Customs Entry

Customs Entry: The Ultimate FAQ Guide

If you have any question about customs entry, you will find the answer right here.

Because this guide covers everything you need to know about customs entry.

Keep reading to learn more.

What is a Customs Entry?

A customs entry is a form or a document that is mandatorily presented to the customs authority in regulated country.

This form scrutinizes your shipment in terms of the value, classification and origin of your shipment.

As a result, the findings indicated in this form allow for calculation of duty payment.

Also known as a customs declaration, this form is applicable upon importation or exportation of goods and services.

Figure 1 Import declartion form

 Import declaration form

When is a Customs Entry required?

A customs Entry is required upon entry and exit of goods from

one country to another.

As a result, this form is required upon the request by the customs authority of the country exporting or importing.

What Types of Customs Entry are there?

There exist two types of customs entry. The formal and the informal customs entry.

The formal customs entry caters for goods that must possess an entry or surety bond.

This is because the goods exceed a certain amount of dollars designated by the customs authority.

The amount displayed for these goods should, at the very least, total up to 2500 dollars. Usually these goods are for resale purposes.

The entry bond on these goods seeks to ensure that there is adherence to duties and compliance with customs requirements.

An entry bond has its advantages especially to the well-established importers.

With these bonds alongside customs, the importer can acquire his goods without tax fee, duty fee and other required fees.

The other type of customs entry is the informal customs entry.

Unlike the formal customs, informal customs` goods do not require an entry bond.

This is because, goods under this category do not exceed the bare set minimum value of $2500. However, this amount comes with variations subject to the laid principle for informal entry.

For example, not all goods under $2500 are subject to an informal entry. This exception majorly covers the textiles goods.

For these goods, a value worth $250 is treated as a formal entry.

Another variation under the informal entry customs is the ‘section 321’.  These section allows for goods under the value of $200 to enjoy duty free transport.

However, the goods must be belonging to a single individual and must be transported within a day.

Moreover, in most cases, goods under the informal entry customs are directly for consumption purposes.

What do you Write in a Customs Entry?

Figure 2 Import entry

 Import entry

The following information is required in a customs Entry form;

  • Name and address of shipper and consignee
  • Origin of the cargo
  • Destination of the cargo
  • The type of transport to be in use by the cargo
  • Description of the goods alongside of a commodity code
  • The value of the goods that is the cost, insurance and freight values. (CIF)
  • The weight of the goods
  • Customs classification number

What is Customs Entry number?

A customs entry number is also known as the entry processing unit (EPU). This number is usually assigned by the filer.

The number is strictly intended for a particular merchandise. Hence cannot be used again on another cargo.

It makes it easier for the customs authority to identify your cargo.

How do I locate my Customs Entry Number?

In most cases the number is usually at the top corner of the right hand side of a customs entry document.

Thus, it is important to be in the possession of a copy of the customs entry document as well. Sometimes it is designated as an entry processing unit (EPU).

What is Section 321 in Relation to Customs Entry?

As earlier, outlined, section 321 is a legal outline, that intends to explain a variation in the informal entry customs category.

Section 321 allows for goods valued at $200 or less to enjoy duty free transport of the merchandise.

This is with the exception that the goods are being transported by a single person in a single day.

What is a Customs Entry Fee?

This is the fee charged usually by the customs authority that is processing your customs entry requirements for your goods.

Additionally, the fee excludes the duty fee, freight fee and insurance fee.

The customs entry fee is usually based on the type and value of your goods under shipment.

Who Completes the Customs Entry?

The customs entry is under the mandate of the owner of goods or the customs agency helping to complete the form.

This is because most of the information in a customs entry document will be provided by the owner of the goods.

Upon completion, necessary fees are paid then the customs authority takes over.

What Happens if the Wrong Customs Entry is used?

You are bound to experience delays in your shipment.

A wrong custom entry entirely sabotages the shipment you are in possession.

As a result, the customs entry authority makes a follow up to confirm if there was a mix up in the customs entry.

Additionally, in the event the wrong customs entry is found to be intentional, penalties will follow suit.

An accountability of the wrong customs entry must be established.

What is the Difference Between a Customs Release (CBP Form 3461) and a Customs Entry (CBP Form 7501)?

A customs release form, the CBP 3461 is intended to hasten the release of your merchandise. The form gives instructions on the grounds in which your cargo is being released.

For example, the CBP 3461 form may instruct the merchandise to be released for further examination.

The document is made available electronically unless otherwise, that is need for hard copies arises.

Upon the release of your goods, the customs entry (CBP form 7501) is prepared. Here your goods are checked against duty and tax payments.

The CBP 7501 acts as a form that gives a depth outline of the duties and tax adherence of your shipment.

Is Customs Entry the same as Customs Declaration?

A customs entry and a customs declaration bare the same information for shipments.

As a result, they are relatively different from each other.

Sometimes a customs entry is regarded as a customs declaration.

They both give a clear outline of the goods under shipment and outline the statistical background of the merchandise.

Additionally, proof of tax compliance of the goods in shipment is as well highlighted in these forms.

What is the difference between Origin and Preferential Origin in relation to Customs Entry?

Origin defines the place of manufacture of the goods. Origin is a key factor when it comes to determining customs tariff.

As a result, origin plays a major role in taxation, regulation, obligation and setting standards.

Preferential origin outlines an agreement between two countries concerning export and import of goods.

Preferential origin comes with benefits of reduced or even zero duties based on the agreement put forward between the countries.

Additionally, presence of uniform standards can highly promote trade between the partakers of the agreement.

However, preferential origin comes with a list of demands and obligations that member countries have to adhere to.

For example, the goods must incorporate a certain percentage of raw materials from the country of origin.

Or the country must be under the registration of an official database.

These obligations and formalities are meant to manage the level of competition in the market.

What are the Effects of a False Declaration of Origin of goods in a Customs Entry?

In the event that the information concerning the origin of goods is false, a whole reassessment is bound to happen.

This will inconvenience you in terms of time consciousness of the need of goods.

To avoid such delays due to reassessments it is important to double check the origin of your goods.

The major role of customs authority here will be to check for the origin of the goods and the type of goods.

The origin will help in tariff calculation and determination.

These two major concepts work to ensure that unfair competition is eliminated from the market.

False information attracts a penalty of 3 years with a possible extension of 10 years following any fraud suspicions.

Additionally, accumulated errors extending to three or four years will significantly have a negative impact on your financial status.

Customs duty penalties can have a significant impact on the selling price of your merchandise. In the events the goods have already been sold, you will suffer a reduction in your cost margins.

It is important to be careful in delivering correct information, especially if you are dealing with international trade.

What are the Penalties for Contravening of Customs Entry Rules and Regulations?

Penalties in customs entry include double fees of either taxes or duty fee.

Customs rules and regulations define a set of rules that must adhered to.

However, cases of fraud and deviance are eventually bound to happen, especially to importers who seek to evade charges on goods.

As a result, customs authorities and agencies have put in place penalty measures in the event one misuses the rules and regulations put forth.

In the case of a detected violation, an ex-post reassessment is set to commence. This involves review of previous imports.

Additionally, in the event an anomaly is detected in the documents submitted to the agency, an immediate reassessment happens on the goods.

Moreover, the customs authority has put forward a limitation period of 5 years to recover any incidences of custom debts.

This period is set to recover duties and taxes evaded.

Furthermore, false declarations attract a contravention of 3 to 6 years to allow for legal proceedings to address the offences.

What are some of the Methods which Customs uses to Assess Duty and Taxes?

Duty and taxes is a core activity that the customs entry mainly checks against the goods under shipment.

As a result, various methods have been put in place to ensure that calculation of the duties and taxes are adhered to.

These methods include;

  • Customs classification and valuation report.

Here the value is made available in the report after an assessment exercise.

  • The use of national tariffs to help in the taxations.

These helps to specify the tariff on each item on shipment.

  • The use of rates of duty per each tax type.

Any additional charge is defined in the Tariffs.

Can I Disagree with Tariff Values given by Customs?

Yes, you are legally entitled to disagree with tariff values outline by the customs.

Sometimes, the customs authority duty calculations may vary with the clients. In this case, wrong calculations are bound to happen.

If the authority proves adamant to have wrong calculations, you may forward the matter to commissioner-general for a review.

Moreover, if the commissioner-general decides to overlook the matter carelessly, you are permitted to seek a court hearing.

However, these lengths require hard evidence of wrong calculation of duty charges.

Is Customs Entry Filling Mandatory?

Yes, custom entry filling is mandatory. The customs entry filling is applicable to all importers to the US. The filling should take place earlier before the arrival of the shipment.

Filers are allowed to send the entries days before the actual day of arrival of the goods.

The US customs and border protection responds within 5 days before the arrival of the shipments.

US importers have the freedom to self-fill for their entries.

However, for foreign importers on record, there is a restriction that disallows them from self-filling entries.

Do US importers require an IOR number for Customs Entry filling?

Yes, US importers should possess the import on record (IOR) number.

The number is applicable to help in a range of processes during import.

The IOR number allows for easier identification of entries of the importer. The entry number is usually indicated on the CBP 7501 form.

Figure 3 Importer of record

 Importer of record

What are the dos and don’ts of Customs Entry filling?

Custom entry filling procedure requires a lot of discipline and adhering to customs rule and regulations.

Ensure you fill out all the information required by the authorities.

This includes;

  • Name and complete address of sender
  • Complete address and name of receiver
  • Item description (if there are several different products in the same package, note them all separately)
  • Quantity of items
  • Value of each item
  • Weight and dimensions of package
  • Date of sending
  • Invoice number
  • Terms of payment
  • Procedure to follow for non-deliverable parcels

Additionally, countries come with different restrictions concerning export and import goods. For instance, there are countries which require an Automated Manifest System (AMS), which is US, Canada, Mexico and Philippines.

All countries in the EU require an Entry Summary Declaration.

Different countries thus have different restrictions concerning import and export, ensure to adhere to these restrictions.

Moreover, there are certain things you should avoid when dealing with a customs entry form.

Ensure you do not provide false information about the details of your shipment.

The customs authority has well trained staff who know how to detect and handle such cases of infidelity.

Additionally, make sure you don’t give wrong information concerning any hazardous cargo. Ensure the product description is thus up to task.

Do not be careless when attaching the documents. Ensure the barcodes are easily visible to ensure faster tracing of the merchandise.

Correct packaging of your cargo should be truthfully indicated, otherwise this might be considered as fraud. The penalties are grievous.

Always be intentional to ensuring you documentation is up to task.

This will help you avoid mishaps such as delays due to the need for further verification from the customs authority.

Can I fill out Customs Entry Forms online?

Yes, the forms are made available electronically, hence once you finish, you can email the form to the required customs authority.

With the new technology, handwritten or hardcopy forms are rarely being incorporated according to numerous customs authority or agencies.

Which Countries need Customs Entry?

Numerous countries across the globe require custom entry procedures to take place.

However, countries within the EU do not require any customs entry regulations.

It is important to confirm with the customs authority of exporting or importing countries on the regulations put forth for customs.

What is Customs Entry Acceptance Advice?

A customs entry acceptance advice is a form that is meant to show an import entry has been completed successfully.

The form also regarded as an E2 form, bears the following information;

  • Customs entry number
  • Clearance date and time
  • Consignee
  • Summary of freight
  • Insurance and VAT charges,
  • Breakdown of each item
  • Customs value
  • Item price.

What is a C88 Certificate?

The C88 certificate is a single administrative document which bears the details of your goods and how they are moving.

It acts as a proof of authorization to the country of import or export.

The certificate plays a major role in assisting in the declaration of imports, exports, transits and community status declaration.

What types of Shipment require a Customs Entry?

Shipments with restricted goods mandatorily require customs entry. These may encompass

  • Alcoholics and beverages
  • Animal products
  • Plants and animals
  • Hazardous chemicals and gases and other restricted goods in the country of import or export.

As a result, it is important to check with the country of important and export and be aware of the type of goods that are on restriction. Moreover, you can check on goods that require a customs entry.

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