Learn more about customs surety bonds, and apply today. Absolute Surety offers surety bonds nationwide through a convenient online application system.
What Are Customs Bonds?
Customs bonds play an important role is ensuring the smooth processing of import transactions through customs. Their primary purpose is to guarantee that import duties and taxes on a given transaction are paid.
Who Needs Them?
If you are importing goods valued at more than $2,500 into the U.S. for commercial purposes on your own, not working with a customs broker, you will need to obtain a customs bond. If you are working with a customs broker, you should be able to use the broker’s customs bond and not purchase one on your own.
Importing. You will also need a customs bond if you are importing certain commodities that fall under the restrictions of other federal agencies (most frequently food or firearms).
International & Domestic Carriers. These bonds are also required for international carriers transporting cargo or passengers by air, sea, or surface from outside of the U.S. to a U.S. destination, and for domestic carriers transporting imported goods from one state to another.
Warehouse Operators. Warehouse operators must obtain this bond in order to store imported or exported goods.
Others. Certain other professionals, such as customs brokers, must also be bonded in order to work in a secure CBP (Customs and Border Protection) facility.
Continuous Vs Single Entry Bonds
There are two main types of customs surety bonds: continuous and single entry.
Importers who bring in a large number of shipments or who import goods through multiple ports of entry regularly need a continuous bond. This is also true for international carriers with frequent arrivals and departures, and custodians who store and handle goods coming through U.S. ports of entry regularly.
Importers bringing in only a single shipment or import merchandise infrequently need only a single entry customs bond each time.
How Do They Work?
The obligee in a customs bond agreement is the federal government, which requires the bond to ensure the payment of import duties, fees, and taxes. The principal is the importer, and the surety is the underwriter that issues the customs bond.
These bonds are a little different than other bonds in that the surety and the principle may share in the burden of paying valid claims against the bond. Most other surety bond agreements require the principal to reimburse the surety for all claims payments.
What Do They Cost?
The required bond amount for a continuous customs bond is set by the federal government. This is either a flat $50,000 or 10% of the total of all duties, fees, and taxes paid during the preceding 12 months—whichever is greater.
The CBP determines the required amount for a single entry bond based on the value declared for the imported good, duties, taxes, and fees.
The surety will set a premium rate, a percentage of the bond amount, based on the applicant’s credit score and financial standing.
If you know what kind of customs bond you need, ask us for a quote. If you don’t know, contact us, and we’ll help you figure it out.