Can You Import Goods Into the United States Without a Customs Broker?

A simple Google search on importing goods into the US brings up all sorts of articles about the importance of using a licensed customs broker to help you navigate the complex import system. While it may be a convenient option, especially for apprehensive first-time importers, it costs money; however, there are online customs clearance solutions that even newbies can easily use for self-filing.

Is A Customs Broker Compulsory?

If you’re asking whether it is compulsory to hire a customs broker to import goods into the US, the answer is no. While it may be useful for importers, there is no legal requirement to use one.

Why is it useful? The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires importers of goods valued at $2,500 or more, and for Chinese shipments valued at over $250, to post a customs bond. This bond is a contract in essence that ensures payment of all taxes, fees, and duties owed to the government. A CBP-licensed and legally authorized customs broker can write up a bond to secure the transaction, prepare and file all obligatory paperwork and entries, obtain the CBP bond, and help clear your goods.

Going It Alone

If you choose not to use a customs broker, make sure you are educated on the many CBP policies and procedures and all the entry requirements specific to the commodity you are importing.

Firstly, there is the customs bond as mentioned above. You will need to decide whether to hold a single entry or continuous customs bond. Secondly, there are documents to file (e.g., Entry Summary) and documents with the director of the port where your merchandise is entering the country. Thirdly, goods cannot legally enter until your shipment has arrived in the port, CBP has authorized the delivery of the goods, and estimated dues have been paid.

As an importer, you are responsible for coordinating the inspection and release of your goods and contacting other applicable agencies besides the CBP. For example, if you are importing food, you must notify the Food and Drug Administration. You will need a license, permit, or other documentation depending on what you are importing in such cases.

Remember, late filing means facing penalties or fines, if not the seizure of your merchandise. Therefore if you are working without a customs broker, you must be clued up on all the requirements, and the CBP website can help.

All Things Online

Today shifting towards digital solutions can save importers time, effort, and money, which is especially important for SMBs or first-time importers. eezyimport offers a DIY online customs clearance solution that enables importers to navigate the costly and challenging world of importing. For example, eezyimport’s platform allows you to independently file your ISF (10+2) or Entry Summary in minutes with full visibility and control from any phone, tablet, or desktop, anytime.

The system guides you through the process, and a broker then reviews the entry to ensure you have met all customs criteria. Repeat shipments take minutes or even seconds. eezyimport also offers a DIY Broker Entry (7501) service that allows you to sail through the process as a self-filer, but with the added benefit of a broker at your side. Choosing the DIY Broker option is sensible if you’re importing goods that require a PGA (Partner Government Agency) for clearance.

Bottom line, no need for a customs broker. Take matters into your own hands with DIY online customs clearance!

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