Know What You Need to Clear Customs

A crucial stage of the import process of goods into the United States is clearing the shipment through Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon arrival at the port of entry.

It is the importer’s responsibility to obtain and submit the necessary documentation for customs clearance. Knowing what is required ahead of time can help business owners avoid delays, fines, and pay unnecessary fees. A Customs Broker can review beforehand all your information and import shipment documentation to ensure the customs entry will be submitted correctly.

Importing Goods into the U.S.

When a shipment arrives at the port of entry in the United States, a customs entry must be filed. This can be done either directly by the importer of record or through a licensed Customs Broker acting on behalf of the importer. The goods being imported will not be ready for use or consumption until CBP has approved and released the cargo, and all applicable duties and government fees have been paid, if any.

Gathering the required documentation for CBP can be overwhelming and making sure of their accuracy and compliance requires knowledge and expertise in customs matters. A Customs Broker can represent you and act on your behalf.

Documentation and other requirements for a Customs Entry

If a customs broker will be representing the importer then a power of attorney must be executed on behalf of the customs broker. These are the minimum required documents to file a customs entry:

  • Bill of lading or airway bill
  • Commercial invoice
  • Certificate of origin (if claiming duties or quota exemption under a particular trade agreement)

Other requirements:

  • Customs Bond: In order to ensure that the revenue is adequately protected, CBP requires that importers must post a customs bond. There are two types of bonds: single and continuous. A single bond is suitable for one entry and is often only suggested for importers that import products sporadically. A continuous bond is ideal for importers who import products frequently.
  • Importer Security Filing (ISF): The ISF is required by US Customs on shipments coming into the US by sea and must be transmitted electronically to the agency by the importer or its agent (a licensed customs broker) at least 24 hours before the cargo is loaded on the vessel at the last foreign port. This document provides CBP information of the cargo before it departs the port of origin. Failure to comply with ISF filing may result in penalties to the importer.
  • Government Certifications. Additional permits and certifications may be required for customs clearance if you are importing goods that must be cleared or are regulated by a partner government agency, such as the FDA, DOT, FTC, among others.

Ask the Experts

Importers are frequently concerned about getting goods into the United States as quickly as possible for distribution and use at their factories, stores, clients, etc. Promptus is a licensed C-TPAT certified customs broker in the United States with over 15 years of experience in the field. Our team is dedicated, professional, and knowledgeable, and they will work directly with you to ensure a smooth Customs experience and successful clearance of your goods upon arrival to the United States. Contact us today at 305-687-1405.