Answering top questions about customs brokers

You want to start your commercial importing business in the US. The first step would be to understand the international trade laws, norms, regulations, and laws related to importing, and it’s important to take note that some import categories are more regulated than others.  Working with a reliable customs broker, such as, could be a great way to manage your importing business, while ensuring compliance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and other government and state agencies at the same time. In this post, we are answering some of the basic questions about customs brokers. 

  1. Is hiring a customs broker mandatory?

No, there is no compulsion that you have to hire a customs broker. In fact, you can choose to work on your own. However, given how volatile and ever-changing international trade laws and importing regulations are, hiring a customs broker is probably the best thing you can do for your business. All customs brokers are licensed by the Customs and Border Protection and may refer to an association, corporation, partnership, or person. 

  1. Is the onboarding process complicated?

No, most customs brokers have an online portal, and you can sign up and get started in minutes. To clear customs, it can take as little as 30 minutes, or often many hours, depending on the shipment. The foremost step is to decide on the customs broker you want to work with, and you will have to sign up a mandatory power of attorney, which allows the customs broker to work on your behalf. 

  1. What documents are required to clear imports? What else can a customs broker do?

If your shipment is a simple one, only a commercial invoice is needed. In some cases, you may have to fill up additional documents, which can be handled by the customs broker. The role of a customs broker is to also advice their clients as needed, offer help and suggestions on importing specific goods, and also to handle import duties and taxes. If refunds can be initiated, they will take care of that, as well. 

If you want to engage a customs broker, we recommend that you check for expertise over everything else. You want to be sure that the customs broker is known, reliable, and has been in the industry for a considerable period of time. Make sure that the onboarding process is simple and the broker offers real live support, as and when needed.

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