Importing into the U.S.A.

When importing goods into the United States a customs entry is required in order for goods to be released for delivery. The importer or their licensed customs broker will file the entry with U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection that gives them detailed information about the goods that are being imported. It is the importer’s responsibility, with the help of their Customs Broker to ensure that their freight is classified correctly.

There are certain types of shipments that are regulated by other agencies other than the Customs and Border Patrol. For example, Foodstuffs will need entry and release from the FDA to obtain a customs clearance with additional date being required for release. It is always best to have a licensed customs broker handle special needs shipments to ensure the smoothest transaction possible.


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Once an entry is filed and Duty and User Fees (taxes) have determined, freight will either be released for delivery or inspected. Most of the time freight is released without inspection, but an inspection by CBP is always possible and can happen at any time. Upon inspection the importer is responsible for Examination Fees and any storage fees that incur while waiting for the inspection to take place. It is always a good idea to have a customs broker working with CBP during an inspection. The inspection will help CBP determine the following about your freight:

  • Goods are marked with the proper country of origin
  • Quantity of cargo is as declared
  • Value of goods has been declared correctly
  • Freight has been classified properly
  • No illegal contraband is imported

Fines could occur if the importer is not declaring their imported freight properly.

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