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How to Get A Customs Bond: A Guide for New Importers

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If you're a new importer, it's critical that you know how to get a customs bond. Learn more about how to get one and how a licensed customs broker can help simplify the process.
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USA Customs Clearance
February 22, 2022
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Last Modified: September 9, 2022

You have a killer product to import from outside the U.S., a supplier lined up and companies that want to purchase those goods from you. But then you find out you need something called a customs bond in order to legally complete this transaction. So not only do you need to figure out what a customs bond is but also how to get a customs bond. 

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), importers wondering how to get a customs bond can obtain one from a surety licensed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. It generally takes between 2-5 days to secure a bond. A Licensed Customs Broker can help obtain a customs bond for you on your behalf.

Read on to learn more about how to get a customs bond and how a customs broker can help simplify the process.

How Do I Get A Customs Bond?

How to get a Customs Bond - A plane flies over a stack of shipping containers

Knowing what a customs bond is and why you need one is a great first step in the importing process. However, it might not be obvious to you where you’re supposed to purchase this bond from. There are essentially two options you can choose when purchasing a customs bond.

The first is to purchase the bond directly from a surety company that is licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department. This should be preferred if you’re doing all the importing work yourself. 

The other option is to use the help of a Licensed Customs Broker. The beauty of this option is that a customs broker can fill out all the paperwork on your behalf and will often work to get you approved within days of the application being filed.

Additionally, a customs broker can ensure that your bond auto-renews correctly each year. If you get the customs bond yourself, you will be on the hook each year for renewing your bond. In contrast, a customs broker will renew the bond for you in a timely manner so that you can seamlessly maintain your importing operations. 

Need Help Securing a Customs Bond?

Our Licensed Customs Brokers are here to help. Get same-day approval when you submit your application

How Long Does it Take to Get a Customs Bond?

In order to secure a customs bond, you (or your customs broker) will have to fill out the proper paperwork and submit it to CBP. Once the paperwork is filed, it typically takes between 2 and 5 days to receive approval. 

With the help of our team of customs brokers, we can offer importers same-day approval once the application paperwork has been completed.

Do I Need a Single Entry or Continuous Bond?

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Now that the “how” of procuring a customs bond has been established, it’s time to look at which one will work for your importation purposes. There are two types of customs bonds to choose from and the main difference is the duration each lasts.

  1. The first type is a single entry bond. This bond lives up to its name by being valid for one transaction of imported goods into the U.S. 
  2. The second type is a continuous bond. This is a bond that covers as many imports as you need shipped to America over a 12-month period.

While the duration is the main discernment between the two, there are still some other differing factors that will guide you on which one to ultimately pick. 

For instance, with a single entry bond, you must designate a U.S. port of entry ahead of time and you’re absolutely restricted from making a change once the paperwork has been filed. On the other hand, a continuous bond allows you to import your goods through any U.S. port of entry during the 12-month period.

Also, the expected value of your shipment will dictate which to buy. A continuous bond is required for high-value and volume imports, even if you plan on only shipping once. A single entry is made for low-value and low-volume imports.

Based on these contrasting requirements, your circumstances will typically indicate which purchase you should make. In other scenarios, however, you may have a legitimate choice to make. If you work with a customs broker, they can work with you to provide guidance for your business on which bond to obtain.    

Not sure why you need a customs bond? We can help. Check out our article Why is a Customs Bond Needed?

Why Get A Customs Bond Through A Customs Broker?

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The last section touched on how using a customs broker to help procure your customs bond can prove to be advantageous. The integration with all of the customs broker services is certainly nice and can be a huge help - particularly for new importers.

A customs broker can:

  • Provide guidance on which type of customs bond to purchase
  • Fill out the proper paperwork on your behalf
  • Submit the bond application to CBP
  • Ensure proper customs bond renewal
  • And more!

The forms and applications associated with your customs bond application must be filled out with 100 percent accuracy. This is even more important if you’re a first-time importer. Anything falling short of completely accurate information could result in your importing business suffering delays or outright rejection in getting your customs bond.

An experienced customs broker has helped facilitate the purchase of many customs bonds. They can assist you in determining whether a single or continuous customs bond is best for your goals and help you obtain one. 

While this is a general example and will vary on your individual importing needs, if you’re planning on just a few imports a year, it might be better to buy single customs bonds. But if you’re planning on a steady stream of goods crossing into the United States, perhaps a continuous bond would be best for you.  

Get A Customs Bond Through USA Customs Clearance

Now that you know how to get a customs bond, reach out to USA Customs Clearance, powered by AFC International, for all of your customs brokerage service needs. Not only can we assist you in procuring a customs bond for your imports, we can help take care of the entire list of importation steps alongside you.

USA Customs Clearance can set you up with a continuous customs bond, even guiding you through the paperwork to snag one. If you’re already in the process of getting a customs bond, we can also act as your Licensed Customs Broker. This will ensure that anything you’re importing has the correct paperwork filled out and filed properly. It doesn’t have to stop there, as USA Customs Clearance can even dispatch an agent to be at the port of entry to accept import of your goods.

While that makes up the bulk of what’s needed for importing, USA Customs Clearance can also assist you via 1-on-1 import consulting sessions. During these sessions, you’ll receive personalized, uninterrupted time where you can ask one of our licensed customs brokers anything regarding clearing U.S. customs. We also offer new importer bundles!

Contact us and get the help you need on how to get a customs bond today.

Need Help Securing a Customs Bond?

Our Licensed Customs Brokers are here to help. Get same-day approval when you submit your application

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