Anyone wishing to import goods into the United States or engage in import related operations is required to post a surety bond or cash equal to that bond amount with U.S. Customs. This posting protects the Customs revenue and ensures compliance with the regulations of the United States pertaining to importing and related activities. Cash may be posted in the form of U.S. currency, U.S. Treasury notes or Treasury bonds and will be held by Customs until Customs determines the security is no longer required. This could be for several years. In most cases, the best alternative is the posting of a U.S. Customs Bond (CBP bond). The CBP bond is a multi-purpose document used for a range of activities from importing or operating a bonded warehouse to serving as a bonded truckmen or operating an international shipping fleet or airline. The CBP bond can be used to cover importing activities on a single transaction or continuous basis. When the CBP bond is completed for single transactions, it covers only one transaction. When the CBP bond is executed as a continuous bond, it will normally cover all transactions by the principal while the bond is valid.
What is a Customs bond?
A Customs bond is a financial guaranty between 3 parties: the Insurance/Surety company issuing the Customs bond, the Principal (who is required to file the bond), and Customs & Border Protection (CBP). The Customs bond guarantees Customs & Border Protection that if they cannot collect monies due from the Principal they can seek remedy, up to the bond amount, from the Insurance/Surety company. The Customs bond also indemnifies the Insurance/ Surety company, allowing them to use any legal means to collect from the Principal any monies that were paid to CBP on the Principal’s behalf.
Types of Customs bonds
There are many types of bonds required by Customs & Border Protection (CBP) for various reasons. The import bond is required by CBP from all importers in order to clear entries through Customs. An importer may file a “Single Entry” import bond or a “Continuous” import bond.
You can obtain a Customs and Border Protection bond (CBP 301) (Addendum to CBP Form 301) through a surety licensed by the Treasury department. A list may be found on Treasury’s Financial Management Service’s Web site.
Many Customs brokers are also agents for sureties and sell bonds. A list of brokers in your state is available on this Web site. Be aware some brokers will not issue you a bond without you giving them power of attorney to file your entry on your behalf.
For information on how to determine the appropriate bond amount for the type of bond required for your circumstance, please reference Monetary Guidelines for Setting Bond Amounts.