What is a Customs Bond?
A Customs Bond or an Import Bond is a contract between the importer, the surety company that provides the bond, and The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This contract is meant to guarantee the payment of import duties and taxes upon entry into the United States and is required by the CBP for all import shipments.
What types of customs bonds are there?
There are two basic types of customs bonds:
1. Single Entry / Transaction Bonds
A Single Entry Bond (SEB) covers a single Customs entry of one shipment. Most bond companies will not issue an SEB more than three times a year, as it creates scrutiny within the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The cost of an SEB varies depending on the mode of transportation. The minimum cost for an SEB is $65 when shipped by air, and $140 when shipped by ocean. Ocean shipments, for example, require two separate bonds (ISF Bond and Entry Bond).
2. Continuous / Annual Bonds
Annual bonds are valid for a single year. As they are attached to a company’s tax ID/EIN number and can be reused on multiple imports. Moreover, annual bonds are not specific to a certain broker or freight forwarder, so even if you switch customs brokers, your bond will still be valid. A typical annual bond costs $500
An annual bond is a $500 bond, valid for one year. It is attached to a company's tax ID/EIN number and can be reused throughout the year for multiple imports. Annual bonds are not a broker or forwarder-specific bond, so in the case that you switch customs brokers, the bond will still be valid.
How do I get a customs bond?
You can buy customs Bonds through a licensed US customs broker. Customs brokers deal with bond providers, known as a surety company. When an importer purchases a bond the broker will file a unique bond number on their behalf.
How can I indicate my bond size?
In most cases, the bond amount is at least 10% of the total duties and taxes associated with your imports. So, to indicate your bond size, you must know the total amount of duties and taxes incurred on your shipment. After that, follow this chart to understand the size of your bond.
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