What is a Customs Bond, and When do You Need One?

Scrabble tiles spelling out the words “CUSTOMS BOND” next to a pair of reading glasses on a table in El Paso.

Unless you’re familiar with importing goods into the United States, you likely don’t know what a customs bond is. Customs bonds are extremely important contracts necessary to ensure that importers act within the confines of the law. They’re also one of the most important components of being a successful customs broker. 

If you’re wondering whether or not you need a customs bond, how to get one, and what they are, you’ve come to the right place. Customhouse Brokers Inc. in El Paso is here to help you. Contact us online or call (915) 564-0582 to learn more about our services.

What is a Customs Bond?  

A customs bond is a written contract or agreement between all parties involved in importing goods into a country. They’re necessary for importers who are bringing commercial goods into the United States from other countries. 

A customs bond states that the importer will comply with the US Customs and Borders Protection agency and the surety company. It also states that the importer will pay all taxes, fines, penalties, and import duties associated with their goods and that they are held liable to the surety company if the importer refuses to or cannot pay.  

When do You Need a Customs Bond? 

While customs bonds are necessary for most imports, they may only sometimes be necessary. Here are the instances when a customs bond is required. 

  • You’re importing commercial goods. 
  • Your goods are valued at or above $2,500. 
  • The goods you’re importing must comply with rules from other government agencies. 

For instance, if you’re importing food, drinks, and other perishables that are subject to FDA regulations, you’ll always need a customs bond. However, if you aren’t importing commercial goods, your commercial goods aren’t valued above $2,500, or you aren’t importing anything subject to other government regulations, you don’t need a customs bond

Who is Required to Have a Customs Bond? 

Customs bonds are required for importers of goods from other countries. You can purchase these bonds from customs brokers or hire a customs broker to handle everything for you. However, if importing goods meets the above criteria, you’ll always need a customs bond. 

Is a Customs Bond Always Required? 

While customs bonds are often necessary, they aren’t always required. Here are some instances where you don’t need a customs bond when importing goods. 

  • The goods you’re importing aren’t commercial in nature. 
  • The goods you’re importing aren’t subject to other government regulations and agencies. 
  • The goods you’re importing are commercial but valued at less than $2,500 and aren’t subjected to other government regulations. 

How Long Does a Customs Bond Last? 

How long your customs bond lasts depends on your type of bond. In general, customs bonds last for one year from when you purchase them. However, if you have a continuous bond, it will automatically renew and essentially last until you terminate it. Additionally, if you purchase a one-time customs bond, it will expire once you use it, and you’ll have to purchase another.  

If you don’t want to worry about handling customs bonds and the headache that goes with them, contact us. We’re a full-scale customs broker who will handle all your importing and exporting needs. 

Which Customs Broker to Contact for All Your Customs Bond Needs 

As you can see, there’s a lot to know about customs bonds. If you’re looking to purchase a customs bond or have questions about whether or not you need one, contact us online or call (915) 564-0582. We’re a team of customs brokers that will work with you on your imports from start to finish.