Customs Bonds: Single Transaction, Continuous, ISF Bonds
Customs Bonds are required for all ISF Filings and Formal Customs Entries. Customs Bonds are obtained by your Customs Broker at the time of ISF Filing or Customs Entry Declaration to pay together with the Customs Clearance or ISF Filing. Customs Bonds are non refundable insurance guarantees to US Customs for your shipment in the case there are any fines, penalites, unpaid import duty/ fees or any claims imposed by customs if the Importer defaults on payment. If a claim is made on the bond, the Importer is still legally liable to pay back to Surety company who paid on their behalf to US Customs.
Importers are to be aware that even if your shipment is customs released and in your custody, CBP has 1 year for most entry types to make a claim on your shipment in the event of any non compliance or penalties imposed. Any shipments past 1 year from date of entry are liquidated and in most cases CBP will have no more interest in your shipment.
Two types of Customs Bonds:
1. Single Transaction Bond - STB bond covers only a single shipment entry. If the goods are entering the US by ocean vessel, an additional ISF-D Bond is required for Single Transaction Bonds. For air-shipments, ISF-D Bond is not required.
2. Continuous Bond - A continuous bond is the most commonly used bond for frequent Importers and is good up to a year. If you plan on importing more than 2-3 times a year, a Continuous Bond is recommended for a more efficient customs clearance process and save on costs.
Custom Bond Value Determination:
Single Transaction – Bond is usually completed for either an amount equal to the value of the merchandise plus the duty, taxes and other fees or, for certain merchandise as determined by U.S. Customs, an amount equal to three (3) times the value of the merchandise.
Continuous Bond – Bond amount is usually equal to 10% of the duty and other import taxes paid in the previous year, in multiples of $10,000 if the duties are less than $1,000,000 or multiples of $100,000 if the duties are over $1,000,000. Currently, the minimum bond amount required by U.S. Customs is $50,000. Further, care should be taken to insure that the bond is sufficient to cover the duty, not the value, on any single shipment of merchandise.
Helpful FAQ links from US Customs: