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Importing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

importing personal protective equipment
Keeping up with the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) relies on the importing process. Whether it’s gloves, masks or other items, we’ve outlined the process required to clear customs.
March 27, 2020
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Last Modified: January 16, 2024

These are trying times in the medical field when it comes to stopping the spread of germs and disease. To combat the battle of germs during times of illnesses, viruses and pandemics, the importance of importing personal protective equipment, also known as PPE, has never been higher. 

During critical medical emergency needs in the U.S. and around the world, the demand for importing personal protective equipment spikes. It’s absolutely critical that you have experts in both the supply chain and importing worlds to help you move your PPE needs quickly and safely. You must follow all rules and regulations. That’s where the customs experts at

USA Customs Clearance, powered by AFC International, can help with their import consulting services. We have the tools and expertise needed to handle your PPE needs during trying medical times. 

30 Minute Licensed Expert Consulting Will Personally Guide You
Need Help Importing PPE?

Our experts have the knowledge and expertise to help you safely import PPE into the U.S.

Schedule a consulting session with our PPE importing experts to get started.

Contact our Licensed Expert Consultant >

What is Personal Protective Equipment? 

Known as PPE, personal protective equipment is various types of equipment needed in the medical field to keep doctors, nurses and other medical professionals safe in hospitals, out in field hospitals and everywhere medical practices are being performed safely. 

PPE is meant to protect many parts of the human body, including: 

  • Head
  • Eyes
  • Head
  • Face
  • Ears
  • Feet

While certianly not classified as PPE, toilet paper became a scarce item along with PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers bought in bulk out of fear that supply would be nonexistent for an extended period of time. To learn about importing this surprisingly scarce item, check out our article on importing toilet paper to the U.S.

What are the Types of PPE Equipment?

what are the types of ppe equipment

Anything that a medical professional uses to cover themselves with for disease control and prevention is known as PPE. It’s used to prevent exposure and act as a barrier to spreading germs that are airborne in the form of droplets and other forms. 

Different types include:

Face shields

Cover the face from germs in the form of droplets and act as respiratory protection. 


Cover the hands and skin from contact and droplet exposure. They are the most highly used form of PPE. 

Goggles and Glasses

Protect the eyes from infectious droplets and agents. 


Protect clothes and skin from droplets and infection agents. 

Head covers

Protect germs from spreading in the head and hair follicles. 

Respirators and N95 Masks

Protect germs from entering the mouth.

Shoe covers

Protects your sneakers and feet from spills and airborne diseases.

When Should We Use Level C Personal Protection Equipment? 

Level C Protection is required for medical professionals when there are types of airborne substances in the air that can contaminate and infect a medical professional if not covered properly. 

Level C includes the use of the following proper PPE equipment: 

  • Hat covers
  • Masks
  • Shoe covers
  • Gloves
  • Respirators 
  • Safety glasses

The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment in the Medical Field

the importance of personal protective equipment in the medical field

Personal protective equipment is vitally important to both the safety and wellbeing of both the patients and medical professionals? Why? It stops the spread of germs from transferring. The barrier created by PPE equipment acts as a germ shield when used properly and reduces the chances of being exposed or touching germs. 

All doctors, nurses, medical staff, patients and visitors need to use PPE when required, especially when there is a chance of coming into contact with blood or body fluids. 

What are the Importing Requirements for Personal Protection Equipment?

You must comply with all U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) requirements when importing personal protection equipment. All FDA requirements vary depending on the type of PPE you are importing. You must comply with premarket clearance and other importing requirements as well. 

All PPE, whether it’s goggles, masks, gowns or other types, must also have clear FDA marketing authorization, also known as “FDA-cleared” notification or be classified as a 510 (k) exempt Class 1 device. 

The federal government, under the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), monitors all types of PPE equipment under the General Requirements of Section 1910.132.

30 Minute Licensed Expert Consulting Will Personally Guide You
Need Help Importing PPE?

Work with a specialist to make importing and exporting to the USA a hassle-free process.

Get the details you need with our import consulting services.

Contact our Licensed Expert Consultant >

Do I Need Consulting Services for Personal Protection Equipment Importation?

It’s imperative that you receive specific customs and importing instructions from a customs bond professional to help you through such stringent guidelines. With so many different types of PPE equipment available, it’s easy to have requirements for each individual piece of equipment fall through the cracks.

Trust a licensed customs professional to guide you through the rules and regulations of each piece of PPE equipment for you so you know all the importing paperwork has been completed the right way the first time. Peace of mind when importing PPE equipment from China and around the world is extremely important. 

We can answer all of your questions for you and also make sure you cross your t’s, dot your i’s and have the following required import paperwork with you:

  • Bill of Lading that lists all your goods and acts as a receipt
  • Arrival Notice that gives all the details needed when your PPE imports arrive
  • Packing List that has all your shipment detail needs
  • Commercial Invoice, which includes your all-important purchase price and customs clearance process outline

Failing to adhere to all of the strict requirements for importing PPE can have signicant consequences. On June 1st, the CBP reported the seizure of nearly 1 million products related to the global pandemic. Many of these products were seized due to not having the proper approval.

Working with a certified customs broker like USA Customs Clearance will ensure the PPE you’re importing meets the necessary requirements.

How Important is a Customs Bond During PPE Equipment Importing? 

The Customs Bond and Protection Agency (CBP) mandates that you have a customs bond for all PPE equipment when importing goods that have a total value of $2,500 or more or when other government agencies around the globe are inspecting your PPE imports. 

Trust that your customs bond acts as piece of mind insurance in the event something goes wrong. The customs bond is assurance from all parties involved that your fees and duty taxes will be paid in full and your imports reach their destination securely. 

Connect with an Expert Today to Handle Your Personal Protective Equipment Needs

It’s easy to see how complicated the long list of PPE equipment is, let alone how the maze of importing requirements and paperwork needed for each piece of the protection puzzle can slow you down.

In importing cases such as this, it’s important to trust the professionals at USA Customs Clearance, powered by AFC International, to handle all your personal protective equipment importing needs. We also handle importing surgical gloves, importing ventilators, face masks and isopropyl alcohol. Helping people importing from China is a big part of what we do.

We offer both customized customs consulting services to help you import your valuable goods. PPE equipment that is safe for patients and medical professionals has never been more important in the United States as it is today. Trust the experts to handle these PPE imports for you today by calling  855-912-0406 and receive a bond quote and make a consulting session appointment today. 

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7 comments on “Importing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)”

  1. Hello Sales,

    Our company would like to purchase the below items. Kindly get back to us with a quote.

    3M 1100 Foam Uncorded Earplugs NRR29 – 200 Pairs

    3M 6001 Organic Vapor Performance Cartridge

    3M Particulate Respirator 8577, N95, with Nuisance

    Victor Journeyman Edge 2.0 540/510, Plus Outfit – 0384-2101
    Qty: 10Pcs

    This will enable us to submit a purchase order upon approval our mode
    of payment is Net 30 terms.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you
    Cameron peel
    7301 Pinemont Dr,
    Houston, Texas 77040
    Phone: (713) 675-5026

  2. Hi,
    I want to export PPE kits, sanitizers, surgical masks and N95 masks. Can you please let me know the guidelines and requirements to meet to export these products to USA.

    1. Hi Bhargavi,

      Imports of these products are currently under more scrutiny by CBP than usual due to the global supply and demand situation. The requirements will vary for each product and will ultimately come down to whether they’re intended for medical or non-medical use.

      We’ve responded privately with additional information that will assist you.

  3. Hello,

    My name is Steve and our group would like to import FDA certified 1) PPE and durable Medical equipment form South East Asia and some China suppliers to the USA. Please what import licenses we have to comply with and approximate cost .

    1. Hi Steve,

      First and foremost, you’ll need to have a customs bond to cover your shipment. If your products have already been certified by the FDA, that will save you quite a bit of time. You’ll still need to provide a pre-arrival notice to CBP and the FDA, as well as follow some additional requirements.

      We’ve responded privately with all of the information that you’ll need.

  4. I am in US and looking for importing PPE (masks, gowns, shoe cover etc) from South Korea, India and China. What process should I follow in US to get the customs clearance? Are there any product specifications that should meet to get FDA approval?

    1. Hi Kumar,

      We’ve replied privately with the information you’re looking for. We look forward to assisting you further!

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