Four Tips to Keep Your Goods Moving at Customs


Getting goods through U. S. Customs is not always easy, especially for inexperienced small businesses. New anti-terrorism rules have made it more difficult to get through Customs. Also, customs officials are actively making scrutiny at ports and border crossings. However, with a bit of research, help from experts like, and careful planning, small business owners can avoid importing delays and keep their goods moving. The following are some tips to save you money, hassle, and time at the border:

Ensure You Have Accurate and Complete Paperwork

Even a single error in your paperwork can lead to delays at Customs. That is why you must accurately and completely describe every item included in your shipment. Customs officials are suspicious of unclear descriptions and undeclared items.

Be Aware of the Impact of Tariff on Your Shipment

You need to get an official confirmation of what you are shipping from U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before your shipment arrives at the dock. This binding ruling confirms the classification of your product under the U. S. Harmonized Tariff System (HTS). It will ensure that your product can legally cross the border. It can be challenging to find your correct HTS code, so if you are not sure, use an experienced customs broker to ensure you get the right code.

Get a Compliance Certificate

Is your product regulated by the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission? If so, you must get a compliance certificate from this agency that confirms this product meets safety standards. Depending on your product, there are different kinds of certificates you may need.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help

Because of the complexity of import-export rules, you might have to consult an expert. It is usually not a good idea to try to manage Customs yourself despite the availability of DIY tracking software. A reputable customs broker could be worth the cost. 

If your goods require a formal entry and don’t qualify for the exemption, you must have an account with a Customs broker and have documentation prepared before shipping. Often, documentation is completed by the exporter or supplier before the delivery of goods to the carrier. Ultimately, the Importer of Record has the responsibility to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the documentation. You need to have all the proper documentation and information. After you submit the paperwork to your broker, they will review the information for accuracy before it is submitted to the CBP.