Abady Law Firm, P.C. – Customs and Import/Export Attorney Blog

Learn the Basics of Customs and International Trade Policy and Procedure

Posts Tagged "Customs’"

Global Entry – Expedited Clearance for Travelers Through U.S. Customs

International travelers, do you hate waiting on line in order to clear Customs at airports around the country? Global entry is a program established by  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that expedites clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.  Instead of waiting on those long lines, one is able process their clearance through Customs at Global Entry kiosks where one can scan their passport or U.S. permanent resident card, place their fingertips on the scanner for fingerprint verification, and make a customs declaration.

In order to become accepted under the Global Entry program travelers must be pre-approved.   This includes a full background check and interview.

What are the advantages under the Global Entry program?

Globalentry.gov provides that there is:

  • No processing lines
  • No paperwork
  • Access to expedited entry benefits in other countries
  • Available at major U.S. airports
  • Reduced wait times

Globalentry.gov further provides the following reasons for a DENIAL under the Global Entry program:

  • Provide false or incomplete information on the application;
  • Have a criminal history, have been convicted of any criminal offense or have pending criminal charges or outstanding warrants;
  • Have been found in violation of any customs, immigration or agriculture regulations or laws in any country;
  • Are subjects of an ongoing investigation by any federal, state or local law enforcement agency;
  • Are inadmissible to the United States under immigration regulation, including applicants with approved waivers of inadmissibility or parole documentation;
  • Cannot satisfy CBP of their low-risk status (e.g. CBP has intelligence that indicates that the applicant is not low risk; CBP cannot determine an applicant’s criminal, residence or employment history)

Need help applying for the Global Entry Program?  Were you denied and need assistance filing an appeal? Was your Global Entry status revoked?

Resource Information

For more information about this blog post, please contact Abady Law Firm, P.C. and speak with our customs attorney at (800) 549-5099. Also visit www.customsesq.com to chat with a customs lawyer — who has insight into applying or appealing into the Global Entry Program — and to schedule a consultation.  To chat with us, click the bottom right corner tab of our homepage.

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Land Rover Defender Destroyed By U.S. Customs – How Can This Be Prevented?

I have represented many importers looking to import vehicles from around the world into the United States.  For those doing so, one must ensure that the vehicle is in compliance with the laws and regulations of the Department of Transportation. Otherwise, entry into the United States will be prevented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If a violation is found, the importer will face the possibility of a seizure and severe penalties for failing to comply.  If you find yourself in such a situation best to contact an attorney experienced in handling such matters to minimize such consequences and achieve the best possible solution under the circumstances.

You do not want to find your vehicle victim to the following:  http://autos.yahoo.com/video/u-customs-crush-land-rover-144127210.html

Notice of Seizure and Information to Claimants Form AF

Have you received a letter from Customs that looks like this http://twitpic.com/9j9rll ?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the agency responsible for protecting our borders. Accordingly, Customs officials at seaports, airports, and other border crossings all over the U.S. have the authority to examine, detain, and/or seize merchandise entering or exiting the country. More often than not, importers and exporters are surprised and intimidated when they find out that the government has intervened in their business. As a result, it is best to provide my readers some basic knowledge in an effort to appease any distress from Customs intervention.

Customs officials have a laundry list of “red flags” when targeting merchandise; they are looking for drugs, non-compliance with the Food and Drug Administration, counterfeit goods, and currency among many others. When Customs decides to detain a particular shipment the merchandise is transferred to a Centralized Examination Station where officials sort through and intensely examine the contents of the shipment. During the detention Customs must provide an explanation for the detention (see previous post for more detail). It is important to note that Customs explanation for the detention may have been provided under the advisement of another federal agency – as Customs is the “enforcer” for all other federal agencies relating to the import/export of products. Here is an example: Customs detained a shipment of T-shirts from Canada due to the failure to provide documentation that the importer has the authority to utilize a logo that is a registered trademark.

If Customs find a violation, they will seize it and transfer it from the Centralized Examination Station to an official warehouse. Throughout this process the importer is charged storage fees which must be paid if Customs agrees to release the goods. Seizures are handles by a department in Customs known as Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures (FP&F). An FP&F paralegal reviews the case and issues a seizure notice to the alleged violator. The seizure notice will give information regarding the identity of the merchandise, the location of the seizure, and citations to legal authorities. Generally, the alleged violator is given options 1) abandon the goods; 2) file a petition with customs within 30 days of the issuance date on seizure notice; 3) file an offer in compromise (this option is beneficial in specific circumstances – best to speak with an attorney first to confirm whether an offer is the right strategy); or 4) take the matter directly to court for litigation (you need to fill out the seized asset claim form and post a cost bond equal to 10% of the value of the seized merchandise, or $5,000, whichever is lower).

At this time it is highly recommended to contact a Customs attorney regarding your best options and strategy moving forward.  If an attorney is hired, he/she would notify Customs that the alleged violator is being represented by counsel. Thereafter, generally, the attorney would make what is called a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA). This formal request is sent in order to gain access to records that customs has regarding the alleged violation.

If the petition option is chosen, the alleged violator is given an opportunity to explain to customs why the goods should be released. It is important to hire an attorney who knows the policies, procedures, and practices that customs has in place in order to convince customs to release your goods. Thereafter, customs will render a decision on the case and either grant or deny the petition. If denied, the alleged violator is given an opportunity to file a supplemental petition to which must state additional information not before provided to customs. Alternatively, the alleged violator can choose to file an offer in compromise whereby one can make an attempt to negotiate with customs by offering a monetary sum to settle the matter and release the goods.

As discussed, there are various options offered to the alleged violator under the law. It is best to consult with an attorney experienced in these matters to explain these options as they relate to a particular set of facts. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Resource Information

For more information about this blog post, please contact Abady Law Firm, P.C. and speak with our customs attorney at (800) 549-5099. Also visit www.customsesq.com to chat with a customs lawyer — who has insight into the Notice of Seizure — about your company’s import situation and to schedule a consultation.  To chat with us, click the bottom right corner tab of our homepage.

Customs Attorney: Customs and Border Protection: Notice of Detention

Customs is given broad authority to inspect shipments entering into the country.  When Customs questions the admissibility of goods into the United States, Customs has the authority to detain the shipment until satisfactory information is provided to enable release.  Customs has five (5) business days from the date on which the merchandise is presented for examination to decide whether or not to detain the merchandise or to allow its release.  If Customs decides to detain a shipment, they must provide the importer with a formal Notice of Detention within five (5) days of the determination to detain the shipment.  During the detention phase the importer has the opportunity to resolve any issues as to admissibility in order to avoid a rejection or seizure.

A Notice of Detention must provide the following information under the law:

  • That the goods have been placed under detention;
  • The precise reason for their detention;
  • The estimated length of time that they will be detained;
  • A description of any inquiries being conducted or tests to be made (legally, test results also must be promptly provided to the importer) regarding the goods; and
  • Any additional information that may assist in the prompt disposition of the detention.

Customs has thirty (30) days to render a decision regarding the detained shipment, unless a longer time period has been granted.  If no final decision is reached at the end of this thirty day period, the merchandise is automatically considered excluded for purposes of protest. If the goods are seized, the importer will receive a notice of seizure. It will provide the reasons for the seizure and options available to the importer.

Resource Information

For more information about this blog post, please contact Abady Law Firm, P.C. and speak with our customs attorney at (800) 549-5099. Also visit www.customsesq.com to chat with a customs lawyer — who has insight into CBP Detentions — about your company’s import situation and to schedule a consultation.  To chat with us, click the bottom right corner tab of our homepage.

Customs Attorney: Notice of Action CF-29

When Customs believes that there should be a change in classification or an increase in duty they are required to issue what is called a “Notice of Action” – Customs Form 29. A notice of action signifies Customs intentions to change the way current and possibly future shipments will be treated. The notice will provide the importer with two possible Customs actions; “Action Taken” or “Action Proposed.”

1. Action Taken – Once Customs indicates that Action has been taken, any increase in duties can only be addressed via protest or 520 claim.

2. Action Proposed – When Customs indicates Action proposed, the importer is given 20 days to convince Customs that the increase or change in classification is unfounded.

The importer should carefully respond to any Notices of Action issued by Customs as any decision will have an impact on the way business is conducted.

Contact us today at 347-512-9007 for legal assistance in responding to the Notice of Action.

Customs Attorney: Customs and Border Protection- Liquidation

Liquidation is the process through which Customs completes its review of an entry and finalizes its position as to the duties.   You may ask, what about those duties paid at the time of entry?  When duties are paid at the time of entry they are referred to as “deposits” because they are not considered Customs’ final assessment of duties owed.  Generally, the entry remains “unliquidated” for a period of 314 days after the date of entry.  During this interim period the entry information may be revised regarding country of origin, classification, valuation, etc.  The 314th day marks liquidation.  An entry is “deemed” liquidated by operation of law through Customs inaction within (1) year from the date of entry or reconciliation, unless extended.

An entry can be liquidated in one of three ways:

1.  No change as to the way the goods were declared or duty deposited.

2. Customs may issue a bill of underpayment due to reasons such as change in classification or valuation.

3. Customs may issue a refund for overpayment.

Liquidation is important because it signifies the final calculation as to the payment of duties for a given entry.  Further, the date of liquidation triggers the statutory limitations period where the importer may challenge Customs decision.  For example, an importer who wishes to challenge Customs classification, the importer must file an administrative protest within 180 days from the date of liquidation.  As a result, it is important for the importer to monitor liquidations.

Customs Attorney: Customs Entry Part I

Importers are under the belief that when goods arrive at the port the importation process is over.  However, the arrival of goods at the port technically marks the beginning of entry process.  Documentation must be presented to Customs in order to facilitate the goods entry into the United States.  Documentation prepared for Customs is different depending on whether the goods are shipped by air, sea, or ground.  The length of the voyage to the United States can be lengthy, as such, information and/or documentation is provided to Customs prior to the arrival of goods at the port. This gives Customs a “heads up” as to what is being shipped and allows the importer an opportunity to correct any mistakes.

There are primarily two methods to the entry process:

1.  Immediate Delivery Entry                           2. Live Entry

  • Both require the filing of an Entry – Customs Form 3461 (CF 3461 ALT – if applicable)
  • Both require an Entry Summary – Customs Form 7501

However, for live entries an Entry Summary is filed with an Entry while for Immediate Delivery Entries an importer has 10 days to file.

More to come on Entry in the next post

-Happy Importing-

Customs Attorney: Marking

Generally, every imported or exported good is subject to marking regulations from at least one of the federal agencies. Marking requirements are enforced by physical inspection of the goods and also after release of the goods via a notice of redelivery and marking (CF4647). If Customs finds that marking is incorrect, they will delay the release of the goods until the marking is corrected.

Incorrect markings can result in delays and high expenses for remarking goods or may result in a liquidated damages claim against the importer for failing to redeliver the goods (example: when the goods were sold and shipped to buyers). Further, marking which is fraudulent may result in seizure and/or penalties.

Marking laws are not only U.S. Customs based. Customs enforces marking requirements for other agencies as well. For example the Federal Trade Commission requires clothing to have certain labels and information relating to fiber content, dry cleaning information, etc.

U.S. Customs marking requirements are as follows, the marking must be:

in a conspicuous place
legible
permanent
have English name of the country of origin.

Customs Attorney: Declare Your Goods!

Almost everything that your business imports into the U.S. must be declared to Customs. However, not all merchandise that enters the U.S. is subject to duty (tax or fee on imports) and/or importation restrictions.

You must be careful because the failure to declare goods can result in civil penalties, customs seizures, forfeiture of your merchandise, and in some cases CRIMINAL LIABILITY!

A failure to declare goods is not always intentional, it can happen by mistake through normal business practice. Customs does not understand the meaning of a “mistake,” you will be liable; however, a mistake usually provides a business with the likelihood of a mitigation in penalties.

Having trouble with how to declare your goods, it is recommended to contact a customs broker or attorney. You do not want to make a bad impression on those who allow your goods to enter the U.S.!

Credit: Free images from acobox.com