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Sep 20,2022

What Is The Difference Between Formal Entry And Informal Entry?

An import declaration made for the purpose of obtaining customs clearance by the importer or a customs broker authorized to represent the importer.


Depending on the country and the product, additional supporting documentation such as origin certificates, consular documentation and product related health and safety certification may also be required.



What is informal entry customs?


Informal Entries are defined as the process of importing commodities, typically used for personal enjoyment, with a total value less than $2,500. As these goods will typically not enter into U.S. commerce, the filing process is quite simple. No bond is required to import these commodities and once the goods have cleared, they are immediately liquidated.


Informal entries do not require a posting of a customs bond.  Also, the importer saves the cost of filing a bond with the entry, as informal entries do not require it. For items subject to Quota, the minimum value for informal entries is $250.  Once the carrier bringing to the country has notified you of their arrival, you should go to the entry branch of that port’s Customs house and inform the staff that you have an informal entry for processing and transport.


If you have any questions or think you may be eligible for informal entry processing, email [email protected]. We can help you determine if your shipment applies to Informal Entry Processing.



What is formal entry customs?


Formal entries are defined as the process of importing commodities, which are typically used for commercial selling purposes, covered by an entry bond with a total value that usually exceeds $2,500.



How do I file a formal entry?


In order to properly file a Formal Entry, an importer must identify which port the goods will be entering. Then, they must contact a Commodity Specialist Team member at the port of entry regarding the type of goods they’re importing and ask them for the following:


•       HTSUS Tariff Classifications


•       Duty Rates


•       Applicable Regulations


•       Bond Type


Next, sometime between one week before and 15 days after the arrival of goods, the importer must file 5106 & 7501 forms as well as a release document with customs. Then, these documents must be submitted for review to an entry specialist at the port of entry.


With an accurate invoice, packing list, and shipping documents the importer will submit the reviewed documents along with a check, drawn on a U.S. Bank or cash, for estimated duties and fees to customs.


Once all of the paperwork has been approved and filed at the port of entry, the documents will be released with either an Officer’s signature authorizing the release of the goods or a stamp dictating further examination. Any shipments that require examination will be carted under bond to an inspection site at the importer’s expense.



What are some exceptions to formal entries?


There are a few exceptions when it comes to filing goods under a Formal Entry. These primarily apply to instruments of international traffic such as:


•       Container Ships


•       Freight Cars


•       Railway Locomotives


•       Other Vessels Transporting Goods


In addition to this list, many kinds of undeliverable articles are exempted also exempt from formal entries. These include the following:


•       Goods that are intended to be exported to a foreign country


•       Imports being returned within 45 days of departure from U.S.


•       Commodities that did not leave the custody of carrier or foreign customs


•       imports returned to U.S. as undeliverable from a foreign country.



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