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What you should know about US Customs:

Importing products into the US requires specific steps and procedures to ensure product entry is carried out without loss or penalties. Some products may have to meet certain US import quotas or may require a visa (certain textiles).

Products must be correctly marked at the factory to meet the country of origin regulations. Packaging regulations also require specific information to be printed on the outside of each carton.

There are three entry points, by land from Mexico or Canada, by ocean to any US port, or by air to any major US airport. All products entered into the US require documentation and processing of documents by filing documentation with Customs, payment to the carrier, payment for customs duties, tariffs and importing expenses. Although any individual can process these documents, the task is intensive, time consuming and laden with pit falls. To avoid these problems, the importer can hire a customs broker who is licensed by the US Customs and Border Protection Service.

All tariffs levied by US Customs must be paid before taking possession of products. The tariff rate levied is based on the Harmonized Tariff and Schedule (HTS) of the US. The product must be identified with its HTS 10 digit number. HTS number is required at the country of manufacture and for entry into the US. You can read more about this here at

The following documents are required,
1- Bill of Lading (B/L): This document issued and provided by the shipper or carrier is a receipt acknowledging they have received the goods for shipment. Bill of Lading identifies the carrier vessel, the destination, and the terms for transporting the goods to the final destination.
2- Commercial Invoice:This document provided by the manufacturer, provides the details of the cost of the goods and is required by Customs to determine the value of goods and assess duties and tariffs.
3- Packing List: This document shows the itemized details of the good in the invoiced shipment and maybe attached to the out side of shipment.
4- Importer Security Filing (ISF): This new form also called 10+2 filing, enacted Jan 2009 requires specific details about chain of custody of the product including who manufactured, who handled and packed the product, etc.

Once imported and cleared, you generally have three days to remove your product from the bonded warehouse before excess storage charges are added to your charges. These charges can add up to be significant.

Understanding these issues is important to processing your shipment efficiently. Of course, Source-Pro will handle all the these steps for you.

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