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Single Entry Bond: What You Need to Know

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Take the guess work out of securing a customs bond when importing goods. All the information you need to compare single entry versus continuous bonds is included and how it all works.
USA Customs Clearance
May 29, 2020
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Last Modified: December 2, 2022

Importing goods on any scale can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to figuring out what type of bond to secure for a shipment. For one-time imports, importers could use a single entry bond to get their goods through the border without much hassle or cost, but there are situations in which a single entry bond wouldn’t work. There’s a lot to consider in the world of importing, but finding the right customs bond for your company is a large part of the issue. 

Trying to figure out what type of bond is best for a shipment can be confusing, especially if you don’t understand how customs bonds work. A single entry bond is the simpler of the two options since it is intended to cover one shipment of goods into the U.S. However, a licensed customs broker can make it easier to get a continuous bond, and can help you manage multiple imports. 

If you’re unsure if a single entry bond is right for you, the experts at USA Customs Clearance are here to help. Our team of import customs experts and Licensed Customs Brokers can guide you to the right decision based on your needs. Utilize our customs consulting services to get the information you need and have all of your questions answered. 

United States Customs Import Bonds

United States Customs Import Bonds

It’s important to understand the intent of a bond, how it works and the various types. A bond in basic terms is an insurance policy the importer provides to ensure that the customs fees and other taxes are paid. All commercial goods entering the country valued at over $2,500 must have a U.S. Customs Bond.

Can an Importer Decide Not to Have U.S. Customs Bonds?

No. It is not optional to secure U.S. Customs Bonds when importing goods. A U.S. customs bond is required.

Who Needs a Bond?

Importers, International carriers, warehouse operators, and secure area operators must all obtain an import bond.

What are the Required Documents to Obtain a U.S. Customs Bond?

Documents to obtain a customs bond include a commercial invoice, a packing list, a bill of lading, and an arrival notice from the U.S. agent.

For more information on the different types of bonds, check out our article, “The Complete Guide to Types of U.S. Customs Bonds.”

What is a Single Entry Bond?

What is a Single Entry Bond

A Single Entry Bond means just that; a one-time entry of a shipment through a designated US port. Once a single entry bond has been acquired, the goods have to move through the port of entry that has been decided upon. Importers cannot choose to change up how or where their shipment comes in after it is put in writing. 

A single entry bond type is a good fit for importers with occasional shipments, usually less than four times a year. A single entry bond is sufficient for importers of goods with a low-cost value since higher-cost shipments will usually require a continuous bond. 

A Continuous Bond is as its name suggests, a bond that covers shipments on a continuous or ongoing basis. An importer using an international carrier to transport products can secure a continuous bond that allows shipments to arrive through any US port for a year. A continuous import bond is highly effective since it allows for a large number of entries to different entry ports throughout the U.S. during the course of a full year. Imported items of high value are covered by this bond type, as well as shipments with a larger quantity of goods. 

Not sure how to get a customs bond? Check out our article Customs Bond Instructions for Importing.

Go ahead and buy a customs bond today

and get your freight on the way around the globe.

Single Entry Bond Versus Continuous Bond: What Works for Your Shipment

To better illustrate the different situations in which each bond type would be most useful, take a look at these examples. 

If you are set to import shipments of lawn equipment ahead of the busy spring gardening season, then a continuous bond would likely be your best option. This way, the numerous shipments you would need to make would be covered under the same bond, thus saving money in the long run. Similarly, seasonal merchandise being imported will fall in this category of multiple shipments to various points of entry.

In contrast, a small boutique may schedule to receive a couple of boxes of handbags. So long as the commercial value of the handbags is $2,500 or more, the importer needs a bond. However, a small boutique is not likely to ask for multiple shipments of handbags. A single entry bond will cover their needs and be the most cost-effective option.

In another scenario, maybe you normally source parts from a domestic manufacturing plant, but they weren’t able to provide you all the parts you needed, then you could choose to have those missing parts imported from a manufacturing plant overseas. The problems the domestic plant is experiencing won’t last forever, but you need to get more parts just once until they can continue normal operations. In this case, you would use a single entry bond since you don’t normally need to import these parts, and likely won’t import more than once. 

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection provides a few useful tips for those who are new to importing or exporting goods. The CBP suggests being familiar with customs clearance policies and other requirements specific to the commodity you plan to import. If you aren’t sure where to get started, signing up for a consulting session or speaking with a Licensed Customs Broker can help you understand the process better and get you started down the path of importing. 

In 2016 the CBP reports the agency processed $2.28 trillion in imports representing 32.6 million entries into the U.S. via in excess of 27 million cargo containers.

Work With Customs Brokers

A customs broker works with you to ensure the bond on file is correct and the shipment clears U.S. customs without incident. Basically, licensed customs brokers work on your behalf to handle all the behind-the-scenes work related to a bond. Customs bond agents handle everything from importing coffee to importing fireworks, and they can handle your imports too. 

At USA Customs Clearance, we ensure that everything is taken care of when you import your goods. We’ll make sure that your shipments don’t encounter holds or delays each and every time. 

It’s a seamless process to obtain a customs bond. Give us a call at 855-912-0406 to learn more about custom bonds and which one will best fit your needs. 

Go ahead and buy a customs bond today

and get your freight on the way around the globe.
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6 comments on “Single Entry Bond: What You Need to Know”

  1. I have two (electric) race cars that are in the USA (exported from UK last year for some races) under ATA Carnet. They now want to stay in the US for an additional 12 months for next season so I've been told we can convert the Carnet entry to a TIB for this purpose. Would SEB be applicable or is this different to a TIB? Value of goods approx $880K.

  2. if your goods are not valued less than 2500 dollars and not imported for sale or sale on approval, without payment of duty with the intent to export or destroy the goods within a certain period of time not to exceed three years from the date of importation you are better suited for a Temporary Importation under Bond

  3. Hi, I have a shipment going into the US from Canada and then our courier will bring back the shipment when the rework is complete. We do not have a Broker to clear this shipment when it arrives at US customs at this time. Can we require to use an SEB so that the shipment will not be delayed at customs?

    1. I think your better option would be a temporary import under bond if your goods are not imported for sale or sale on approval, without payment of duty with the intent to export or destroy the goods within a certain period of time not to exceed three years from the date of importation.

    1. Hi Ada,

      We can absolutely help you with this! One of our customs experts will reach out to you shortly. We look forward to assisting you!

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