Top Tips: Smooth US Customs Clearance with the Right Documents

customs clearance
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Navigating US customs requirements to legally import your goods can be intimidating. Failure to provide proper documentation when your shipment arrives at the border can lead to delayed clearance, hefty fines, or even seizure of goods.

Avoid hang-ups by understanding the key documents US Customs looks for to efficiently clear shipments. Follow these top tips for fast and smooth sailing through customs:

Know Your Importer of Record

Confirm whether you or your international shipper will act as the official importer of record on customs forms. This establishes who takes legal responsibility for import compliance.

Obtain a Customs Bond

Posting a customs bond protects the US customs if any duties, fines, or penalties are found to be owed on your shipment. Having a bond on file expedites the customs process so shipments aren’t held up waiting for payment.

Prepare a Commercial Invoice

A complete commercial invoice is essential for customs to identify and classify your imported goods. It should contain a detailed description including, weights, values, and origins of all the items in your shipment.

Include a packing List

Itemize every product in your shipment in a detailed packing list. US Customs will compare this list against the commercial invoice to verify consistency across your import documentation.

Provide Country of Origin Certificates

Customs requires documentation certifying where your goods were produced or manufactured. This could include NAFTA certificates of origin or other origin statements from the exporter.

Follow Labeling Requirements

All shipping boxes and crates must be properly labeled externally with their contents, quantities, weights, countries of origin, and any special handling instructions to assist customs inspection.

List All Wood Packaging

Shipments containing untreated wood pallets, crates, or boxes must be clearly documented to avoid delays. Untreated wood risks introducing pests and requires special USDA clearance.

US customs guide

Classify Goods with HTS Codes

Provide accurate HTS classification codes for each imported item on your invoices. Incorrect HTS codes can raise flags and lead to customs delays while classifications are double-checked.

Efficient Customs Clearance

The customs clearance process when importing goods into the United States involves presenting required documents to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers upon arrival at the port of entry.

CBP reviews the commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading, and other customs documents to verify the details of the shipment. The officers inspect cargo to confirm it matches declarations and assess applicable duties and taxes to be paid.

Preparing and double-checking your import paperwork is the best way for DIY importers to avoid customs clearance delays and extra hassles. Utilize this checklist of key documents to sail through US Customs inspection efficiently.
Stay organized, transparent, and meticulous with your shipment details, and your imported goods will clear customs before you know it!

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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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