Posted on

Import Compliance – 12 Things Your Overseas Supplier Can Do To Expedite US Customs Clearance

Are you losing sleep at night worrying that your latest import order will not clear customs in time to meet your company’s or customer’s requirement? Or worse, are you wondering if the shipment will clear at all due to some ‘administrative’ error?

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has 12 suggestions that you can make to your overseas suppliers to ensure faster customs clearance of your merchandise.

1. Include all information required on your customs invoices.

2. Prepare your invoices carefully. Type them clearly. Allow sufficient space between lines. Keep the data within each column.

3. Make sure that your invoices contain the information that would be shown on a well prepared packing list.

4. Mark and number each package so it can be identified with the corresponding marks and numbers appearing on your invoice.

5. Show a detailed description on your invoice of each item of merchandise contained in each individual package.

6. Mark your goods legibly and conspicuously with the country of origin unless they are specifically exempted from country of origin marking requirements.

7. Comply with the provisions of any special laws of the United States that may apply to your goods, such as laws relating to food, drugs, cosmetics, alcoholic beverages, radioactive materials, and others.

8. Observe the instructions closely with respect to invoicing, packaging, marking, labeling, etc., sent to you by your customer in the United States. He or she has probably made a careful check of the requirements that will have to be met when your merchandise arrives.

9. Work with CBP to develop packing standards for your commodities.

10. Establish sound security procedures at your facility and while transporting your goods for shipment. Do not give narcotics smugglers the opportunity to introduce narcotics into your shipment.

11. Consider shipping on a carrier participating in the Automated Manifest System (AMS).

12. If you use a licensed customs broker for your transaction, consider using a firm that participates in the Automated Broker Interface (ABI).

For more information about import compliance or customs trade compliance please visit