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U.S. Customs Bonds

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What Is a U.S. Customs Bond? 

United States customs bonds are a type of surety bond that ensure importers of merchandise into the U.S. pay all taxes, fees and duties in full and on time. They also hold importers liable for paying any customs fines or penalties. 

There are two primary types of customs surety bonds: 

  1. Single-Entry Customs Bond (SEB): Covers one instance of importing goods into the United States 
  2. Continuous Customs Bond: Provides coverage for ongoing importation at multiple ports of entry 

SuretyBonds.com only issues continuous customs bonds. 

How Do U.S. Customs Bonds Work? 

Surety bonds allow Customs and Border Protection to clear shipments more quickly. Rather than requiring upfront cash to release goods, they can move cargo immediately and allow the bonded importer to pay duties within 10 days. 

Like all surety bonds, U.S. customs bonds are legally-binding contracts between three parties: 

  • Principal: The individual or customs broker importing goods into the U.S who purchases the bond 
  • Surety: The provider who issues the bond and financially backs the principal
  • Obligee: The U.S. Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

If you fail to pay taxes, fees or duties, CBP can file a claim against the bond to recoup financial damages. 

Who Needs a U.S. Customs Bond? 

Most individuals involved with importing merchandise into the United States need to file a customs surety bond with the CBP, including the following: 

  • Importers of food or firearms to sell
  • Anyone importing over $2,500 worth of merchandise to sell
  • International carriers (boat, plane or vehicle) bringing cargo or people into the U.S. 
  • Warehouse owners storing imported goods 
  • Customs brokers 

Working with a bonded customs broker who imports goods on your behalf can cover the bond requirement. 

How Much Does a U.S. Customs Bond Cost?

The customs surety bond amount is set by the port director at your point of entry. 

  • Single entry bond amounts are usually calculated as the total merchandise value plus any taxes, duties and fees. 
  • Continuous customs bond amounts are set at 10% of the total taxes, duties and fees paid in the year prior or $50,000 — whichever value is greater.

To learn more, read the CBP’s guide on how it sets bond amounts.  

How Do I Get a U.S. Customs Bond? 

  1. Complete CBP Form-301, listing the specific types of merchandise you plan to import in detail.
  2. Apply for a continuous customs surety bond at SuretyBonds.com.
  3. Purchase your U.S. customs bond after receiving a free quote. 

We’ll electronically file your bond information with the obligee on your behalf. You can request a copy of the filing report as proof of bonding

How Fast Can I Get a Customs Bond? 

SuretyBonds.com provides the fastest way to get a customs surety bond, plus friendly customer support at each step of the way. Apply now and receive a free quote within one business day. 

Once we file your bond, the CBP will typically take one to two weeks to approve your bonded status. 

How Do I Renew My U.S. Customs Bond?

U.S. customs bonds last for a one-year term. When you work with SuretyBonds.com, we’ll notify you when it’s time for renewal. To renew your continuous customs bond, simply pay your emailed invoice and we will verify your active bond status with the CBP. 

More Resources 

Call 1 (800) 308-4358 to talk with a Surety Expert