Anyone who imports merchandise into the United States for commercial purposes must submit a customs bond to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP). The CBP requires a surety bond (form CPB 301) for merchandise valued at over $2,500, or a commodity subject to other federal agencies requirements (such as firearms or food). You will also need a customs bond if you do one of the following:
- Are an international carrier and transport cargo or passengers via air, vessel or vehicle from a foreign destination to the United States or domestic carrier that merely wants to transport imported cargo “in bond” from one state to another.
- Are a warehouse or facility operator and want to become a customs bonded facility with the ability to store or secure imported or exported goods.
- Perform some activity in a secure CBP area, i.e. cartage, or serve as a Customs Broker or as an approved gauger or laboratory.
There are two types of customs bonds, and the bond amount varies depending on which type of bond you need:
Single Entry Bond
- Used once for a particular transaction
- Bond amount is equivalent to the minimum declared value of your cargo, plus all duties, fees and taxes associated with it
- If the imported merchandise is subject to federal mandates or consists of restricted goods, the bond amount may be no less than three times the total value of the merchandise.
- Used for an annual period, covers all transactions within that year and can be used at any port of entry.
- Bond amount is 10 percent of the total taxes and fees that the importer paid in the past 12-month period. Minimum bond amount is $50,000.
Customs bonds are required by the CBP to guarantee that the principal (importer and anyone partaking in import-related operations) pay duties, taxes and charges in a timely manner and operate in accordance with the regulations of the CBP. If the principal fails to pay the duties, taxes and charges owed or conduct business in a lawful manner, the harmed party can file a claim with the surety company. If the claim is validated, the surety company will pay out up to the penal sum of the bond and any monies paid out must be reimbursed by the principal.