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Foreign Importer of Record: What You Need to Know

Foreign Importer of Record
Interested in becoming a foreign importer of record may simplify things for customers or a third party, but what’s all involved? We explain the process and outline what steps to take.
USA Customs Clearance
September 2, 2020
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Last Modified: December 2, 2022

Importing into the U.S. as a foreign importer of record is a necessity for some companies. In many cases, this method is used to make it easier for buyers in the U.S. to purchase your products. But how exactly does a business register and act as a foreign importer of record?

To become a foreign importer of record in the U.S., your business will need a Customs Assigned Importer Number. Imports into the U.S. will also need to be covered by a customs bond. A Licensed Customs Broker can assist importers with obtaining a customs bond and an importer number. 

USA Customs Clearance, powered by AFC International, can handle the entire process of registering as a foreign importer of record. Additionally, we provide other customs brokerage services designed to ensure a smooth, hassle-free customs clearance process for you. 

To learn more about becoming a foreign importer of record in the U.S., read through our detailed guide below.

Become a Foreign Importer of Record
Official Importer of Record Registration with CBP
Available 1-on-1 support from our Customs Experts in completing required paperwork
Completed documents are filed directly to CBP by our Licensed Customs Brokers
*Registration is complete within 24 hours after all necessary forms are complete.
Importer of Record Registration

Who Can Act As Importer Of Record?

Who Can Act As Importer Of Record

When it comes to serving as the Importer of Record (IOR), there are a few different entities that can fill this role.

  • U.S.-based company with a tax ID Number
  • U.S. citizen with a social security number
  • Licensed U.S. Customs Broker
  • Freight forwarder
  • Foreign company with a customs assigned importer number 

The duties and responsibilities for an importer of record are the same regardless of individual or company. The IOR must ensure their imports are compliant with CBP and other government agency regulations. Additionally, the importer of record is also responsible for paying all import duties and fees. 

Becoming a Non Resident Importer of Record in the U.S.

The steps that need to be taken in order to become a foreign importer of record are ultimately not too complex. However, missing any of the steps or submitting information incorrectly can lead to delays or denial of an importer number.

To become a non-resident importer/foreign importer of record in the USA, the following is required:

  1. A copy of your companies Certificate of Incorporation
  2. Copies of identification of two authorized officers of your company
  3. Complete and submit CBP Form 5106

If you’re working with a customs broker to complete the application and submission process, you’ll also need the following:

  1. A completed customs Power of Attorney (POA)
  2. A document confirming the authority of the authorized representatives of your company.

CBP typically processes and approves new Importer of Record submissions in just 2 business days. 

It’s important to note that just because you have the option to be an importer of record doesn’t mean you always will be. The specific Incoterms of the shipment will determine which party is the importer of record. To learn more, check out our article What Are Incoterms?

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Why Become a Foreign Importer of Record?

If you’re unsure as to whether becoming a non-resident importer is worthwhile, it’s important to understand the reasons for doing so. 

1. Improved Relationships Between Buyer and Supplier

When you act as a foreign importer of record, you make it possible to alleviate some of the importing frustration that buyers often deal with. As the officially recognized importer, you handle the entire customs clearance process including paying duties, ensuring compliance, and more. Often, this encourages buyers to work with you more often over competitors.

2. Negotiation Tool

Speaking of competition, being a non-resident importer can be a tremendous competitive advantage. If all other details are equal and your competitor can’t serve as an importer of record, but you can, you have a better chance of earning their business. Why is this? When you can serve as the importer of record, you give a valuable option to buyers. You can handle the heavy lifting when it comes to customs clearance, so that they don’t have to. This tool can be especially valuable when working with new buyers that are unfamiliar with the import process.

3. Reduced Customs Issues

Taking control of the import process allows foreign companies to ensure the import process isn’t halted or slowed down. Domestic importers and buyers can sometimes make mistakes during importing that can cause bottlenecks in product distribution. Acting as a nonresident importer gives you control over the importing journey and reduces the chances that these mistakes will occur.  

Working With A Customs Broker

Working With A Customs Broker

As mentioned earlier, you can use a customs broker to get established as a Foreign Importer of Record. This will make things much easier for a few reasons. First off, your customs broker will be able to secure a customs bond for you, which is one of two upfront requirements to even begin the process of being able to start importing goods.

The other item necessary — the aforementioned Customs Assigned Number — can also be applied for by a customs broker for you. When importing goods from outside the country, the CBP mandates certain documents in order to be cleared.

Lastly, one of the other very important aspects a customs broker can assist with is the actual clearance of the imported goods through customs. The customs clearance process involves many specific aspects including ISF Filing, duty drawback, government agency compliance, and much more.

By employing a customs broker, you’re gaining access to a customs expert. Just as you’re an expert in your business, customs brokers are experts in importing. Their knowledge and experience is extremely useful when it comes to ensuring goods are imported securely without any issues.

Import Goods Into the U.S. With USA Customs Clearance

Now that you know how to become a Foreign Importer of Record, let USA Customs Clearance become your partner for importing into the U.S.

We’ll provide you with all of the tools and resources to take your global business to the next level. From becoming a non-resident importer to clearing customs and transporting your products, we do it all. Our team of experts craft an individualized plan based on your needs to ensure you achieve success. No matter what level of service you need, we’re here to serve you.

Purchase your continuous customs bond or import consulting session today to get your import journey started.

Want to learn more? Call us today at 855.912.0406 to speak to our experts and find out more about how we can help you.

Become a Foreign Importer of Record
Official Importer of Record Registration with CBP
Available 1-on-1 support from our Customs Experts in completing required paperwork
Completed documents are filed directly to CBP by our Licensed Customs Brokers
*Registration is complete within 24 hours after all necessary forms are complete
Importer of Record Registration
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