Customs Broker FAQ

What is a Customs Broker?

A customs broker is a licensed professional regulated and empowered by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to conduct CBP business on behalf of importers and exporters for their commercial businesses exporting or importing goods into the U.S.A.

When Should I Contact your Customs Broker?

It is recommended to speak to your customs broker from the moment you decide to purchase or import goods to identify duties, additional fees, or special import requirements. If you already purchased goods or your shipment is in transit, contact us before your shipment arrives to avoid possible fines with CBP.

What is a Customs Bond?

The primary purpose of these bonds is to guarantee CBP the payment of import duties and taxes, and to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations governing the entry of merchandise from foreign countries into the United States.

When is a Customs Bond Required?

CBP regulations require a customs bond for commercial imports when goods imported are valued at $2,500 or higher, or if your goods are subject to additional federal agency requirements even if the merchandise being imported is duty-free.

At What Ports are you Able to Clear Shipments?

Tradeworks is a remote location filer which allows us to clear goods at any U.S. Port of Entry.

What What Documentation Do I Need?

  • Importer Security Filing (ISF) – Also known as “10+2” is the first requirement from the U.S. Customs. It documents importing information and details as shipments pass from point to point. 
  • Commercial Invoice – That includes the following information: total value of goods, currency of purchase, country of origin (of manufacture), shipper and consignee full name and address, count and detailed description of the product(s) and the Federal ID for the U.S. consignee.
  • North American Free Trade Certificate (NAFTA) – To benefit from preferential duty rates if applicable.
  • Bill of Lading or Air Waybill – Issued by the ocean carrier or airline indicating Tradeworks Customs Brokers as the notify party. This works as an agreement, receipt, and invoice between the carrier and the shipper.
  • Country of Origin Marking or Certificate – One of the most common issues that will delay an entry is when the goods do not include any marking indicating its origin. Origin does not necessarily mean where you purchased it. Origin should be discussed with your Customs Broker, so you can understand the term as it relates to U.S. Customs. These marking requirements are stated in the CBP regulations. At Tradeworks we can assist you in determining how to handle these regulations.
  • Other Government Agencies –  Certain goods may be subject to approval by other U.S. government agencies prior to entry approval. Some of these agencies are: Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Transportation (DOT), among others. Our customs clearance experts will ensure your shipment complies with any requirements related to these agencies.

How Do I Pay Duties and Taxes?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection accepts Department of Treasury authorized payment methods including credit cards and ACH for the payment of non-commercial entry duties, taxes, fees and other charges at designated CBP border/land locations. Please visit CBP’s for additional information on payments and account settings.

What is the Cost to Use a Customs Broker?

A customs brokerage fee is usually determined by the total value of the shipment being imported. Based on your shipment import volume, a negotiated rate may be agreed between the broker and client.

Are There Any Restrictions on What Items Can Be Imported into the United States?

Yes, there are many regulations governed by all government agencies and enforced by CBP and Homeland Security. Several items can be prohibited from entering the U.S.A. if they do not meet the necessary criteria.

Tradeworks has the partnerships and expertise to handle all your logistics and customs brokerage requirements globally.

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