What You Need to Know
In order to avoid potential problems in the clearance of your merchandise, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly recommends that you familiarize yourself with CBP policies and procedures prior to actually importing/exporting your goods. You should also be aware of any entry requirements specific to the particular commodity you are importing/exporting.
Within 15 calendar days of the date that a shipment arrives at a U.S. port of entry, entry documents must be filed at a location specified by the port director. These documents are:
- Entry Manifest (CBP Form 7533) or Application and Special Permit for Immediate Delivery (CBP Form 3461) or other form of merchandise release required by the port director
- Evidence of right to make entry
- Commercial invoice or a pro forma invoice when the commercial invoice cannot be produced
- Packing lists, if appropriate
- Other documents necessary to determine merchandise admissibility
If the goods are to be released from CBP custody at the time of entry, an entry summary for consumption must be filed and estimated duties deposited at the port of entry within 10 working days of the goods' entry.
The entry must be accompanied by evidence that a bond has been posted with CBP to cover any potential duties, taxes, and charges that may accrue. Bonds may be secured through a resident U.S. surety company, but may be posted in the form of United States currency or certain United States government obligations. In the event that a customs broker is employed for the purpose of making entry, the broker may permit the use of his bond to provide the required coverage.
Entry Summary Documentation
Following presentation of the entry, the shipment may be examined, or examination may be waived. The shipment is then released if no legal or regulatory violations have occurred. Entry summary documentation is filed and estimated duties are deposited within 10 working days of the entry of the merchandise at a designated customhouse. Entry summary documentation consists of:
- Return of the entry package to the importer, broker, or his authorized agent after merchandise is permitted release
- Entry summary (CBP Form 7501|instructions to Form 7501)
- Other invoices and documents necessary to assess duties, collect statistics, or determine that all import requirements have been satisfied
An alternate procedure that provides for immediate release of a shipment may be used in some cases by applying for a special permit for immediate delivery on CBP Form 3461 prior to arrival of the merchandise. Carriers participating in the Automated Manifest System can receive conditional release authorizations after leaving the foreign country and up to five days before landing in the United States.
If the application is approved, the shipment will be released expeditiously after it arrives. An entry summary must then be filed in proper form, either on paper or electronically, and estimated duties deposited within 10 working days of release. Immediate-delivery release using Form 3461 is limited to the specific types of merchandise.
The Electronic Export Information (EEI) needs to be filed when the value of the commodity classified under each individual Schedule B number is over $2,500 or if a validated export license is required to export the commodity. The exporter is responsible for preparing the EEI and the carrier files it with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) through the AES or AES Direct.
Prior to exporting, the exporter should acquire the Schedule B number for the commodity they intend to export. The Schedule B number must be reported in the AES to identify the goods being exported. This number can be obtained from the Census Bureau at 1-800-549-0595, option 2.
If the exporter is sending baggage or containers with their personal or household goods valued over $2,500 to a foreign destination, other than Canada, they must file the EEI and provide the ITN to the carrier
CBP is piloting a program which aims to replace the 27 data elements on Form 3461 with 12 required data elements with 3 optional elements. Simplified Entry is in direct response to the Trade’s call for more predictability in the importation process, streamlined data submissions, and expedited release of cargo.
Simplified Entry represents a key building block for Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Cargo Release. ACE is the commercial trade processing system being developed by CBP to facilitate trade while strengthening border security.