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When is a Customs Bond Required for importers?

As an importer you need to make sure your goods arrive safely and on time. Find out if you need a customs bond when importing into the U.S.

A customs surety bond is a contract. This contract guarantees a specific agreement will occur between an importer and Customs for a specific transaction. Customs brokers can work as agents for sureties and sell bonds.

Amount for Customs Bond Required

The U.S. Treasury purchases customs bonds, also known as import bonds, through licensed sureties. Find minimum amounts for certain types of bonds below:

Continuous Customs Bond

A continuous customs bond is 10 percent of taxes, duties, and fees paid out over the course of 12 months. The minimum amount is $50,000. Submit a continuous bond application to the entry office at the port of entry for your goods.

Single Entry Bond

A single entry import bond is typically an amount that is not less than the total entered value for your imports. This amount includes any fees, taxes and duties. The minimum amount for a single transaction bond is $100,000.


Who Needs to Obtain Import Bonds?

There are several different groups that must qualify for an import bond, including the following:


When you are importing merchandise into the United States for commercial purposes valued at more than $2,500, there is a customs bond required for importer transactions.

International Carriers

If you are an international carrier transporting freight via vessel, air or vehicle from a foreign destination or a domestic importer seeking to move imported cargo, obtain an importer bond.

Warehouse Operators

Warehouse or facility operators that that can legally store imported and exported goods must receive a customs bond. Operators apply with port directors to determine the type of warehouse they want and what type of imported goods they want to handle.

Secure Area Operators

Obtain a bond when you are engaging in importing activity in a secure U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) area, such as cartage or in a laboratory as a gauger.


Two Types of Customs Bonds

There are two main customs bond types. Figure out which bond type suits your needs best.

Single Entry Bond Definition

Single entry bonds works best for those that import a single shipment for a specific port of entry. These bonds work well if you only import goods that have a low cost value occasionally. This option is ideal for companies that typically import less than four shipments into the U.S. per year.

Continuous Bond Definition

Continuous bond cover an importer’s shipments with international carriers at all US ports of entry for an entire year. A US customs continuous bond works best for importers and shippers with several entries that utilize many ports of entry annually. These bonds also handle shipments with high value.


Essential Import Documents to File

When you realize there is a customs bond required for your imports, you must prepare the necessary documentation for your imported goods. These documents should include:

  •   A commercial invoice
  •   A packing list
  •   A bill of lading
  •   An arrival notice from the U.S. agent

Obtain Power of Attorney when Utilizing Brokers

Licensed customs brokers will not issue an import bond without you giving them power of attorney to file your imports on your behalf.

Signing a power of attorney allows a customs broker to:

  •   Act as the authorized agent for all exporting activity
  •   Make all import and export transactions
  •   Sign and swear to documents
  •   Perform actions to import goods
  •   Make bill of lading endorsements
  •   Act as a guarantor for any bond required by law

Set Up a Customs Broker Account

Customs brokers will assist you with filing your documents properly and setting up a customs broker account. A general application form includes the following information:

  •   Name of your company and address
  •   Social security number and Federal Tax ID
  •   Company type
  •   Accounts payable contact information
  •   State of incorporation

Complete a General Account Questionnaire

General account questionnaires are necessary and help a customs brokerage services company assist you when there is a customs bond required. This information alerts brokers to:

  •   Ties to vendors or international shippers
  •   Director or officer relationships within companies
  •   Controlling interests in companies

Connect with a Customs Broker Today

You are set up for success now when there is a customs bond required. A licensed customs broker at AFC International can help you submit your import bonds properly and make sure your goods arrive safely.

Utilize the experience and knowledge of a certified customs broker today to help you with all of your importing needs.

USA Customs Clearance
315 NE 14th St #4122
Ocala, FL 34470
(855) 912-0406
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