New importers and exporters’ guide for the US market

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) strongly advises familiarizing yourself with CBP policies and procedures prior to actually importing or exporting your items in order to minimize potential issues with the clearance of your merchandise. Additionally, you should be aware of any entry restrictions established by other federal agencies as well as those that apply specifically to the commodity you are importing or exporting. We provide the following advice for first-time importers and exporters in order to help them.

What form of license is needed to bring goods into the country?

According to the commodity being imported, other agencies may require a permission, license, or other qualification, but CBP does not compel an importer to have one. You might want to get in touch with these other organizations directly for more information since CBP serves in an administrative function for them. At, you can find links to different federal departments and agencies. The publication Importing Into the United States includes a list of additional federal organizations in its appendix section. To conduct business, you could additionally require a license from regional or national authorities.

The CBP website has useful information for both novice and seasoned importers

We advise importers to go over the CBP Trade page’s themes. We recommend reading the information found in the section titled Basic Importing and Exporting in particular. Explore the numerous topic-specific links available. You can learn more about CBP import rules, the arrival of products, official vs. informal entry, categorization, protest, postal shipments, restricted goods, and other topics by following this link. We advise reading Importing into the United States if you frequently import higher valued shipments and need to satisfy additional government criteria. Anyone seriously considering starting an import firm should read this publication because it offers more detailed information.

Prior to importing, you may contact the CBP office at the port of entry where your merchandise will enter the United States

You can find a comprehensive list of all the ports of entry on this page. Contact a service port of entry close to you if you are unclear of or haven’t decided the port where your shipment will arrive or if you’re considering importing through numerous ports. Request a meeting with a CBP import specialist who is responsible for the product you are importing. Import specialists can offer categorization guidance, information on requirements unique to a given product, advisory duty rates, and assistance with any entry-related queries you may have. Entry specialists answer inquiries about entry filing at numerous ports. Entry professionals collaborate closely with import specialists and offer the technical processing know-how essential to submit the needed documentation.

The importer should be able to describe the transaction in as much detail as feasible when calling the port. You must be able to precisely define the goods you intend to import if you want the import professional to be able to help you. You should give a thorough description of the item and offer detailed responses to all of the import specialist’s inquiries, including: 1) the item’s country of manufacture and origin; 2) its composition; 3) its intended purpose; and 4) pricing and payment details (in order to properly determine the value of the shipment).

Prior to importing into the United States, you should examine general quota information and quota requirements for specific commodities.

The volume or number of different goods that may be brought into the United States within a certain time period is regulated by import quotas. There are two primary categories of import quotas in the United States: absolute and tariff-rate. Textiles are sometimes subject to absolute quotas, which severely restrict the number of commodities that are allowed to enter American trade within a given time period. There are no commodities currently subject to tight quota limitations. Tariff-rate quotas allow for the entry of a certain amount of imported goods during the quota period at a reduced rate of tariff. Goods may still be entered after a quota has been achieved, albeit at a higher tariff rate.

The Quota page contains information about quotas. Links to information on topics like figuring out whether imported items are constrained by quotas can be found in this section. Additional quota information is available in A Guide to Import Quotas. On the Commodity Status Report for Tariff Rate Quotas, fill levels for agricultural quotas and textiles eligible for trade preference programs are monitored. Quota Book Transmittals are available to CBP field offices and the trade and contain general quota information as well as instructions for particular quotas.

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