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Freight from the USA

Entry Of Merchandise into the U.S. Commerce Zone

Everything in  U.S. Customs regarding international shipping imported to the USA cargo is built around ENTRY DOCUMENTATION.

The word ENTRY, as referred to by U.S. Customs, means FILING OF DOCUMENTS for international shipments arriving in the USA.


Per 19 CFR 141.0, "Entry" means that documentation required by Sec. 142.3 of this chapter is to be filed with the appropriate Customs officer to secure the release of imported merchandise from Customs custody or the act of filing that documentation on international shipments.

There are THREE TYPES of filing documents for international shipments arriving in the USA:

  1. SUBMISSION - Voluntary delivery for preliminary review. HAS NO LEGAL STATUS. U.S. Customs reviews documents and confirms that they are correct OR show errors.
  2. FILING - OFFICIAL delivery of documents to U.S. Customs in proper form. HAS LEGAL STATUS.
    Proper forms must have NO CLERICAL ERRORS.
    Mast be with DUTY CHECK ATTACHED.
  3. As an exception, PRESENTATION. For QUOTA ONLY.



Broker - Agent for the principal (the international shipper)

Importer of Record - The importer of record is the individual or firm liable for payment of all duties and meeting all statutory and regulatory requirements incurred as a result of the importation of international shipments.

Freight Forwarder - arrange international shipping, including documents for the international shipping (do not responsible for customs documents)

Carrier - (a) Common carrier for international shipments - for the public, (b) Privet carrier for international shipments - carry own goods only.

Bill of Lading - This is an International Shipping Receipt. (a) Negotiable - can be signed like a check, (b) Non-Negotiable - cannot be signed.

Commercial Import - anything to do with business

Country of Origin - where goods (1) Grown; (2) Made; (3) Mined; (4) Manufactured; (5) under where Substantial Transformed.

Substantial Transformation means that goods:

Otherwise, goods must be changed. Example: assembled from foreign parts.

!!! DUTY & QUOTA ARE BASED ON Country of Origin !!!

Country of Export - where goods were sold or internationally shipped, with shipped having precedence oversold.


Country of Origin Country of Export ? USA
Germany Switzerland France
A B C Destination
1. Made in "A" and flown directly to the USA. Then C/O="A" & C/E="A"
2. Made in "A," Stored in "B," and flown from "B" to the USA. Then C/O="A", C/E="B"
If goods are stored and shopped from "B," C/Export is "B"!!!
3. Made in "A" and Tracked through "B' to "C" and put on a ship in "C" to the USA. Then C/O="A", C/E="A"
Transshipment under a Trough Bill of Lading for international shipping DOES NOT CHANGE Country of Export!!!
Happens all the time, especially in landlocked countries.


  • The country of Export determines VALUATION.
    To determine the valuation, the DATE OF EXPORT must be determined.
  • The country of Export determines the COUNTRY where it SHIPPED FROM
  • DATE OF EXPORT determines CURRENCY CONVERSATION, and it is the last day in the Country of Export REGARDLESS OF REASON!!!

Example: A ship departed from a port of Country of Export and then, due to mechanical problems, returned to the port of Country of Export. Then the DATE OF EXPORT IS the last day in the Country of Export REGARDLESS OF REASON!!! The currency will be converted on the DATE OF EXPORT. It is essential to understand that the date of export was NOT a date when goods left a city, but the day when they left the Country of Export. REGARDLESS OF REASON!!!



ExFactorty - price does not include any international freight and insurance

FOB-point - Free On Board to point. The seller pays international freight and insurance to board at the vessel point.
Example: FOB Bremen, Germany; Vessel OOCL "Gold Star"/ V123

FAS-point - Free Along Side to Point. The seller pays international freight and insurance to a dock next to the ship.
Important!: Point must name, address, and # of the dock.

CAF-point - Cost, Insurance, Freight to the point.

The point is critical! Do not mix the Seaport with the Airport, etc. It must be appropriately specified.


The duty rates, GSP eligibility, quota status, priority, and time limits for liquidation are all determined by the time of entry!

Merchandise for which entry is requested must be entered by the Importer of Record within 15 calendar days.

In general, the RELEASE DATE is the time of entry.

Entry documentation for international shipping may be submitted BEFORE the merchandise arrives within the port's limits.


  1. Customs from CF 3461, except CF 7533, can be used for goods imported from a contiguous country.
  2. Evidence of the right to make entry.
  3. Rated invoice.
  4. Packing list if appropriate.
  5. Other federal government agencies (OGAs) require other international shipping documents for a particular international shipment.
  6. All entries must be covered by a bond or secured by a cash deposit. (with certain limited exceptions).


The CF 7501 or 3311, as appropriate, will serve as BOTH the Entry and Entry Summary.
Estimated duty must be deposited with U.S. Customs at the time of filing of entry documentation or the entry summary (when it serves as both entry and entry summary)

CF 3461 CF 7501  
Arrival/Entry Summary Liquidation
15 calendar days from the date of entry 10 working days One year from the day of entry
Arrival means a date when a ship entered a port limit intending to unlade (time of arrival) Payment with the duty must be attached U.S. Customs exhausts all legal interests


Posting a bond on international shipments is a warrant to U.S. Customs. A bond is an insurance policy. U.S. Customs is the beneficiary.
However, bonds put a lien on merchandise (if duty is not paid in 10 working days, i.e., 7501 is on time, then the insurance company can take a right over the merchandise). One bond can serve multiple purposes.

Entry Summary form CF 7501:

Liquidation: 1 year from entry, U.S. Customs exhausts all legal interests on international shipments that arrive in the USA.



  1. Formal - Commercial goods valued at over $2,000. IMPORTANT!: $2,000 NON-invoice value, but Customs value. It must have a bond.
  2. Informal - (1) Commercial goods under $2,000; (2) Non-commercial goods regardless of value. (3) U.S. goods return valued under $10,000. No bond is required.



This is a general description of a customs entry (i.e., customs clearance) involving an initial customs declaration made by the importer or importer's agent (a customs broker), usually resulting in the release of the cargo from customs custody, followed by a process which allows CBP (U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection) to scrutinize further the importers' declaration (HTS classification, valuation, duty computation, etc.,) and compliance with other requirements affecting the importation, collect additional information about the transaction on international shipping. This leads to either:

1. Acceptance by CBP of the importer's declaration, or,
2. A CBP changed this declaration regarding tariff classification, customs entered value, and other information associated with the entry and fact of importer compliance with an entry for international shipping requirements.

One way or the other, a formal entry in international shipping is different from an informal entry in that it is a 2-step process requiring CBP to "finalize" it after initial cargo release, an event known as entry liquidation (the only exceptions being a transportation entry, an entry under a temporary import bond, or an informal entry deemed as self-liquidating).

Because imported goods are released before CBP has determined that the importer's declaration is correct, an importer is required to provide CBP with an importer customs bond as security that the importer will be responsible for providing needed information on international shipments, taking actions required by CBP, and paying customs duty found due on the import.

The requirement for a formal entry in international shipping is typically based on value. According to CBP document(s) relating to the ABI system, a "formal entry" is defined "as the international shipping documentation required (either electronic or paper) to secure the release of imported merchandise that is either valued more than $2000 or if valued less than $2000, would otherwise require the submission" (of documents known as a formal entry). CBP may require a formal entry for any importation at their discretion.

There are also a few cases in which a formal entry in international shipping may be waived for higher value imports (e.g., household goods, personal effects, and American goods returned inspected and determined by marking or other criteria to be clear of U.S. origin).


  1. CONSUMPTION ENTRY (90%) - Entered for U.S. Commerce with the intent of being sold after it passes U.S. Customs clearance.

  2. IMMEDIATE DELIVERY - (1) Goods from Canada and Mexico; (2) Fresh fruits and vegetables and other perishable; (3) To of for the account of any Federal government agency.
    They are used in some cases by applying for a Special Permit for Immediate Delivery on CF 3461 before the arrival of merchandise. If approved, then international shipment will be released immediately after arrival. Duty must be paid within 10 working days of the release.

  3. WAREHOUSE ENTRY - Entered in a bonded warehouse. It must be in bond. Do not pay duty and taxes.

    The goods may remain in a Customs bonded warehouse for up to FIVE years from the date of importation. The goods may be re-exported or withdrawn for consumption during those FIVE years. Perishable explosives, etc., are prohibited.

    It is still filed on CF 7501 but without payment of duty. If goods will be withdrawn for consumption, then the value declared on the original entry remains the same. However, the duty rate is in effect at the time of withdrawal.

    Moving the international shipping goods to another bonded warehouse in the same port can be made under a Delivery Ticket (CF 6043).
    A Re-warehouse Entry must be filed on a CF 7501 if moved to another port.


  5. TRANSPORTATION ENTREE - For transportation of internationally shipped goods through the USA territory. It must be in bond. Do not pay duty and taxes. (1) Entry for immediate transportation without appraisement; (2) Warehouse withdrawal for transportation; (3) Warehouse withdrawal for exportation; (4) Entry for transportation and exportation; (5) Entry for exportation.

    CF 7512
    used for entries: IT (In Transit); T&E (Transportation and Exportation); WDT&E (Warehouse Withdrawal for Transportation and Exportation); WDE (Warehouse Withdrawal for Exportation)

    Entry for immediate transportation without appraisal in international shipping is UNIQUE (CF 7512) because it is the only form of entry that may be made by someone other than the customs broker. "Anyone with interest."

  6. TRADE FARE - Strictly for trade fare.

  7. APPRAISEMENT ENTRY - When the value of goods is unknown. (1) International shipping goods damaged on a voyage that was not the fault of the shipper: by fire, rusted, etc.; (2) International shipping goods recovered from a wrecked, stranded, or sunken vessel; (3) International shipping Household goods used aboard and personal effects returned by the owner for his use, not for sale; (4) International shipping Gifts to a person in the U.S.; (5) International shipping Tools of trade of person arriving in the USA; (6) International shipping Personal effects of U.S. Citizen who died aboard; (7) International shipping Secondhand articles; (8) International shipping Articles deteriorated before exportation; (9) International shipping Articles imported which are not purchased or considered a commercial transaction.

    All types of entries 1-7 must be filed within 15 days of arrival.

  8. MAIL ENTRY - Do not have to be filed within 15 days. It is EXCEPTION.



This simplified consumption entry procedure can be used for low-value commercial international shipments and non-commercial shipments such as personal effects or gifts. Informal entries in international shipping are considered self-liquidating (i.e., there is no entry liquidation process following the release of the cargo), and the importer does not have to provide CBP (U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection) with a customs bond.

According to CBP document(s) relating to the ABI system, an "informal entry" is defined "as the documentation required (either electronic or paper) to secure the release of imported merchandise that is either valued less than $2000 or if valued more than $2000, would otherwise be released on an informal entry (e.g., personal effects & household goods)."

An informal entry in international shipping can be filed electronically or made using several different paper Customs Forms provided directly to the customs inspector according to the type of goods and circumstances of entry (forms can be downloaded from the CBP website Forms page at ):

1. CF 7512, Entry Summary, used as an informal entry document for dutiable international shipments not exceeding $2000 in value, for duty payment, receipt, and release of dutiable goods.

2. CF 3299 Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles, used for free entry of internationally shipping household goods and personal effects - must be completed and signed by the owner of goods.

3. CF 3311 Declaration for Free Entry of Returned American Products, commonly referred to as American goods returned (AGR), used for entry of U.S. origin internationally shipping goods valued at up to $10,000, subject to verification by CBP before release (formal entry required for those valued over $10,000).

4. CF 7523 Entry and Manifest of Merchandise Free of Duty, Carrier's Certificate and Release, used for entry of internationally shipping goods which are unconditionally duty-free

For more information on informal entries in international shipping, refer to 19 CFR 143.21 through 28. See also definitions for formal entry and Section 321 release.


  1. American goods returned for repair or alteration in value under $10,000 (AGR).
    CF 3311 - Declaration of American Goods Return.


    • AGR Under $2,000 (except 250 group)
    • AGR under $10,000 was returned for repair and exported from the USA.
    • AGR under $10,000 rejected by foreign buyers. Require CF 3311 AND CF 7501. However, it is still an informal entry. No bond is required, and there is no duty on it.

    All entries over $10,000 must be done as FORMAL entries.

  2. American goods are internationally shipped and returned after being rejected by the foreign purchaser.
  3. Any installment not exceeding $2000 in value of a shipment arriving at different times.
  4. A portion of one consignment, as long as it does not exceed $2000.
  5. Household and personal effects or tools of the trade.With exceptions:
    • Internationally shipping Cars;
    • Internationally shipping Dangerous goods;
    • Suppose it contains over $250 of particular merchandise. The amount has been frozen since 1930 by the U.S. Union for U.S. Union protection. (Examples: gloves, shoes, textiles, matrices, etc. These items are covered in Sections 7,8,11,12 of Harmonize tariffs. Many of those items are subject to visa or quota).


  6. A library or other eligible institution imports books under certain classifications.


MULTIPLE ENTRY SUMMARY can be done for several international shipments that come from the same importer for the same consignee if:

  1. Goods arrive in ONE WEEK.
  2. 10 working days begin from the date of the first entry.
  3. The minimum quantity is one box or one metric ton in bulk.



Right to make an entry in international shipping is proof that you are an Importer of Record (not necessarily to be a consignee).

Importer of Record - Customs call them legally responsible for EVERYTHING. The importer of record is the individual or firm liable for payment of all duties and meeting all statutory and regulatory requirements incurred due to the importation of international shipping.

Who can make an international shipping entry? CFR19.141.11 - (1) Owner; (2) Purchaser; (3) U.S. Customs Broker.


If, for some reason, no owner and no consignee for international shipping are available, then CHB files "Actual Owner's Declaration" CF 3347 (CFR 19.141.20). CHB normally would not do that, except, for example, if an owner of goods is outside of the USA and cannot sign for the goods. Then, within 90 days, CHB files another CF 3347 and transfers the right to the actual owner. Everything must be done in bonds.

If the Importer of Record is NOT a U.S. resident (company), then must have:

  1. A Power of Authority to U.S. Custom Broker.
  2. Must designate a U.S. domestic Agent for Service and Process within the state where entry is made (CHB is typical).
  3. Must have a bond in the U.S. domestic surety.


In international shipping, a U.S. Customs broker must have a POWER OF AUTHORITY to act as a customs broker on behalf of a client.

ORIGINAL OF POWER OF AUTHORITY must be kept in the CHB office (not at Customs), original only, at all times. If Customs cannot have the original, a broker will be fined $1000.

Important: Power of Authority is valid UNTIL IT IS REVOKED with one exception: FOR PARTNERSHIPS, IT IS VALID FOR TWO YEARS ONLY.

Who can sign the Power of Authority in international shipping?

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