shall have accrued on any vessel, shall, before any clearance is granted, be produced to the collector or other officer aforesaid .
3. According to Boulay-Paty, Dr. Com. tome 2, p. 19, the clearance is imperiously demanded for the safety of the vessel; for if a vessel should be found without it at sea, it may be legally taken and brought into some port for adjudication, on a charge of priacy. Vide Ship's papers.