A Customs bond is a legal contract between a principal (importer or shipper), a Surety company, and CBP that guarantees the importer complies with Customs regulations and that CBP is paid for applicable import duties, taxes, fines and penalties. All importers are required to have a bond on file with Customs.
A customs bond is a binding contract required by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for commercial imports valued at $2,500 or more. Having a customs bond ensures that relevant fees and import duties are paid to CBP.
There are several different types of bonds required by the United States CBP. By far, the most common bond is the C-1, continuous import bond. The Import Bond guarantees that CBP will collect all import duties, taxes, fines or penalties, if not from the importer then from the surety company who issued the bond. In addition, the bond indemnifies the surety company, allowing the surety company to make any legal attempt to recover from the importer all monies that were paid on the importer’s behalf.
The minimum continuous import bond is for $50,000. If this is your first year with a customs bond or Customs has not required you to increase your current bond limit then leave it as $50,000. If customs decides you need to increase the bond coverage over time, they will send you a letter. This letter is not a problem, all you have to do is send us the letter and we’ll work on increasing the bond amount. The average cost for a continuous customs bond when purchased from a broker is $250-$500 per year or more. This $50,000 continuous customs bond includes the ISF bond filing that customs requires. Furthermore, there is IR Taxes and this only apply if you are importing alcohol or tobacco products.
Think of a customs bond as the ticket you pay for your goods to gain entry to the United States. Before you purchase that bond, your goods will be held at customs and are pending approval until you show proof of that bond. You need the bond to gain approval for your imports.
How Much Is a Customs Bond?
The import bond cost is calculated based on the amount of taxes and fees that are tied to your imported goods. Typically, the bond amount is at least 10 percent of the total duties and fees paid to the CBP. As a benchmark, this total is usually $50,000 at the minimum and the average bond is around $50,000. The average cost for a continuous customs bond when purchased from a broker is $250-$500