Smooth and Fast Customs Filing Service

Guide To Import Into US

Before we get into imports, here are a few tips for the exporter (Vendor) to help speed up the Customs Broker's clearance of your goods:

  1. Fill out your customs invoice with all of the essential details — A thorough item description, the number of units/pieces (including units of measure), the value, the place of manufacture, and the HTS classification code are all included.
  2. Make sure the information on the commercial invoice is legible and clear, and that the data in each column is kept separate.
  3. It's a good idea to have a packing list with you.
  4. Put numbers and marks on each package that correspond to the numbers and marks on your invoice. If necessary, this will assist customs officers in identifying specific items in your cargo.
  5. Ensure that the product and paperwork meet the requirements of any partner government agency.
  6. Develop packing specifications for the imported product in collaboration with CBP.
  7. Check to see whether there are any security protocols in place. Allowing smugglers to inject unknown goods into your package is not a good idea.

ISF Entry Import Guide

It is up to you, the consignee, or your chosen customs broker, to submit an entry with the port director at the port of entry as soon as your cargo arrives in the United States. A Customs entry is not complete until the consignment arrives at the port of entry, is permitted by CBP, and all duties and fees are paid in full. If a pre-release inspection is required, the importer of record or their designated customs broker is responsible for arranging it.

NOTE: Importers should contact additional government agencies for specific commodities in addition to a CBP entry. Importers should alert the proper agency if their shipment contains alcohol, tobacco, or wildlife products (such as furs).

The ability to enter

Only the legitimate owner or their chosen Licensed Customs Broker may import goods/products. In the case of an air cargo, the importer of record must be specified on both the bill of sale and the bill of lading or AirWay bill.


What documentation are needed to clear a package through customs? The following are the only documents necessary for entry:

  • If a commercial invoice (bill of sale) cannot be created, a proforma invoice is used instead.
  • If necessary, PGA form (ex: FDA, EPA, etc.)
  • Your freight forwarder or trucking business will provide you with all other papers.

Invoice for services rendered, the following should be included on a commercial invoice:

  • Port of entry into the United States
  • Purchaser, Vendor, and Shipper Contact Information
  • Product description in great detail (including country of manufacture)
  • Each product's component count (quantities & measures)
  • Price per unit and currency
  • All costs associated with the package, including packaging and delivery.
  • Purchased date
  • The invoice must be written in English or have an exact English translation attached.

Surety Bond

All imports must be accompanied by a bond to assure the payment of any applicable tariffs, taxes, or fees. A bond can be bought from a surety firm in the United States or from your chosen Customs Broker. Customs bonds are divided into two categories:

  • The most frequent and cost-effective bond is the Continuous Import Bond, which covers all imports for a year. For more informations about this bond, kindly proceed here for Free Import Consulting.
  • Single Transaction Bond or Single entry bonds are most commonly used when importers expect to receive no more than 5-10 shipments per year, and they cost roughly 5% of the shipment's value.


The United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has the right to examine a customs entry after it has been submitted. These inspections are conducted at random, but if it is your first time importing into the country, your chances of being scrutinized are substantially higher. Your shipment will be released if no legal or regulatory breaches are discovered. Any fees incurred as a result of the inspection are billed directly to the importer of record or through your designated Customs Broker.

Warehouse Entrance

A package may be placed in a CBP bonded facility if the importer of record wishes to differ applicable duties. The items can be kept in the bonded warehouse for up to 5 years from the date of importation, and they can be removed at any time by paying the necessary duty. If the importer wants to manipulate the shipment in any way that isn't manufacturing, he or she can do so under CBP observation. A CBP bonded warehouse cannot keep perishables, explosives, or restricted products.

Goods that haven't been declared

If you or your designated Customs Broker do not present a customs entry at the port of entry within 15 days of arrival, the shipment may be stored in a general warehouse at the importer's expense. They may be sold at public auction or destroyed if entry is not made within 6 months of the date of import.

Entries in the Mail

As a commercial importer, you may discover that using the US Postal Service (USPS) rather than a courier to import items into the United States has some advantages. The following are some of the advantages:

  • Ease of Clearance: The mail carrier collects all duties on shipments under $2,000 USD.
  • Reduced Shipping Costs: Smaller, lower-value packages can typically be sent through the mail for a considerably lower cost.
  • No Formal Entry: For duty-free items worth less than $2,000.00 USD, no formal entry is necessary.
  • Personal Shipments: If the value of a shipment destined for a private individual is less than $2,000 USD, no customs declaration is required.

Please make sure to include the following information when shipping anything via USPS:

  • The commercial invoice and CBP declaration are firmly affixed to the outside package.
  • If the declaration or invoice cannot be firmly affixed to the outside of the package, it must be included in the package and clearly marked "invoice enclosed" on the outside.

Exceptions for informal entries with a value of $2,000:

  • Feather-based products
  • Billfolds
  • Footwear
  • Furry articles
  • Games and toys
  • Items made of leather
  • Others

Entries: Formal vs. Informal

Imports with a total value of more than $2,500.00 USD require a formal entry. An entrance bond is required for a formal entry because it ensures that all necessary duties are paid. Importers who utilize an annual bond rather than a single-entry bond can retrieve their goods before paying their tariffs, taxes, and other expenses (closing of entry). When the total value of items imported is less than $2,500.00 USD and they are usually for personal consumption / use, an informal customs entry is made possible. As There are exceptions to the rule, just as there are to formal entries. When importing textiles, for example, an informal entry can only be utilized for items worth less than $250.00 USD. Inquire with your Customs Broker about how you might take advantage of this.

321st section

Section 321 is a sort of informal entry that permits you or your Customs Broker to discharge items valued at $800.00 USD or less without having to file a customs entry. Shipments discharged under "Section 321" are exempt from both duty and tax. A shipment must not exceed a total value of $800.00 USD to qualify under Section 321, and it must not be one of numerous lots covered by a single order or invoice with a value exceeding $800.00 USD or the equivalent. The shipment must be meant for a single person. Click here for more information about section 321.

In Bond Transportation

Not all imported goods into the United States is processed at the port of entry. The importer or transporter may opt for a separate location where the products must cross the border and continue on into the United States. These products must be transported in “Bonded Status” from the port of arrival to the port of entry in order to do so. Under CBP form 7512, this can only be done by a bonded carrier.

Make an Entry

The owner, purchaser, seller, his/her authorized employee, or a qualified customs broker must account for goods arriving in the United States. CBP officers and staff are not authorized to operate as import agents for imported products, but they are permitted to provide reasonable advice and help. Only licensed US Customs Brokers, not the importer of record, are authorized to act on their behalf. CBP licenses private entities to prepare and file entries, as well as account for, collect, and pay any applicable duties/taxes. A CBP Power of Attorney must be shown when a customs broker makes an entry.

Inspection of products and document verification

The CBP has the legal right to examine and verify any commodities headed for the United States, as well as their supporting paperwork, at any time prior to release. Validation of the following requirements necessitates examination:

  • The worth of goods is used to determine whether or not they are dutiable.
  • Whether or not the goods are properly labeled
  • Is there anything forbidden in the shipment?
  • Whether or not the products have been correctly invoiced
  • Whether the quantities are as stated or if there is a deficiency.
  • Is there any narcotics in the shipment?

The importer of record is responsible for all costs related with the coordination and examination of goods, and commodities might be held for release by the coordinating warehouse without full payment.


A deduction from the gross weight, known as Tare, is made when assessing dutiable amounts based on net weight. Tare is the tolerance for weight loss due to packaging, transport boxes, bags, and other factors.


When it comes to importing into the United States, neat packing and accurate invoicing are essential. If objects subject to multiple rates of duty are so tightly packed together during an inspection that a CBP officer cannot identify the quantity without separating them, the combined items will be subject to the highest rate of duty.

Careful Consideration

The importer is responsible for exercising reasonable caution. The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) publishes a lot of information to aid the import community with reasonable care, and using a certified Customs Broker may almost assure compliance.

Evaluation of Duties

Depending on the HTS classification, all products imported into the United States are subject to duty or tariff-free entry. Duty can be assessed depending on an item's worth, weight, size, or count. Duty Trade agreements, such as NAFTA, can help to eliminate this problem.

Import Duties Decision

Once an entry is liquidated, CBP makes a judgement on the item's dutiable status (after entry documents are filed). By making a request for ruling, an importer/exporter or any other interested party can receive prior information. This can be accomplished by sending pertinent information to:

Attention: Office of Regulations and Rulings, US Customs and Border Protection 20229 Washington, DC
Director, US Customs and Border Protection's National Commodity Specialist Division One Penn Plaza, 11th Floor New York, NY 10119

By submitting to the national commodities expert division, importers can get a binding judgement that will be effective at all ports of entry unless reversed. For a ruling, the following is required:

  • Vendor, purchaser, and manufacturer names, addresses, and other identifying information, as well as the manufacturer ID code
  • Names of ports where the goods can be received
  • A description of the transaction as well as the country from whence it originated.
  • A statement from the importer stating that there are no known difficulties with the product before CBP or any legal system, to their knowledge.
  • Whether or not a CBP officer has ever given categorization advice, and if so, from whom.
  • Detailed product description (can include samples, sketches, etc.)
  • The cost of each component, as well as the quantities of each, is broken down below.
  • Description of the product's major application

TIB Temporary Free Importation

Goods imported into the United States for non-resale may be admitted into the country under bond without paying tariffs for exportation within one year of the date of importation under the Temporary Free Importation (TIB) program. A TIB may be extended for a maximum of three years at a time. Before the bond time expires, products and merchandise entered under a temporary importation bond must be exported, destroyed, or extended. Quotas apply to all products imported under Temporary Free Importation.

Carnet ATA

An ATA carnet is an international customs document that allows a product or shipment to be imported temporarily duty-free. The carnet is valid for one year and serves as a guarantee against duty payment if the goods are not exported. During this time, the Carnet holder is free to make as many trips as they choose with their accompanying goods. In the United States, a Carnet is typically used for the temporary entrance of:

  • Advertising material
  • Professional equipment
  • Samples from the commercial sector

If you want to import in the U.S., feel free to contact us ISF-Entry, especially at any U.S port of entry. You can have us for Free Import Consulting.