Customs Broker FAQ

Browse the most frequently asked questions regarding imports and customs. Can’t find the answers you need? Please send an email to Affan@BluefinCHB.com I’ll be happy to get back to you with personalized information as soon as possible.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen?2020-02-14T08:48:40+00:00

No. Bluefin CHB offers imports to the USA for both US & Internationally based businesses or individuals.

How long does it take to process for customs?2020-10-11T03:26:32+00:00

Our goal is to process your shipment for customs within 1 day, however complex entries can take up to 2-3 days.

Will I need a credit card to process a shipment?2020-10-11T03:24:38+00:00

No- payments will be processed via ACH Wire transfer, or check copy.

Is signing the Power of Attorney Mandatory?2020-02-14T08:54:14+00:00

Yes. A power of attorney is mandatory in the USA in order for Bluefin to act as your Customs Broker.

What documents do i need to provide Bluefin for my import?2020-02-14T08:55:12+00:00

For simple imports, only a commercial invoice (bill of sale is required. More complex imports may require completed partner government agency forms. All other documentation will com directly from your carrier.

What is an Importer of Record?2020-02-14T08:56:10+00:00

Importer of record refers to an importer, whether an entity or individual, who is responsible for ensuring that legal goods are imported in accordance with the law of the place. The Importer is responsible for filing legally required documents.

What is a commercial invoice?2020-02-14T08:56:57+00:00

The Commercial Invoice is the basic statement of the seller to the buyer for goods shipped; it ideally represents a complete record of the business transaction between the exporter and the importer with regard to the goods sold. A Commercial invoice must include: Vendor contact info, Buyer contact info, detailed item description, country of manufacture of the goods, price, quantity, and HTS codes.

What is a Customs Bond?2020-02-14T08:57:38+00:00

A customs surety bond is a contract used for guaranteeing that a specific obligation will be fulfilled between customs and an importer for any given import transaction. The main purpose of a customs bond is to guarantee the payment of import duties and taxes.

What is an Continuous (Annual) Bond?2020-02-14T08:58:21+00:00

This is the most common and cost effective bond as it covers all imports for 1 year. This Bond generally covers an amount of $50,000.00 USD and costs $450.00 USD. Larger Bonds as well as Bond Extensions can be purchased as well.

Does a Continuous (Annual) Bond cover an ISF bond as well?2020-02-14T08:59:02+00:00

Yes, a Continuous (Annual) Bond covers all bond fees including ISF

What is a Single-Entry Bond?2020-02-14T08:59:47+00:00

Single -Entry Bonds are most often used when importers do not expect to receive more than 5-10 low value shipments per year and cost about $5.00 per thousand dollar of the invoice value.

Does a Single-Entry Bond cover an ISF Bond as well?2020-02-14T09:00:22+00:00

No, a Single-Entry Bond does not cover an ISF bond and must be purchased separately.

What is an ISF (10+2) Filing?2020-02-14T09:01:05+00:00

ISF filing as a document detailing specific elements of your shipment such as importer & Vendor contact information. This information must be forwarded to your customs broker for filing with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

What is an ISF Bond?2020-02-14T09:01:41+00:00

An ISF bond is a separate bond required for filing an ISF (10+2). It is not required when using a Continuous (Annual) Bond.

When must ISF (10+2) be filed?2020-02-14T09:02:15+00:00

Your ISF must be filed at least 2 days before the vessel leave the port of origin. Please note late filings may be subject to penalty.

Are there penalties for Filing ISF late?2020-02-14T09:02:56+00:00

Yes. Penalties start at $5,000 for failure to file an ISF, $5,000 for late ISF filing, $5,000 for inaccurate ISF filing, $5,000 for an incomplete ISF filing, and $5,000 for failure to withdraw an ISF. The maximum penalty per ISF filing is $10,000.

Is ISF (10+2) Filing required on all imports?2020-02-14T09:03:29+00:00

No. ISF (10+2) is only required on Ocean Imports.

What is section 321?2020-02-14T09:04:14+00:00

Section 321 is a U.S. Shipment Type for goods to clear through U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is a type of Informal Entry that allows for the release at the border of shipments valued at 800 U.S. dollars or less delivering to one private individual.

What is Customs duty?2020-02-14T09:04:54+00:00

The United States imposes tariffs (customs duties) on imports of goods. The duty is levied at the time of import and is paid by the importer of record. Customs duties vary by country of origin and product. Goods from many countries are exempt from duty under various trade agreements.

How is duty calculated?2020-02-14T09:05:29+00:00

The Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) provides duty rates for virtually every item that exists. The HTS is a reference manual that is the size of an unabridged dictionary.

What is a Merchandise processing fee?2020-02-14T09:06:06+00:00

The merchandise processing fee (MPF) is the U.S. Customs charge of 0.3464% of value (minimum $25, maximum $485) for all imports entering the U.S.

What is Prior Notice (FDA)?2020-02-14T09:06:44+00:00

As of December 12, 2003, FDA must be notified in advance of any shipments of food for humans and other animals that are imported into the U.S unless specifically excluded. This is done in order to give FDA time to review and evaluate information before the product arrives in the U.S., better deploy resources for inspections, and help intercept contaminated products.

What is a disbursement fee?2020-02-14T09:07:36+00:00

Disbursements are expenses incurred by a Customs Broker on behalf of a client, in order for the broker to proceed with that client’s matter. As a Customs broker acting on your behalf, Bluefin must collect and disburse fees on your behalf. A disbursement fee covers the cost of receiving and making such payments.

What is a NAFTA certificate?2020-02-14T09:08:17+00:00

The NAFTA Certificate of Origin is used by Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States to determine if goods imported into their countries receive reduced or eliminated duty as specified by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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