FAQS

A Customs Broker is a highly trained import professional that is licensed by the Dept of Homeland Security – U.S. Customs & Border Protection. They provide information to importers on Customs tariffs including rates of duty, the methods of goods clearance and to receive, prepare and process import documents.
A customs bond is like an insurance policy that guarantees that the importer will faithfully, and in a timely manner, abide by all laws and regulations governing the importation of merchandise into the commerce of the United States. It does NOT relieve the importer of any of their obligations.
The value is the price paid or payable for the goods. Any selling commissions, assists, royalties, packing and proceeds must be also factored into the price.
The paperwork necessary to clear you shipment includes a commercial invoice, packing list, and a bill of lading. The invoice must be completed properly showing the total amount of the goods, currency used, country of origin, shipper, consignee and a very detailed description of the goods. Certain goods will require additional documentation, please contact us for more info.
Couriers are Freight carriers and they specialize in that service. Customs Brokers are licensed by the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security to do one thing only and that is to clear your freight. That is all we do and we do it right!
Customs has made many changes that will directly affect the importing community. Some of these include First Sale Declarations, 10+2 or ISF, Clean Port Act, Lacey Act and there is more to come. It is our mission to make sure we are well educated in these new requirements to keep all of our customers informed and in compliance with these complicated rules.
Prior to importing your goods into the U.S., you should ensure that the overseas supplier has marked the goods with the country of origin. It must be permanent enough for the ultimate purchaser to be made aware of the goods origin. There are some exemptions for products incapable of being marked, please call PBG for specific information on your products.
Customs requires that these fees are paid at the time the duty is paid. Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) is added to all entries. For formal entries they are assessed at .21% of the value of your shipment. The minimum is $25.00 and it shall not exceed $485.00 per entry. For informal entries the fee is $2.00. The Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) is assessed on all shipments that use U.S. Harbors (ocean freight). The fee is currently .125% based on the value of your shipment.
Customs requires that importers, exporters, carriers and brokers keep all entry documents on file for a minimum of 5 years from the entry date or the date of the last activity that required the maintenance of records.
A carnet is an international Custom’s document that is used to temporarily import certain goods into a country without having to engage in the Customs formalities usually required for the importation of goods, and without having to pay duty on the goods. It is valid for one year from the date of its issuance. It is accepted in more than 87 countries. An ATA carnet holder is obligated to present the goods and carnet to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to prove exportation. Failure to prove exportation on either a TIB or a carnet subjects the importer to liquidated damages equal to 110 percent of the duty and import tax.
Yes, a foreign company may import into the U.S. as long as they have an agent in the state where the port of entry is located that will serve as the resident agent in the U.S.
There is no legal requirement to use a customs broker to clear your goods; however, many importers opt to do so for convenience. Customs Brokers are licensed by U.S. Customs & Border Protection to conduct Customs business on behalf of importers. The importer is ultimately responsible for knowing CBP requirements and for ensuring their importations comply with all federal regulations, but if you use a trained professional to clear your goods, it could save you from making costly mistakes.
Before you decide to import a vehicle or vehicle parts into the U.S., you should ensure that they conform to the EPA and DOT. 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 U.S. must be brought into compliance, exported, or destroyed.

Vehicles 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 Customs and Border Protection.
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.
  • Manufacturer’s letter, stating that the vehicle conforms to EPA and DOT standards,
  • Completed EPA form 3520-1 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 manufacturer’s 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 manufacturer’s letter.)
  • The EPA has a detailed automotive facts manual describing emission requirements for imported vehicles. 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.
  • DOT enforces safety standards for vehicles. Nonconforming vehicles must be brought into conformance before they are eligible for entry. This process can be extremely expensive. Contact them for more information at 1-800-424-9393. You will need to obtain form HS-7.
If you are importing commercial samples to solicit orders, the goods are not automatically exempt from duty as the goods still have commercial value for Customs purposes. However, you have three options that may enable you to import the goods without having to pay duty.

  • There are special duty free provisions in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, which stipulates the criteria for samples eligible for duty free treatment. For example, in order for samples of textiles to be entered duty-free, they cannot be valued over $1.00 each, or must be marked SAMPLE NOT FOR RESALE,” cut or torn, and perforated so they are unsuitable for sale or use.
  • Samples can also be brought in on a TIB entry if they are solely for taking orders and not for consumption. The samples cannot be sold and are allowed into the U.S. for a time period of one year from the date of importation, with two extensions, which cannot exceed 3 years. A bond must cover the amount equal to 110% of the estimated duties and fees. If the goods are not exported or destroyed within the allotted time period, there is a breach of the Customs bond. Customs will demand the payment of liquidated damages equal to 110% of the estimated duties.
  • If you are a traveler with commercial samples, a carnet may be best option for you.