What are the U.S. customs import regulations?

No matter the size of your U.S. import business or whether you’re contemplating foraging into the complex world, your first port of call is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The CBP is the Department of Homeland Security’s border protection agency charged with managing, controlling, and protecting U.S. borders at and between official entry ports. Its responsibilities include enforcing hundreds of regulations and enabling lawful trade. Where do you fit in?

Do I need an import permit?

Every import into the U.S. goes through CBP’s inspection, but while some commodities don’t require any import licenses, others may require them.

How are import duties calculated?

Importers need to take obligatory steps of entry, inspection, evaluation, classification, and liquidation to attain clearance. Liquidation is when the CBP officer ascertains the final rate and sum of duties on the goods. Usually, duties are calculated as a percentage of the dutiable value of the imported merchandise. Some items are dutiable at a specific duty rate (i.e., per pound, piece, or kilogram). Others are dutiable at a combined ratio (a compound of typical and percentage rates). Usually, liquidation must occur within a year of the date of entry. After the liquidation notice is posted, an importer has 90 days to dispute the amount.

What are the steps of CBP clearance?

When a shipment arrives in the U.S., the purchaser, owner, or importer of record (a licensed customs broker) must file entry documents for the goods with the port director 5 days before arrival at the port of entry and no later than 15 calendar days from their shipment date. For legal entry, imported merchandise must arrive at the port of entry, the CBP must authorize merchandise delivery, and duties must be paid. The importer is accountable for arranging the ‘ examination of goods to check if packages are safe to cross the border and be released.

What is ISF “10+2”?

You’ve probably heard a lot about Importer Security Filing (ISF or “10+2”). This form applies only to shipments arriving into the U.S. by ocean vessels. Importers have 24 hours before cargo sails from the last port of origin to submit the form electronically to the CBP via its Automated Manifest System (AMS). Carriers must file the AMS arrival notice up to 48 hours before departure from the last port of origin and provide it to the importer if requested. Failure to comply with the rule could result in fiscal penalties, amplified inspections, and cargo delays. If importers miss the 24-hour deadline, they must still file the ISF, or their merchandise will not be released.

What is the Entry Summary or CBP Form 7501?

Another pivotal and renowned form, the Entry Summary, aka CBP form 7501, is one of the most important documents to file with every entry of goods into the U.S. It enables the CBP to determine relevant information regarding the imported commodity, such as to assess duties, collect statistics, determine classification and origin, and to decide whether other legal requirements have been met. Entry 7501 is, in fact, the release process for any shipment, regardless of the shipping method used. The importer has to file Form 7501. Only thereafter will customs sign off on a shipment and release it.

DIY self-entry

If you’re a new business consider using eezyimport’s online customs clearance solution designed for first-timers. Our DIY Broker Entry service has a broker review your entry and ensure you’re aligned with regulations and are ready to file. For more experienced and professional importers, our DIY Self Entry (7501) service enables self-filing of Entry Summary and ISF “10+2”. Both solutions take minutes and offer full visibility and control from any phone, tablet, or desktop, anytime!
Get in touch with eezyimport today, and let’s discuss your success!

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