Monthly Archives :

May 2013

The Importers Checklist

Cleared and Delivered

Prior to Shipment

  • Fax request for current status.
  • Review shipping & payment terms.
  • Confirm that Customs Broker has been selected.
  • Does Broker have Purchaser’s Power of Attorney?
  • Does Purchaser have Customs Bond (Either Single or Continuous)?
  • Confirm that supplier will include any Assists in shipment value?
  • Confirm that country of origin product marking instructions are being followed.
  • Confirm that supplier will use purchaser supplied US Customs Harmonized Number in shipping description.
  • Specify to supplier transportation method and routing
  • Confirm consignee, notify party, port, & markings and that buyer will receive copy of shipping papers
  • Specify forwarder & broker if not included in P. O.
  • Confirm that supplier or forwarder has routing.
  • Confirm that transportation has been arranged.
  • Confirm that freight methods and rates used in original landed cost estimates are being used.
  • Confirm that some form of proof of origin will be sent to purchaser (No longer required for Customs Clearance, but may be needed for Customs’ Audit)
  • Is an inspection certificate or other certification required & if so, is it complete.
  • Confirm special packaging arrangements.
  • Confirm hazardous cargo compliance.
  • Consider strikes or any other significant International events that may cause delay.
  • Confirm that procedure for transportation insurance coverage is being followed.

After Shipment Leaves Supplier

  • Confirm that freight forwarder has freight and that booking was made per routing instructions.
  • Confirm shipment is on intended vessel/flight.
  • Determine if pre-clear through US Customs is possible.
  • Check Documents received to insure correct consignee, notify party, destination and markings.
  • Confirm forwarder has sent copies of documents to purchaser & broker
  • Confirm broker is aware of shipment, has all necessary documents, and has been given inland shipping instructions.
  • Prepare info for special clearances such as FDA if required.
  • Confirm arrival with broker.
  • Confirm Custom clearance with broker
  • Obtain pro number, trailer number, name & phone number of inland carrier.
  • Confirm inland delivery with inland carrier

Importing a car to the USA

Cleared and Delivered

Before you decide to import an automobile or car parts into the United States, you should ensure that the car or car parts conform to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. These agencies have very detailed requirements that can make importing a vehicle difficult, if not impossible, for some vehicles that were not originally manufactured for the U.S. market.

Nonconforming vehicles less than 25 years old entering the United States must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed.

Cars over 25 years old are exempt from EPA and DOT requirements, although you will still need to obtain and prepare EPA and DOT paperwork to provide to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer in order to clear your car through CBP.

From a CBP standpoint, you must file an entry on the car to receive the entry summary document CBP Form 7501. Filing an entry is initiated by declaring the car to a CBP officer when you enter the U.S. If your paperwork is in order, the officer will help you file the entry at the border. If you are not prepared, the officer may advise you to file the entry at a CBP port near your residence – however, in many cases the closest port could be 1-3 hours from your home, so it is in your best interest to be prepared to file the entry when you initially bring the car into the U.S. Without a copy of the CBP entry form, you will not be able to register the car in the U.S.

Prior to filing your entry with CBP, ensure you have valid proof of ownership, which is an original certificate of title, or a certified copy of the original. Ensure you have documentation, such as a manufacturer’s letter, stating that the car conforms to EPA and DOT standards, as well as a completed EPA form 3250-1 and DOT form HS-7. (If the vehicle has stickers on the engine (EPA) and inside the drivers-side door (DOT) stating that the car was manufactured to U.S. standards, you will not need a manufacturers letter. Some vehicles are listed by make, model, and year on the DOT and EPA web sites as conforming. If your vehicle is one of those, that would also negate the need for a manufacturers letter.)

If the vehicle has not been in your household for at least one year, you will be required to pay 2.5% duty, which is assessed based on the purchase price or blue book value. It is illegal to bring a car into the U.S. and sell it without first entering it through CBP. If you purchase a car that was brought into the U.S. and sold without being properly entered through CBP, that car is subject to seizure. NEVER purchase a used car in the U.S. if the owner cannot show that it is currently registered in the U.S. and demonstrate that it conforms to DOT and EPA standards.

If purchasing a car from a dealer, they should handle registration for you, if they don’t, the purchase should be contingent on your successful registration of the vehicle. (We get many calls from people who unwittingly purchased a vehicle that had been brought into the U.S. and then illegally sold. Buyer beware.)

Importing textiles

Cleared and Delivered

Textiles: Clothing, Yarns, Fabric, Wearing apparel, Made-up goods (i.e. luggage, towels, etc.) Most textiles imported for commercial use are subject to quota and or visa, depending on the country they are being imported from. It is essential to know the correct HTS classification number in order to determine the quota restrictions for any particular item. Textiles imported for personal use are not subject to quota except for hand made suits from Hong Kong.

Additional considerations for importing textiles include Consumer Product Safety Commission requirements for flammability. Wearing apparel must have labels specifying content and instructions for care. All textiles must have either labels indicating the country of origin or, if this is not feasible, (yarn, thread, wool) be packaged in such a way that country of origin is discernable to the ultimate purchaser. Determining country of origin for mixed products (blouses made in Italy from Chinese silk) can be very complicated. Other information may also be required.

Types of customs entries

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T&E Entry – Transportation and Export: Goods shipped under U.S. Customs bond from a U.S. Port of Entry to a second U.S. Customs port for export to a third country.

VST&E – Vessel Transportation and Export: This is a specialized U.S. Customs bond intended for a foreign vessel which will be immediately leaving the USA.

Warehouse Entry– This entry is for goods entering the USA under bond to temporarily store goods in a warehouse without paying duties and/or taxes.

Informal Entry– This type of entry is performed for shipments valued under $2,000 USD. (Some commodities are restricted to on an informal entry, regardless of the value.)

Consumption Entry– Designed for shipments entering the U.S.A. with a value over $2,000 USD.

TIB– Temporary Import Bond: Goods entering USA temporarily and intended for re-export to the originating county. Some restrictions do apply.

4455– Certificate of Registration: We also prepare this U.S. Customs document which is intended for foreign shipment exporting from the U.S.A. and then intended for return to the U.S.A.

IT Entries– Immediate Transit: Goods shipped under U.S. bond directly from initial Port of Entry into the USA to a second U.S. Customs port. Note: Restriction: The Car*rier must hold a Bond with U.S. Customs.

Remote Location Filing

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Remote Location Filing (RLF) is a pilot program that allows approved participants to electronically file entries with CBP from a location within the United States other than the port of arrival or location of examination. For example, merchandise is entered in Miami; a Seattle filer, via RLF, files the entry.

Cleared and Delivered has remote location filing capability through all ports of the USA. Ask us about clearing your freight through this fast and easy method.


Customs container inspections

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Under Title 19, section 1467, of the United States Code (19 U.S.C. 1467), CBP has a right to examine any shipment imported into the United States and it is important to know that you, the importer, must bear the cost of such cargo exams. Cleared and delivered in no way can control or defer the costs of these inspections should they occur. Per the CBP regulations, it is the responsibility of the importer to make the goods available for examination—“The importer shall bear any expense involved in preparing the merchandise for CBP examination and in the closing of packages” (19 C.F.R. 151.6). ( 19 C.F.R. 151.6 ) Household effects are not exempt. No distinction is made between commercial and personal shipments. In the course of normal operations, CBP does not charge for cargo examinations. However, there may still be costs involved for the importer.

For example, if your shipment is selected for examination, it will generally be moved to a Centralized Examination Station (CES) for the CBP exam to take place. A CES is a privately operated facility, not in the charge of a CBP officer, at which merchandise is made available to CBP officers for physical examination. The CES facility will unload (devan) your shipment from its shipping container and will reload it after the exam. The CES will bill you for their services. There are also costs associated with moving the cargo to and from the exam site and with storage. Rates will vary across the country and a complete devanning may cost several hundred dollars.

Carnet items for import

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Commercial samples, professional equipment and advertising material can be imported into the United States by a nonresident. Other countries permit the use of a carnet to import the above materials and other categories of goods such as, ordinary goods like computers, tools, cameras and video equipment, industrial machinery, automobiles, gems and jewelry, and wearing apparel. Extraordinary items, for example, Van Gogh’s self-portrait, circus animals, jets, band instruments, satellites, human skulls, and the New York Philharmonic’s equipment.


Importing tea coffee or spices

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Imports of tea, coffee, and spices are subject to review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)and their admissibility is determined by the FDA. You may want to contact the FDA to obtain instructions on how to label the products (i.e., ingredients, nutrition, content etc.). FDA can be reached at 1-888-723-3366. or

All commercial imports of food products require the filing of Prior Notice with FDA, and foreign manufacturers and/or distributers of food products must register with the FDAbefore their goods may be admitted.

There are no restrictions or quotas on coffee, tea, and spices whether bottled, brewed or packaged, which means there is no limit to the amount you can import into the U.S. However, some products which contain these items may be subject to some restrictions or special duties (e.g. sauces, syrups, soups etc.). If you are importing any of those products, you may want to consult with an Import Specialist at your local port of entry.

Importing seafood

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The importation of seafood is governed by the Food and Drug Administration, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The importation of marine mammals is also under the jurisdiction of the NMFS and FWS.

Tuna and anchovies are subject to Quota.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife restricts the quantity of caviar that can be brought into the U.S. by travelers to 250 grams. If the traveler has more than that quantity, the goods will be subject to seizure. There are also restrictions on commercial importations.

There is an embargo on shrimp, prawns and products from certain countries. The Department of State, Office of Marine Conservation has provided Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with a list of countries they certified as using acceptable methods of shrimp harvesting. Imports of shrimp from certified countries are admissible. Ask a cleared and delivered rep for the latest
status on seafood imports.

Import a motorcycle to the USA

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Before you decide to import a motorcycle into the United States, you should ensure it conforms to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. These agencies have very detailed requirements that can make importing a motorcycle difficult. EPA advises importers of motorcycles to obtain a letter from the manufacturer stating it conforms to U.S. standards. If it is imported into the U.S. and does not conform, it must be brought into compliance before it can clear Customs and Border Protection (CBP), be legally registered, used and or sold in the U.S. If it is not brought into compliance, it can not remain in the U.S. and it must be exported or destroyed. For example, if the motorcycle you intend to import is a Harley Davidson, many of those bikes were exported for sale in a foreign country and do not conform to U.S. standards. The EPA has a detailed automotive facts manual describing emission requirements. You can get a copy of this manual, entitled the Automotive Imports Facts Manual,(order #EPA420B94006) or other information about importing motor vehicles by calling the EPA import hotline at (734) 214-4100. From a CBP standpoint, you must file an entry and the EPA Form 3520-1 and the DOT form HS-7 must be submitted to CBP to receive the Entry Summary document CBP Form 7501. You will need this form to register the motorcycle in your state. Prior to filing your entry with CBP, ensure you have valid proof of ownership, which is an original certificate of title, or a certified copy of the original, and the bill of sale. You will be required to pay 1.5% to 2.9% duty, which will be assessed based on the purchase price or blue book value.