When Do I Need a U.S. Customs Bond?
Importers of commodities and goods for commercial purposes, carriers of freight, warehouse operators and facility operators are often required to obtain a U.S. Customs Bond, otherwise known as an import bond.
The bond is necessary for importing and storing certain types of goods, depending on their value and amount.
The U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) requires importers and other parties involved in import-related operations to get a U.S. Customs Bond in certain cases. It’s also known as a CBP bond.
You need to get bonded if importing goods for commercial purposes valued above $2,500. The type of goods include foods, hazardous objects and similar items.
The bond guarantees that importers will comply with all applicable laws and serves as protection for the public. It also ensures the payment of any duty, tax or charge in relation to activities covered in Section II of the CBP Form 301.
Questions about US Custom Bonds
- When is a U.S Custom Bond Required?
- What Does a U.S Customs Bond Cover?
- How Much Does a U.S Custom Bonds Cost?
- How is the Customs Bond Amount Calculated?
- What Can I Do About the Section 301 Changes?
- How Long is a U.S Customs Bond Valid?
- Where Can I Buy a Customs Bond?
- How Do I Get Bonded?
- How Fast Can I Get a Customs Bond?
When is a U.S Custom Bond Required?
U.S Custom bonds are required if you are operating one of several types of import business. These include importers who bring commercial goods into the U.S worth more than $2,500, warehouse operators who can legally store bonded merchandise, and international carriers who are involved in importing shipments and air freighted goods from abroad.
You can get single-entry bonds when importing occasionally and using one port of entry.
Continuous customs bonds are better if you import frequently and through various ports. For example, international freight and passenger carriers usually obtain the latter.
There are exceptions to the bond requirements, so it’s best to check with the CBP whether you need to post a bond, what bond is acceptable, and what its amount should be.
What Does a U.S Customs Bond Cover?
U.S Customs Bonds act like any other surety bond, in that they act as a financial guarantee that the business, or principal, will act within certain regulations established by a government agency.
In the case of U.S Customs Bonds, these bonds cover the import duties and taxes that businesses are required to pay the government. In the case of a business failing to pay the government, whether this is due to bankruptcy or malpractice, the surety company will recompense the government up to the value of the bond, then turn to the business to be reimbursed in turn.
How Much Does a U.S Custom Bonds Cost?
As with any surety bond, the bond cost refers to the percentage of the overall bond value which is paid by the principal to the bonding company. This is also known as the bond premium.
The bond cost of a Customs Bond will vary depending on several factors. The first factor is the value of the bond which you have been required to post.
The second factor is your personal credit. As surety companies assume risk when they provide bonds, they reward applicants with the best credit with the best rates.
For applicants with good credit, which is represented by a credit score above 674, then rates between 1% and 4% are common. That means that a $50,000 Continuous Customs Bond might cost an applicant with good credit between $500 and $2,000.
For more information on how your bond cost is set, you can consult our Surety Bond Cost guide.
How is the Customs Bond Amount Calculated?
The Customs Bond amount is first determined based on the type of bond you are required to post. Single-entry bonds and continuous bonds require different degrees of coverage.
Single-entry bonds are generally set at the full value of the goods to be imported, including duties, fees and taxes, and will be set at a minimum of $100.
Continuous bonds are usually set at 10% of the value of the various fees paid for importing in the business’s previous year of operation. If the business is new, and this information is lacking, however, then estimates for the next 12 month period are often used. The amount may be higher than 10%, however, depending on the type of goods being imported. Restricted goods, for example, tend to cost more.
Given that Imports and Exports are heavily regulated industries, there are plenty of circumstances in which bond amounts may vary considerably. Whilst we can help you to identify exactly the bond amount that you need, the process will be greatly facilitated if you have an in depth understanding of the goods you wish to import, and the government regulations under which they are held.
What Can I Do About the Section 301 Changes?
Due to economic tensions between China and the United States over the last few years, there has been a great deal of volatility in the value of tariffs on imported Chinese goods. Due to changes made to Section 301 by the United States Trade Representatives (USTR), the cost of importing a wide range of Chinese goods has rocketed. However, due to some improvement in the situation, many of these goods have had their tariffs subsequently reduced.
Understandably, this can make the prospects of importing from China a difficult one. Firstly, it can be difficult to know what tariffs you are expected to pay on your imported goods. Secondly, there are some tariffs for which refunds are eligible.
In order to learn more about how the Section 301 changes will affect you and your business, you can consult the USA Customs Clearance website's comprehensive guide on Section 301 Tariffs.
How Long is a U.S Customs Bond Valid?
U.S Customs Bonds are valid for as long as stated in the terms under which they are taken out. Continuous bonds will often continue indefinitely, only requiring payment on the agreed billing day to remain valid.
Single-entry bonds, on the other hand, must be bought anew on each occasion that they are used.
Where Can I Buy a Customs Bond?
You can buy your Customs Bond from a surety company. However, in order to find the best rates, it is sensible to work with an agent or broker such as Lance Surety. With years of experience and a wide network of surety partners, we can ensure that your bonding process is cheap, painless and easy.
How Do I Get Bonded?
Getting bonded is a simple process.
You should begin your bond application by applying for a free quote.
Once you’ve done so, our experts will find you the best rates available from our broad range of surety partners.
Once a price is agreed upon, you can pay for your bond online. We’ll then send you a digital copy of the bond, as well as a paper copy if needed.
How Fast Can I Get a Customs Bond?
Working with Lance Surety, we’ll turn your Customs Bond around as quickly as possible. This can take less than a week, allowing you peace of mind, and as smooth a process as possible.
All that you need to do now is to begin your application process.
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