Every port in every country puts your cargo through a customs clearance process to get it from point A to B. It is a delicate process and one that can be like trying to cross a river with only stepping stones. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office alone has a 211-page publication on Importing Into the U.S. While knowing the steps makes the crossing more accessible, don’t forget the pivotal and renowned Entry Summary or CBP Form 7501, because, without it, there is no clearance and no point B!
Customs clearance in brief
Every shipment from outside the U.S. traverses the customs clearance process, yet most importers are still unclear about how it works. Typically, a freight forwarding company is hired to handle customs clearance, which in turn hires a qualified customs broker. The broker gives the importer advice, pays shipment duties, and prepares and submits the requisite import documents to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office to ensure the release of goods from customs. The CBP is a federal law enforcement agency that aims to protect the country’s revenue by collecting taxes, duties, and fees on international trade and traffic. It also works to detect fraud, illegal arms traffic, and more.
Enter CBP Form 7501
So, amongst all the CBP documents required to give goods the green light, why does the make or break Form 7501 stand out? Also, when does it come into the picture?
The Entry Summary, aka CBP form 7501, is one of the most important documents to file with every entry of goods into the U.S. It enables the CBP to determine relevant information regarding the imported commodity, such as assess duties, collect statistics, determine classification and origin, and to decide whether other legal requirements have been met. The form is typically completed and filed by a Customs Broker, but a business should still understand and be familiar with the Entry Summary form. They should keep these forms on file for all past and current entries into the U.S. for at least five years.
When do you need to file Form 7501? Let’s take one step back. Whenever a shipment arrives in the U.S., the importer (or customs broker acting on their behalf) files entry documents for the items with the port director at the goods’ port of entry. A Customs Release form (CBP Form 3461) must be filed to accelerate the release of the goods. As soon as customs sign off on the shipment and release it, the freight forwarder has ten days to file Form 7501.
In a hurry? A beginner? Short on funds? Take note
Carriers who want to speed things up frequently join the Automated Manifest System. They can obtain conditional release authorizations after leaving the country of origin and up to five days before landing in the U.S. If the application is accepted, the shipment is released swiftly after arrival. If your import is urgent and your freight forwarder works with AMS carriers, the benefits are enormous.
Entry (7501) solution lets medium importers file their Entry Summary
If you’re looking to navigate the costly and challenging world of importing, especially if you’re an online business or on a tight budget, consider using an online customs clearance solution. eezyimport’s DIY Self Entry (7501) solution lets medium importers file their Entry Summary. Alternatively, with eezyimport’s DIY Broker Entry (7501) solution, a broker will review your entry and make sure you’re aligned with regulation and ready to file. Both solutions take minutes and offer full visibility and control from any phone, tablet, or desktop, anytime!