Customs Assigned Importer Number CAIN

Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN) – Simple Explanation and Examples

In the realm of logistics and customs clearance, understanding various terms and procedures is crucial for successful international trade. One such essential term is the Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN). Grasping the concept and its application can significantly streamline your import processes and ensure compliance with customs regulations.

What is a Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN)?

A Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN) is a unique identifier assigned by a nation’s customs authority to an importer of record. This number is used to track and manage the import activities and liabilities of businesses and individuals who bring goods into the country. It plays a pivotal role in ensuring that importers adhere to all necessary regulations, duties, and taxes imposed on imported goods.

How CAIN Works in Logistics and Customs Clearance

In logistics and customs clearance, the CAIN serves several critical functions:
  • Identification: CAIN helps customs authorities easily identify the importer associated with specific shipments.
  • Tracking: It allows for efficient tracking of import transactions, thereby facilitating smooth processing of customs documentation and duties.
  • Compliance: The CAIN ensures that all import-related compliance checks, including payment of duties and adherence to regulations, are accurately managed.

Relevant Examples

To better illustrate how CAIN works, consider the following examples:

Example 1: Importing Electronics

Imagine a company named TechImports Ltd. planning to import a bulk shipment of electronics from China to the United States. To comply with U.S. customs regulations, TechImports Ltd. needs a CAIN. With this number, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can track the shipment, verify compliance with import regulations, and ensure that all applicable duties and taxes are paid.

Example 2: Importing Textiles

Suppose a small business, FabricsForAll, wants to import textiles from India. The business owner registers with customs authorities and is assigned a CAIN. This CAIN must be used in all customs documentation for importing the textiles. The CAIN helps customs officials ensure that the textiles meet regulatory standards, and that the appropriate tariffs are collected.

Important Considerations

While obtaining and using a CAIN can streamline import processes, there are several important considerations to keep in mind:

Compliance with Regulations

  • Accurate Documentation: Ensure all customs documentation is accurate and includes the correct CAIN. Inaccuracies can lead to delays, fines, or even seizure of goods.
  • Regulatory Knowledge: Stay informed about the import regulations of the destination country, as requirements can change frequently. Non-compliance can result in significant penalties.

Coordination with Customs Brokers

Utilizing the services of a customs broker can be beneficial. Customs brokers are experts in navigating complex import regulations and can ensure that your CAIN is correctly applied in all transactions. They can assist with:
  • Preparing and submitting accurate customs documentation
  • Classifying goods correctly for tariff purposes
  • Managing payments of duties and taxes

Regular Updates and Renewals

  • Periodic Reviews: Customs authorities may periodically review and update CAIN assignments. It is essential to stay up-to-date with any changes or renewals required by the customs authority.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain meticulous records of all import transactions linked with your CAIN for reference and compliance auditing.

Steps to Obtain a CAIN:

Step 1: Register with Customs Authorities

The first step is to register your business or yourself (if you are an individual importer) with the customs authorities of the country where you plan to import goods.

Step 2: Provide Necessary Documentation

Typically, you’ll need to submit:
  • Business registration certificates
  • Personal identification documents
  • Tax identification numbers
  • A completed importer registration form

Step 3: Assignment of CAIN

Once your application is reviewed and approved, customs authorities will assign you a CAIN. Ensure you receive written confirmation of your assigned CAIN for your records.

Step 4: Use CAIN in All Import Transactions

From this point onward, include your CAIN in all customs documentation, including entry forms, invoices, and shipping documents.


A Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN) is an indispensable tool for anyone involved in importing goods. By understanding its purpose and how to obtain and use it, importers can ensure compliance with customs regulations, facilitate efficient clearance, and avoid unnecessary delays or penalties. For those involved in the import/export business, working with experts can make the process smoother. At eezyimport, we specialize in handling all aspects of US customs clearance, providing you with the expertise needed to navigate complex regulations and ensure your imports are managed efficiently. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist with your customs-related needs.

FAQs about Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN)

1. What is the primary purpose of a Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN)?

The primary purpose of a Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN) is to uniquely identify and track importers of record for customs authorities. This number helps in managing and processing import transactions, ensuring compliance with regulations, and facilitating the collection of duties and taxes.

2. How can I obtain a Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN)? (How to get a cain imported number?)

To obtain a CAIN, you need to register with the customs authorities of the country where you plan to import goods. You will typically need to provide business registration certificates, personal identification documents, tax identification numbers, and a completed importer registration form. Upon review and approval, customs authorities will assign you a CAIN.

3. Can I use a customs broker to handle my imports with a CAIN?

Yes, you can use a customs broker to handle your imports. Customs brokers are experts in import regulations and can help ensure that your CAIN is correctly applied in all transactions. They assist with preparing and submitting accurate customs documentation, classifying goods for tariff purposes, and managing payments of duties and taxes. This can streamline the import process and help you stay compliant with customs regulations.

4. Is importer number the same as ein?

In a trade context, the importer number is not always the same as the EIN (Employer Identification Number), though they can be related. Let’s explain the key differences:

EIN (Employer Identification Number):

A 9-digit number issued by the IRS Used for tax purposes Required for businesses to identify themselves for tax filings and other purposes

Importer Number:

Can be one of several types: a) EIN b) Social Security Number (for sole proprietors) c) Customs Assigned Importer Number (for foreign entities) In many cases, U.S. companies use their EIN as their importer number. However, not all importer numbers are EINs. The specific number used depends on the type of entity and whether they’re based in the U.S. or abroad.

To obtain a CAIN, you must complete CBP Form 5106, also known as the Importer Identity Form. This form collects essential information about the importer, including business details and Tax ID Number. It is critical for establishing the importer’s identity with CBP.


CBP Form 5106, also called the Importer Identity Form, is used to collect information about an importer. Completing this form is necessary to obtain a CAIN. The form requires details such as the business name, address, and Tax ID Number.


The port of entry is where goods arrive in the U.S. and are processed by CBP. Having a CAIN helps CBP officers quickly identify the importer and process the shipment efficiently. Each port of entry has specific import requirements that must be met for goods to clear customs.


Import requirements include completing all necessary documentation, such as CBP Form 5106, and ensuring compliance with product-specific regulations. Importers must also secure customs bonds and pay any applicable duties, taxes, and fees.


A customs bond is a financial guarantee ensuring the payment of duties, taxes, and fees related to the import of goods. It is often required to comply with CBP regulations. Customs bonds can be obtained through a licensed customs broker, who can also assist with other import processes.


A foreign importer of record is an entity outside the U.S. responsible for ensuring that imported goods comply with U.S. laws and regulations. This entity must have a CAIN and fulfill all import requirements, including the payment of duties, taxes, and fees.


A licensed customs broker helps importers comply with CBP regulations by assisting with obtaining a CAIN, completing CBP Form 5106, securing customs bonds, and ensuring all import requirements are met. They prepare and submit necessary documentation and facilitate communication with CBP.


A Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document that authorizes a licensed customs broker to act on behalf of the importer. It allows the broker to handle all aspects of the import process, including filing paperwork, paying duties, and communicating with CBP. A POA is essential for streamlining import operations.


Duties, taxes, and fees are costs associated with importing goods into the U.S. These amounts vary based on the type of goods, their value, and applicable tariffs. Importers must accurately calculate and pay these amounts to avoid delays and penalties.


A Tax ID Number is necessary for completing CBP Form 5106 and obtaining a CAIN. It is used by CBP to verify the importer’s identity and ensure compliance with tax regulations. Providing a valid Tax ID Number is crucial for processing shipments without delays.


eezyimport is an online platform and is not a licensed customs broker. However, we work closely with a third-party licensed customs broker who can assist with any entry-related issues.

eezyimport is an online platform and is not a licensed customs broker. However, we work closely with a third-party licensed customs broker who can assist with any entry-related issues.

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