Importing to USA non US citizen

by e1337
7 replies
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Hi, I have some confusion, hoping someone can give me some guidance..

I am getting ready to get a shipment sent from China, the supplier has quoted a decent rate CIF for the first shipment.

As I understand the term CIF means the supplier has arranged the export from China and will have completed the forms for it landing in the US.

When it arrives it will be held at customs and I need a customs broker to clear it for me.. Is this right?

I have read that I will need this broker to be the IOR as it needs to be a US citizen/company

Once cleared, I will need to get the collected quickly to avoid warehouse cost at the port, then prepared for FBA and sent to them..

Have I missed anything, any recommendations for the broker piece, I have contacted a few people and none seem very willing to explain things to a newbie, apologies if what I'm asking is obvious, it's got me confused!

Thanks!
Andy
#citizen #importing #usa
  • Profile picture of the author Importexport
    Originally Posted by e1337 View Post

    Hi, I have some confusion, hoping someone can give me some guidance..

    I am getting ready to get a shipment sent from China, the supplier has quoted a decent rate CIF for the first shipment.

    As I understand the term CIF means the supplier has arranged the export from China and will have completed the forms for it landing in the US.

    When it arrives it will be held at customs and I need a customs broker to clear it for me.. Is this right?

    I have read that I will need this broker to be the IOR as it needs to be a US citizen/company

    Once cleared, I will need to get the collected quickly to avoid warehouse cost at the port, then prepared for FBA and sent to them..

    Have I missed anything, any recommendations for the broker piece, I have contacted a few people and none seem very willing to explain things to a newbie, apologies if what I'm asking is obvious, it's got me confused!

    Thanks!
    Andy
    Hi Andy,

    It looks like you have been given some misinformation.

    A Customs Broker would rarely be willing to act as the Importer of Record. (IOR)

    CIF means the cost of the price of the goods, plus that they are paying for freight and insurance to a certain point in the US that they will have (should have) specified according to your requirements.

    The only documentation the supplier will have prepared apart from those necessary to have the goods exit China will be a commercial invoice.

    Also, if you proceed the way you have set out you could incur a lot of unnecessary expense. You need to pre-arrange a few things. I am working on the assumption that this is a small order traveling by air.
    • Arrange with a prepping service to receive the goods, inspect, repack if necessary, then ship to Amazon.
    • Make sure the prepping service is willing to act as IOR.
    • Arrange with Amazon to handle your account and to tell you which depot to deliver to.
    • Get your supplier to quote door to door to your prepping service address. Preferably using an air courier service because they will handle Customs clearance.
    • The carrier whether air courier or other, will likely request a Power of Attorney and depending on the value may require a bond to cover cost of any duty and taxes payable.
    • Make sure any freight quote is for door to door including Customs clearance and make sure you get it in writing.
    • If you have paid any guru-in-training for advice on how to import, ask for a refund and buy a good book on the subject from someone who knows from experience. See signature
    Let me know if the consignment is larger and I will suggest the best procedure.
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    Don't just slap on a label. Build a GREAT BRAND http://powerlabelsforprivatelabelingprofits.com Safe sourcing and easy importing from China & many other countries.https://ko296.isrefer.com/go/pcs001/whay/
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    • Profile picture of the author e1337
      Hi Importexport,

      Firstly, thank you so much for your reply!

      I don't think I have been deliberately fed bad info, I think I am responsible for sourcing it, I haven't paid for one of those 'too good to be true' courses instead have tried to work it out from the resources online but I have found that shipping seems to not be an industry which posts too many 'how to' blogs.

      To clarify my situation, first shipment is coming by sea it's 200 units

      I have approached a couple of prepping services, they didn't seem setup to be my IOR is there a big one which anyone could recommend?

      Door-to-door to the prepping service, yes that makes sense, but is that possible by sea, or is that advice specific to a shipment by air?

      I will take a look at your book, it could really help me out

      Thanks!
      Andy
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      • Profile picture of the author Importexport
        Door to door via sea freight is quite common when you arrange it with your freight forwarder. It saves an enormous amount of hassles and some potential nasty shocks.

        I did say that Customs Brokers are not likely to act as IOR, but I should have added that freight forwarders often act as IOR for their overseas clients. For that they will need your CBP Power of Attorney.
        Signature
        Don't just slap on a label. Build a GREAT BRAND http://powerlabelsforprivatelabelingprofits.com Safe sourcing and easy importing from China & many other countries.https://ko296.isrefer.com/go/pcs001/whay/
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        • Profile picture of the author felixcohen
          Originally Posted by Importexport View Post

          Door to door via sea freight is quite common when you arrange it with your freight forwarder. It saves an enormous amount of hassles and some potential nasty shocks.

          I did say that Customs Brokers are not likely to act as IOR, but I should have added that freight forwarders often act as IOR for their overseas clients. For that they will need your CBP Power of Attorney.
          IOR will be always importer as nobody want's to be responsible for what can probably be imports with questionable quality or even non-compliant dangerous to consumer. What matters is ultimate US-based consignee. It's EIN that customs require for formal clearance and it's something that either customs brokers or prepping services (less likely) will provide.

          I also do not understand why informal clearance value you bring up is below $2000 and not $2500 as this has changed in 2013.
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          • Profile picture of the author Importexport
            Originally Posted by felixcohen View Post

            IOR will be always importer as nobody want's to be responsible for what can probably be imports with questionable quality or even non-compliant dangerous to consumer. What matters is ultimate US-based consignee. It's EIN that customs require for formal clearance and it's something that either customs brokers or prepping services (less likely) will provide.

            I also do not understand why informal clearance value you bring up is below $2000 and not $2500 as this has changed in 2013.
            Thanks for pointing out my little typo. You are quite right, the maximum for an informal clearance is $2,500.

            I think you misunderstand the role of an appointed IOR. They are not responsible for such things as poor quality or even non-compliant merchandise. That remains the responsibility of the entity who purchases, imports, and sells the goods.

            There are thousands of shipments arriving in the US every week that are handled by IORs who receive a fee for that service. They will include your Employer Identification Number (EIN) where appropriate when they lodge the clearance documents. Having been authorized by Power of Attorney to act on your behalf, they are the IOR.

            Their responsibilty is to guarantee that all duties and taxes due will be paid.

            If you do not appoint an IOR, then you will be the Importer Of Record.

            Walter Hay.
            "If you think education is expensive - consider the cost of ignorance."
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            Don't just slap on a label. Build a GREAT BRAND http://powerlabelsforprivatelabelingprofits.com Safe sourcing and easy importing from China & many other countries.https://ko296.isrefer.com/go/pcs001/whay/
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            • Profile picture of the author felixcohen
              Originally Posted by Importexport View Post

              There are thousands of shipments arriving in the US every week that are handled by IORs who receive a fee for that service. They will include your Employer Identification Number (EIN) where appropriate when they lodge the clearance documents. Having been authorized by Power of Attorney to act on your behalf, they are the IOR.

              If you do not appoint an IOR, then you will be the Importer Of Record.
              Or use their own EIN, can they not? As ultimate consignee if it's formal clearance?

              As for appointing freight forwarders as IOR what you did not day is that they must have US presence to clear on your behalf, to have customs bond and EIN to lend to importer, provided he does not have. Chinese freight forwarders are cheaper than US based with in-house customs brokers but they are difficult to communicate with and cannot offer above.

              For beginning importers do you suggest to appoint customs broker as IOR for informal clearance for air courier shipments or only when required to release held shipments?

              Actually what can happen if shipment that was excited to be cleared without any issues becomes held by customs? Do you seek immediate assistance of customs broker and so they charge more due to emergency?
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              • Profile picture of the author Importexport
                Originally Posted by felixcohen View Post

                Or use their own EIN, can they not? As ultimate consignee if it's formal clearance?

                1. As for appointing freight forwarders as IOR what you did not day is that they must have US presence to clear on your behalf, to have customs bond and EIN to lend to importer, provided he does not have. 2. Chinese freight forwarders are cheaper than US based with in-house customs brokers but they are difficult to communicate with and cannot offer above.

                3. For beginning importers do you suggest to appoint customs broker as IOR for informal clearance for air courier shipments or only when required to release held shipments?

                4. Actually what can happen if shipment that was excited to be cleared without any issues becomes held by customs? Do you seek immediate assistance of customs broker and so they charge more due to emergency?
                1. Yes, if they are acting as their own IOR, their IOR number will be their EIN number.

                2. Correct. Nobody outside of the USA can act as an IOR for you. That means Chinese freight forwarders cannot act as your IOR unless they have qualified staff in the USA who meet CBPA requirements.

                3. For informal clearance, most couriers automatically act on your behalf, but if the shipment value bothers them or they have no idea who you are, they might require a bond anyway, but the usual procedure is that they will require payment from you before they will deliver. In practice this means that they will collect the payment from you before they lodge the documents, so they are not taking any risks anyway.

                4. If Customs have held up a shipment, I would recommend appointing a Customs Broker to handle it for you, regardless of the cost, otherwise you could be hit with a huge bill by Customs as a result of the delays.

                Walter Hay.
                "If you think education is expensive - consider the cost of ignorance."
                Signature
                Don't just slap on a label. Build a GREAT BRAND http://powerlabelsforprivatelabelingprofits.com Safe sourcing and easy importing from China & many other countries.https://ko296.isrefer.com/go/pcs001/whay/
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