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Customs Bond

customs bond

The scale of international trade is larger than most people realize. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) statistics, $2.64 trillion worth of goods were imported into America in fiscal year 2018 alone. A customs bond is necessary for those who import merchandise into the United States for commercial purposes. CPB requires a customs surety bond for merchandise valued at over $2,500, along with firearms, food and other imports that are subject to federal mandates. With a customs bond, an individual ensures all duties, fees and taxes associated with imports will be paid to the federal government.

When Will You Need to Obtain a Customs Surety Bond?

There are many scenarios when a customs bond may be needed, including:

  • The importation of merchandise into the United States valued at more than $2,500.
  • An international carrier moves cargo or passengers from a foreign location to the United States.
  • An individual operates a warehouse that is used to store imported or exported merchandise.

If you're unsure whether or not you need to obtain a customs bond, err on the side of caution. More imports require these bonds than not, and without a bond in place it may be impossible to get a shipment through customs. Clear up any uncertainty by contacting the experts on US customs bond requirements here at Viking Bond Service. Our team can help you analyze your situation, evaluate whether you need a bond, and help you seek out additional information as necessary.

Why Are Customs Bonds Important?

These bonds build trust between importers and customs officials. Since the officials know that taxes, fees and other required costs are guaranteed to be paid, they're more willing to accept shipments into the United States.

What Parties are Involved in a Customs Bond?

What is a customs bond? It's a type of surety bond, and all surety bond agreements involve three parties. Understanding how the parties relate to one another makes it easier to understand how customs bonds work as well:

  • The obligee is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. They require importers to have a bond, and they receive compensation if importers break rules related to bringing goods into the country.
  • The principal is the importer, whether an individual or a company. They are responsible for obtaining a US customs bond, renewing it as necessary, and paying for any claims filed as a result of illegal or unethical behavior.
  • The surety is the company that issues the bond. They agree to guarantee payment to the obligee if the obligee files a valid claim and the principal refuses to pay. The surety compensates the obligee and then does whatever is necessary to collect the total owed from the principal.

What Types of Customs Bonds Are Available?

Two types of customs bonds are available:

  • Single Entry Customs Bond: Designed for those who plan to import merchandise infrequently
  • Continuous Customs Bond: Offers a customs bond for those who import merchandise on a regular basis

Selecting the right customs bond requires an individual to consider how often he or she will import merchandise. If an individual intends to import merchandise on one occasion, a single entry bond is ideal. If an individual plans to import merchandise frequently and through multiple points of entry, a US customs continuous surety bond may prove to be the optimal choice. A representative from Viking Bond Service can help you explore both options before deciding which is better.

What Is the Maximum Amount of a Customs Bond?

The amount of a customs bond may vary based on the duties, fees and taxes associated with the imported merchandise.

The CBP will determine the amount of a single entry bond. Typically, this amount is no less than the total value of the imported merchandise 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.

With a continuous customs bond, the minimum bond amount is usually $50,000. For importers, the minimum continuous bond amount is $50,000 or 10 percent of the total taxes and fees that the importer paid in the past 12-month period – whichever amount is greater.

Keep in mind that the actual cost of a customs surety bond is only a percentage of the bond's value, typically in the single digits. The exact price of the premium depends on the bond applicant's credit worthiness.

How Can You Obtain a Customs Surety Bond?

The best way to get started with the bonding process is to call one of our agents or complete the contact form so an agent can contact you. Viking Bond Service agents have been working with our clients for well over a decade to help them obtain the customs surety bond they need. Our agents can let you know exactly what is required for the specific request and work to get the best quote.

Request a Customs Bond Quote:

The sooner you request a bond quote, the sooner you can start importing legally. In addition to being a nationwide surety company that can work with importers located anywhere, Viking Bond Service strives to prepare quotes quickly. In many cases, you will have your quote in under 48 hours. Feel free to reach out to our team for more information by calling 1-888-278-7389 or by filling out the contact form located on this page. If time is of the essence, get the bond process started by completing our easy online application.

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