If you are importing coffee into the United States, you will need to involve three government agencies: CBP, the FDA, and the USDA.
Coffee shipments into the US involve three government agencies: US Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Listed below you will find information for each agency that will assist you in clearing your coffee shipment.
What Customs wants you to know
CBP’s “informed compliance” publication that they want every coffee importer to understand is a must-read.
Prior to shipping
Make sure the Country of Origin is clearly marked on each bag. The publication in the link above from CBP provides clear guidelines on marking and classification of coffee products.
An Importer Security Filing (ISF) must be filed no later than 48 hours to your shipment's estimated time of departure from the last foreign port.
Export Documents – Certificate of Origin
Country of Origin certificate is required by the ICO (International Coffee Organization). This is the supplier or shipper’s responsibility. For more information you can go to http://www.ico.org/
At time of entry
A customs bond will be required to clear goods through CBP. If you don’t have a continuous bond, you may purchase one through Flexport. A new bond takes approximately 5 days to process through CBP.
Your CBP entry can be filed five days prior to your shipment’s arrival. However, your goods can not be cleared until the FDA & USDA inspections are completed.
Inspections (FDA & USDA)
Both the FDA and the USDA will inspect your shipment.
FDA will sample your shipment based on size. Below are the FDA guidelines.
Inspections can result in additional charges if:
Prior to arrival
The application for the permit to import plant or plant products (USDA PPQ587) must be completed and submitted to the USDA.
The FDA requires a Prior Notice Filing (which Flexport can help with) prior to your shipment’s arrival. You will need to provide the following information to your broker to assist them in completing the electronic filing:
The FDA also requires registration for all food facilities. This applies to both US import and export facilities that handle and process coffee.
To register go to the following links on the FDA website:
Making sure your paperwork is in order prior to your shipment’s arrival will help to ensure your goods are cleared in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Note that Flexport does not import coffee at this time.