What is a customs bond?
A customs bond serves as a financial guarantee or contract between three parties: the Importer of Record (IoR)/principal, the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), and the insurance/surety company issuing the bond.
Customs bonds are a form of insurance to protect the U.S. Treasury in the event an importer fails to pay the duties, taxes, and fines or fees incurred on their imports. Customs bonds are purchased from government-licensed surety companies, which are financial entities that specialize in these types of bonds.
Flexport recommends businesses importing shipments into the U.S. to use a continuous customs bond rather than a single-entry customs bond.
A continuous customs bond is a customs bond that will cover all imported shipments for one year from the date of issue and these types of bonds auto-renew on their annual anniversary dates, unless they are terminated by the U.S. CBP, the bond surety, or by the request of the business holding the bond. Continuous bonds are geared towards businesses that import shipments into the U.S. at least 3 times a year. Please note that continuous customs bonds do NOT cover customs clearance fees.
You will be charged a customs clearance fee for every shipment.
On the other hand, single-entry bonds are attached to specific, individual shipments. Flexport usually only helps customers with issuing single-entry bonds in emergency case situations when a customer is working on their company’s eligibility for a continuous bond application.
Why do I need a customs bond?
The importer or principal of a shipment needs to have a customs bond to ensure that all duties and fees associated with the rules and regulations of importing or other customs-related activities are paid to the U.S. CBP. The U.S. CBP requires importers to have a customs bond if commercial goods valued at $2,500 or more are being shipped into the U.S.
If you’re using Flexport Customs Services to import shipments into the U.S., you’ll need to have a customs bond on file in order for your goods to be cleared by U.S. Customs. If you don’t have a customs bond, you can purchase it from Flexport or another outside party. Reach out to our Customer Support team to let them know you'd like to purchase a bond and they'll connect you to the Flexport Customs Broker specialists.