Customs Brokers
Opening Hours : Monday - Friday 8:30 Am to 5 Pm

2000 NW 97th Ave, Ste 114, Miami, FL 33172

(305) 715-7023

Frequently Asked Questions

A Customs Broker is a person or company licensed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to transact Customs business on behalf of an importer for a fee. The duties of a customs broker include: Prepare & submit customs documentation & ensure compliance with CBP and other government agencies rules & regulations; provide the required surety bond; pay duty and fees to CBP; arrange delivery of cargo to the importer.

Customs bonds are financial guarantees between 3 parties: The Importer (the principal) the Surety company issuing the bond, and Customs & Border Protection (CBP). The bond guarantees that if CBP cannot collect monies due from the Importer they can seek remedy, up to the full bond amount, from the surety company. The bond also indemnifies the surety company, allowing them to use any legal means to collect from the importer any monies that were paid to CBP on the importers behalf. CBP requires a bond for most Customs entries (exceptions being low value, personal effects or Carnet shipments). Read more about customs bonds on our Links/Downloads page

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is a system of product classification used by importers and CBP (Customs and Border Protection). The HTSUS comprises part of a uniform system of tariff classification used by major trading countries throughout the world. Goods are classified for the purpose of calculating the appropriate import duties and maintaining statistics on commodities imported into the US.

U.S. Customs is very specific about who can sign the Power of Attorney. In most cases, the only corporate officers that can sign this document without supporting “Articles of Incorporation” are the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and/or Treasurer. For some smaller incorporated companies, other titles may sign the POA, but only if they are the sole signing officer and this is stated right on the Power of Attorney. Please contact us if there are any questions about who can sign the POA.

Importer Security Filing (ISF) applies only to ocean shipments. ISF is a rule that requires importers to declare specific information (see below) of the imported goods to CBP at least 24 hours prior to loading of the goods on a vessel destine for the USA. The ISF declaration enhances CBP’s ability to identify high risk shipments and allocate its’ resources accordingly. Failure to file ISF in accordance with CBP’s regulations could be costly with fines of up to $10,000.00.

The Bill of Laden number (B/L#), or if used, the AMS House Bill of Laden number (AMS HB/L#), is used as an identifier to match the ISF filing to the manifest filing and to the Customs entry and therefore must be provided.

The following 10 items are required along with the time frames to submit the information to CBP.

No later than 24 hours before cargo is laden aboard the vessel at the foreign port:
1. Seller – full name and address
2. Buyer – full name and address
3. Importer of Record
4. Consignee
5. ++Manufacturer (or supplier) – full name and address
6. ++Ship to party – full name and address
7. ++Country of origin
8. ++HTS Number
As early as possible but no later than 24 hours prior to arrival:
9. Container stuffing location
10. Consolidator (stuffer)

**Break bulk cargo** – 24 hours prior to arrival if cargo is exempt from the 24 Hour Rule.

For ++items, submit the best available information. The rule provides flexibility for importers with respect to the submission of these four ++data elements. The ISF must be updated as soon as more accurate or precise data becomes available and no later than 24 hours prior to the ship’s arrival at a U.S. port.

The ISF Importer is required to post a bond to secure the timely, accurate, and complete Importer Security Filing. A continuous bond will satisfy ISF bond requirement. (Read more about continuous bonds on our FAQ page).

ISF information must be received by LMB at least 48 – 72 hours before cargo is laden aboard vessel at the foreign port to ensure the filing of ISF in compliance with CBP regulations.

Food & Drug Administration (FDA) – is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices, cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products.
Department of Agriculture (APHIS) – Tasked with enforcing plant, animal and ‘pest’ control. The DA is the primary enforcement agency for Wood Packaging regulations.
Department of Commerce – Collects statistical information about import shipments.
Consumer Products Safety Commission – Regulates consumer products that the FDA doesn’t handle directly; (Toys, Clothing, etc.)
Fish and Wildlife Service – Concerned with non-domesticated animals and goods made from parts of these animals and subject to the CITES treaty.
State Department – Monitors artifacts and cultural property imported from various countries and may be involved with licensing of certain imports.
Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration – Regulates the import of automobiles and Aircraft
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms – Issues license and/or permits to import alcoholic beverages of all kinds, firearms, and other weaponry, and tobacco products. Note some of these goods are subject to State regulations and taxes.
Foreign Assets Control – Issues licenses to import products that would otherwise be prohibited (Cuban cigars, Iranian carpets)
United States International Trade Commission - An independent federal agency determining import injury to U.S. industries in antidumping, countervailing duty, and global and China safeguard investigations; directing actions against unfair trade practices involving patent, trademark, and copyright infringement; supporting policymakers through economic analysis and research on the global competitiveness of U.S. industries.

The value most commonly used in appraising imported goods is the ‘transaction value’ of the imported goods, i.e., the price paid or payable for the merchandise when sold to the U.S. buyer plus amounts for the following (if not already included): packing costs, sales commissions, royalties and license fees and assist. You do NOT have to pay duty on the costs for international freight or Insurance for your shipment.
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