What is Customs Entry?

Who May Make a U.S. Customs Entry?

Not everyone may make a customs entry. Only parties qualified as the “importer of record” may make entry.  Customs law defines “importer of record” as the owner or purchaser of the merchandise, or, when appropriately designated by the owner, purchaser or consignee, a licensed customs broker.  Carriers may not make entry.  Note also, that a parent company may not enter merchandise for a subsidiary company based on the corporate relationship.

What Merchandise Must Be Entered Via a Customs Entry?

With very few exceptions (such as human remains and the Internet), all merchandise imported into the U.S. is required to be entered even if it is duty-free. The U.S. Customs Territory is defined as the U.S. States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Types of Customs Entries

Depending on the circumstances, imported merchandise may be entered for consumption, entered for warehouse, admitted into a foreign trade zone or transported in bond to another port of entry or country.

The most popular type of entry is a consumption entry, which is filed with the intent to introduce the goods into the stream of U.S. commence. 

What is Customs Entry Process?

 The entry process is completed in two steps: 

1.     At the time of entry, an importer of record (or its designee) must file a Customs Form 3461, a commercial invoice, packing list and other documentation necessary to determine admissibility.

2.     Within 10 working days after the time of entry, a follow-up entry summary on CF 7501, with estimated duties attached, must be filed.

What are Customs Entry Requirements?

At the time of entry, the importer must file a bond. The basic importation bond is a contract whereby a guarantor (the surety) has an obligation to pay a second party (CBP) upon default by a third party (the importer of record) in the performance that the third party owes to the second party. The failure to file an entry summary or other documentation will result in a demand for liquidated damages against the importer’s bond. 

Pursuant to U.S. Customs law and regulations, the trade must exercise reasonable care in classifying, valuing, marking and entering its goods.

What is Entry Liquidation?

Entry liquidation is the final step in a customs entry process. It is the final computation or ascertainment of the duties accruing on an entry.

Customs has 314 days from the date of entry to “liquidate” the entry or to extend the liquidation. Liquidation can be extended up to 3 years.  An entry not liquidated within 4 years from the date of entry shall be deemed liquidated by operation of law at the rate of duty and value asserted by the importer.  (There are a few situations where liquidation continues to be suspended beyond the 4-year period due to court order).

What serves as the legal evidence of liquidation is A bulletin notice posted in the customhouse serves as the legal evidence of liquidation. A protest disputing an element of an entry (that is qualified as protestable matter under the U.S. customs regulations) must be filed no later than 180 days from the date of liquidation.