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Customs and Compliance

Frequently asked questions about Customs, compliance, and regulations.

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Blank Packing List Template

Use this packing list template to make sure your supplier has provided all the information needed to clear a shipment through Customs.

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CITES | Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.

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Can I Use Wood Pallets and Packaging?

Yes, you can use wood pallets, but note they must adhere to the regulations outlined below.

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Customs Exams: What to Expect

If your shipment has been flagged for a U.S. Customs exam, here's what you can expect in the way of delays and fees.

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Deferment Fee

This is the cost for having your freight forwarder/customs broker pay the Duty and VAT to the customs authorities on your behalf, before billing it to you directly.

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Deferment or Postponed VAT Accounting

A foreign entity can appoint a tax representative in the import country to represent their business with the Tax and Customs Administrations.

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External Transit (T1)

This is the cost for having your freight forwarder/customs broker pay the Duty and VAT to the customs authorities on your behalf, before billing it to you directly.

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FDA Clearance Basics: Food

If you are importing food products into the United States, follow these guidelines to ensure FDA compliance.

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FLEGT | Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade

FLEGT licences are documents issued by timber-producing countries that have ratified a Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU. Read more.

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Hazardous Materials and Hazmat Regulations: The Basics

Learn the basics about importing hazardous materials into the United States.

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How Can I Prevent Customs Exams?

Customs exams are random, but there are ways to minimize the risk of a customs exam.

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How Do I Estimate Customs Duties?

If you know the HTS code the product you're importing, you can estimate the customs duties you will need to pay by following the instructions below.

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How Do I Know the HTS Code of My Product?

You can try to find your HTS code using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

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Importing 3D Printers Into the U.S.

If you are importing 3-d printers into the United States, you should be aware that they may be subject to specific rules and regulations, such as an FCC certification.

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Importing Alcohol Into the U.S.

If you are importing alcoholic beverages into the United States, you should be aware of the rules and regulations that apply, and the special permits that are required.

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Importing Board Games Into the U.S.

If you are importing board games into the United States, you should be aware of these guidelines and regulations.

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Importing Boots Into the U.S.

If you are importing boots into the United States, you should be aware of these guidelines for proper HTS classification.

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Importing Coffee into the United States

If you are importing coffee into the United States, you will need to involve three government agencies: CBP, the FDA, and the USDA.

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Importing From Canada Into the US

If you are importing products from Canada into the United States, you should be aware of the specific requirements for the process. For shipments being imported by truck, you will need the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) number.

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Importing Headphones Into the U.S.

If you are importing headphones into the United States, use these guidelines to determine the proper HTS classification, and to figure out if they might require an FCC declaration.

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Importing Laser Printers Into the U.S.

If you are importing laser printers into the United States, use these guidelines to determine your HTS code classification, and to check for FCC requirements.

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Importing Makeup and Cosmetics into the US

If you are importing makeup or cosmetics into the United States, you should be aware of the laws and regulations that apply.

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Importing Silk Fabric Into the U.S.

If you are importing silk textiles into the United States, you should be aware of these guidelines and regulations.

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Importing Slippers Into the U.S.

If you are importing slippers into the United States, you should be aware of these guidelines for proper HTS classification.

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Importing Sneakers into the U.S.

If you are importing sneakers into the United States, you should be aware of these guidelines for proper HTS classification.

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Importing Tablets and Display Screens Into the U.S.

If you are importing tablets or display screens into the United States, use these guidelines to help determine proper HTS classification, FCC certification, and FDA regulations.

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Importing Toys Into the U.S.

If you are importing toys or children's products into the United States, you should be aware that they are subject to strict safety standards.

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Importing Vehicles Into the U.S.

If you are importing cars into the United States, you should be aware of the necessary duties, paperwork, and regulations.

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Importing Water Bottles Into the U.S.

If you are importing water bottles into the United States, you should be aware that they will require an FDA declaration.

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Importing Wood Furniture Into the U.S.

If you are importing wood furniture into the United States, you should be aware of these guidelines and regulations.

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Importing Wood Products Into the U.S.

If you are importing wood products into the United States, you should be aware of the many rules and regulations surrounding wood product imports.

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Importing into the EU: Customs Duties

The EU classifies products using HS codes, the CN, and TARIC. See below for step-by-step instructions on how to estimate customs duties for EU imports.

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Importing into the EU: FAQs

Imports into the European Union require an EU Importer of Record, EORI number, and a VAT.

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Port filings

A port filing is a notification to the port that a certain container will be on board of a certain vessel going to a certain location with corresponding export declaration documents. It is a step after export clearance.

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Regulatory Compliance for Vehicle Imports

If you are importing automobiles into the United States, you should be aware of these requirements from the EPA, the DOG, and the USDA.

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Sample Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice should include a number of required elements. This annotated example shows a perfect, complete commercial invoice.

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Tariff Quotas | Preferential or Autonomous

Tariff concessions that are provided for a predetermined volume of goods are called "preferential tariff quotas". Learn more.

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Ten Checks for China Trade Compliance

Ten tips for managing compliance when you are importing products from China.

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Types of Customs Holds and Exams: In Detail

See below for a breakdown of the types of holds and exams that your shipment could get pulled aside for by customs, as well as frequently asked questions.

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What Are Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties?

Anti-dumping and countervailing duties are established to protect the U.S. manufacturing industry from foreign manufacturers.

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What Are Country of Origin Labeling Requirements?

U.S. Customs requires that products be labeled with their country of origin. Learn more about these guidelines and the penalties for not following the rules.

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What Labeling Requirements Are There for Textiles?

If you are importing textile products into the United States, you should be aware of these labeling requirements.

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What are royalties and licensing fees?

Royalties are usage-based payments from one party to another. Licensing fees are paid as part of an agreement that define the terms under which a tangible property is licensed for use by one party to another.

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What is Fiscal Representation?

A foreign entity can appoint a tax representative in the import country to represent their business with the Tax and Customs Administrations.

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What is Limited Fiscal Representation (LFR)?

Some companies can use LFR (Limited Fiscal Representation) to avoid paying VAT when importing into certain ports.

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What’s the Difference Between a Customs Release (CBP Form 3461) and a Customs Entry (CBP Form 7501)?

CBP Form 3461 is the document submitted electronically to U.S. Customs, where they either release the shipment or designate it for exam. CBP form 7501, the Customs Entry, is used to calculate duties and provide detailed information.

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When Will My Shipment Clear U.S Customs?

When your shipment clears U.S. Customs, you will see a note in the Flexport app.

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Who Pays for Customs Exams?

The importer is responsible for all associated costs if a shipment is pulled for a customs exam.

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Why Aren't Customs Costs Included in My Quote?

Flexport does not include customs charges in the quote because the total cost of customs is unknown at the time of quoting. See below for a list of possible customs charges that may appear on your final invoice.

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