Q: What is a Customs Bond?
A: Customs surety bonds guarantee that specific obligations will be fulfilled by the importer (principal). This includes payment of duties, taxes and other associated charges, as well as compliance with U.S. Law and regulations governing entry of merchandise into the United States. So, the bond covers the value of the goods, all duties and charges to the U.S. Government, as well as federal regulatory requirements, e.g. FDA, FCC, DOT, Fish & Wildlife, etc.
Q: Is a Customs bond required for all imports into the U.S.?
A: Generally all commercial shipments require a bond. Some entries, however, under $2,500.00 require no bond. Since Jan 26, 2010, bonds have been required for all Importer Security Filings (ISF).
Q: Who is responsible for obtaining the bond?
A: The United States importer of record is responsible for obtaining the bond. When a bond is required, Customs will not release the goods until the bond is posted and Customs' and or other federal regulatory requirements are met.
Q: What kind of bond do I need?
A: It depends on the volume, frequency, commodity and type of entry, as well as the financial standing of the principal. Continuous bonds are most common, but single entry bonds may be suitable with a very low volume, and you can add 1 to 2 days for Customs clearance. Most ocean shipments will require Importer Security Filing (ISF), so the continuous bond will likely be more advantageous if you have more than a few entries per year.
Q: Company name or address changes?
A: Customs and the Surety must be notified of any changes. Report all address or name changes to us by email or fax on your company letterhead. The document must be signed by an officer of the corporation or by the owner of the firm.
Q: How do we renew our bond?
A: The continuous bond renews each year until terminated by the principal, Customs broker or surety. The minimum bond amount for a continuous bond is $50,000 or 10% of the total of duties, taxes, fees and outstanding duties and charges of the previous year, whichever is greater.
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