Know What Is Necessary To Successfully Clear Customs

documents required for us imports

Many businesses rely on goods imported into the US as a revenue source. Successfully clearing shipments through Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is a necessity for importing into the US. It doesn’t matter whether you are a large corporation or a small business owner; the import requirements of the CBP apply to everyone. This means that cargo that crosses the border may sometimes be subject to duties and Customs clearance procedures. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it is – assuming you don’t forget one of the documents and make a mistake that could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

This is where a Customs Broker comes in. While it is the shipper’s responsibility to obtain these documents, a Customs Broker can review and consolidate all of your information to ensure you all necessary documents are properly submitted.

Importing Goods into the U.S.

When a shipment arrives in the US, the importer of record – AKA the shipper or a licensed Customs Broker such as Promptus LLC – must file all required entry documents for the goods at the designated port of entry. Goods will not be considered legally entered into the country until the shipment is physically at the port of entry, the merchandise has been authorized by the CBP, and any applicable duties are paid. The shipper is responsible for ensuring the examination and release of the shipment, which can mean handling and submitting lots of paperwork.

A Customs Broker can act on your behalf by representing you in customs matters including taking steps to release your goods from CBP custody. This can include filing customs entries, arranging payment, interacting with Customs agents, and fulfilling any other arrangements necessary for clearance of your shipment. In order for a Customs Broker to be able to act on the shipper’s behalf, a CBP power of attorney must be made in the name of the broker. This only needs to be done once and will allow the broker the legal ability to act as the agent in charge of handling your customs business.

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Necessary Documentation for Customs Entry

A number of items are required in order to import cargo into the United States. As a shipper, it is important to familiarize yourself with the process, even if you are planning to hire a Customs Broker. To clear customs for any goods arriving at a port of entry in the US, you will need:

  • Proof of IRS. This is typically an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for business entities and a Social Security Number (SSN) for individuals.
  • Customs Bond This is required for all customs entries into the US. Bonds can be obtained in two forms: single and continuous. A single bond is valid for only one entry and is recommended for shippers who don’t import goods on a frequent basis. A continuous bond is ideal for shippers who are constantly importing goods via CBP as it is often the cheapest, most convenient option.
  • Importer Security Filing (ISF). This is only required if you will be shipping via ocean shipment. An ISF needs to be filed at least 2 days before cargo sails from its origin location in order to avoid penalties and fees from CBP.
  • Shipping documents. This may include but is not limited to a commercial invoice, a bill of lading or airway bill, a certificate of origin, and a packing list.
  • Government Certifications. If you are importing goods that need to be cleared or are regulated by a partner government agency, such as the FDA, DOT, FTC, etc., additional permits and certifications may be required for customs clearance.

Trust The Experts

In many cases, shippers and importers are simply trying to get goods into the US for distribution to their storefronts, businesses, and clients – shipping isn’t their forte. At Promptus LLC, we have been dedicated to fulfilling the all global logistic needs, including customs brokerage, freight forwarding, ocean shipping, and more for over 15 years. Our team is committed, professional, and knowledgeable and will work closely with you to ensure smooth Customs interactions and successful clearance of your goods upon entry into the United States. Call us for a quote today!