When importing commercial goods onto U.S. soil, importers must purchase U.S. customs bonds to assure the American government that the importer is in compliance with domestic rules and regulations. These bonds are categorized as either single entry or continuous. Single entry bonds are for a single shipment while continuous bonds are for multiple entries taking place over the course of a year. Continuous bonds are useful for international importers with large volumes of merchandise being transported shore to shore. These bonds often renew annually, but can be discontinued by the importer or authorized representative.
Customs bonds are much like insurance to the government that if an importer does not comply with legal requirements, the governing authority will be compensated for duties, taxes, fees or fines.
U.S. customs bonds are written contracts obtained through an insurance underwriter. Issuers of customs bonds are generally given authorization to do so by the Department of Treasury. The contract is often signed in the presence of witnesses and may be required to bear a seal. Annual service fees and amounts may vary depending on the type of goods being imported as well as the port being entered. Customs bonds are a mandatory part of the import process in the U.S. It’s important that importers find the right underwriter to assist in complying with this requirement.