Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do You Need A License Or Permit To Import?

A: As a general rule you do not need any type of a license to import or to be an importer. There are some exceptions, for example alcohol, firearms, and other specific products. We always encourage importers to do research  before purchasing product from overseas.

Q: What is a Customs Power of Attorney?

A: The Customs Power of Attorney is a limited Power of Attorney which allows the customs broker to sign Customs documents on behalf of the importer. The Customs Power of Attorney must be signed by an officer of the corporation, a partner of the partnership, or by the owner of the merchandise if an individual. Supporting doucmentation for Partnerships, LLCs and individuals is required along with the power of attorney per Federal Regualtions.

Q: Why do I need a Customs Bond?

A: According to Customs regulations, the purpose is "to protect the revenue of the United States and to assure compliance with any pertinent law, regulation or instruction."
There are two types of Customs bonds:
a.) Single Entry Bonds; and b.) Continuous Bonds.
-Single Entry Bond (SEB) is good for only one transaction   -
Continuous Bond is good for one year.

Q: How long, and what kinds of records does the importer need to retain?

A: Importers are required to keep all records relating to a Customs entry for 5 years from the date of entry. The records kept include bill of lading, commercial invoices, packing lists, price quotes, inventory receipts, financial statements, copies of the Customs entry and all other documents relating to the importation of the goods.

Q: What is Marking of Products?

A: Simply stated, almost all imported products are required to be marked in English with their country of origin in a permanent manner and in a conspicuous place.  Some products have specific marking procedures.

Q: Proof of Freight Charges Required?

A: Freight charges serve two purposes in regards to import transactions:

a) Determining the dutiable value or the price actually paid or payable for a shipment.

b) Statistical Purposes.

In cases where the freight charges are not included in the price of the merchandise (i.e. FOB shipment) an estimate of the actual charges is acceptable, since they are solely used for statistical purposes.

However, when the freight is included in the price of the merchandise (i.e. C&F shipment) these charges must be accurate. It is the importers' responsibility to possess documentary proof of the freight charges that are being deducted in order to reach the dutiable value of a shipment.

As brokers, it is our responsibility to rely on the accuracy of the information reported by our clients for use in preparation of their Customs entries. In order to insure compliance with all regulations, we will require written advice as to the type and amount of charges associated with your shipments.

Q: What information is required on the Commercial Invoice?

A: Minimal information for general merchandise should include SELLER, BUYER, COUNTRY OF ORIGIN OF MERCHANDISE,  a COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF THE GOODS IN ENGLISH , QUANTITY AND COSTS OF GOODS.  This information is stated in detail in 19CFR 141.86 (Customs Regulations)
Some products, such as food products, may require more details in order to properly submit documentation to Food and Drug Administration.

Q: What is required additionally on invoices for products subject to FDA?

A: All entities who have handled the product for export to the USA as well as the U.S. importer/warehouse must have an FDA registration number  (see for registration).  Merchandise must be fully described as to packaging, weights or measures, possibly ingredients and how prepared, or the importer must be able to provide this information.

Q: What are your fees? 

A: Our entry fees begin at $150 for a one-line, one-invoice entry.  Other fees may apply depending on the type of clearance you shipment may require

General Quote:  

Entry  $150.00  
*Bond  $50.00 min.($2.50 x $1,000 of the total of the invoice plus duty)         (value + duty = bonded amount)
**ISF Bond  $75.00  
Courier      $35.00 (overnight packet- FedEx)  
Messenger $25.00 (local Houston)  
**ISF  $35.00  ($5.00 per manufacture after 7)  
OGA   To Be Quoted  
Remote File Entry  $50.00  
Additional Invoices  $10.00  
Additional Tariff Lines $5.00 (after 3 lines)  










*Entry Bonds for OGA (Other Government Agencies are based on the total of the invoice value + duty x 3= bonded amount) 

**Not applicable to Air shipments

The above quote detail excludes customs duty, exams fees or other related shipping costs that may apply to shipments.