A good customs broker knows the rules and regulations of the country that it wishes to import goods from and can get the job done safely, quickly, and economically. This will allow you to focus on selling the merchandise, getting paid or both. If you are planning to become a customs broker of your own, you must keep in mind that you have to do all the things necessary to get it done. Here, find out the six things you’ll need to know to become a customs broker.
You must be eligible
In the United States, in order for you to become a customs broker, you must be a U.S. citizen, be at least eighteen years of age, be of a good moral character and not be a federal government employee at the time of the customs broker exam.
If all of those apply to you, move on to No. 2. If even one of those items doesn’t apply to you, stop here. You cannot become a customs broker at this time.
You must have knowledge of importing
Knowledge of importing means you must have an understanding of entry procedures, entry requirements, valuation, fines and penalties, classification, and the rates, duty, taxes and fees for imported goods.
As a licensed broker, you submit necessary information and appropriate payments to Customs Border Patrol (CBP) on behalf of its clients and charge the clients a fee for this service. It is important that you demonstrate responsible supervision and control during the import process. You will demonstrate this by passing an exam.
You must pass an exam
The exam is given at most CBP service ports the first Monday in April and the first Monday in October. Make sure you apply at a port where you want to practice or transact customs business as a broker.
You are responsible for bringing proof that you meet all the eligibility requirements as noted in No. 1 (e.g., photo I.D., proof of registration). The examination lasts four hours and consists of 80 questions. Each question has a single best answer, but there is no penalty for guessing so you should answer every question. To pass the exam, you must achieve 75 percent correct answers or better. Should you fail to pass the exam, you can retake it until you pass.
You must submit a broker license application along with paying appropriate fees
The fee for the application is $200. There is also a fingerprint check and processing fee. As an applicant, you must undergo a background investigation that includes a fingerprint analysis and a review of character references, credit reports, and an arrest record.
5. Your application must be reviewed and approved by Customs Border Patrol (CBP)
There are three levels of review: multi-agency background investigation, a CBP port director secondary background investigation, and lastly, the same CBP port director forwards a recommendation to CBP headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Assistant Commissioner, Office of International Trade, will advise you on whether your application is approved.
6. You should plan about a year to get the license application done
The length of time it takes to complete the license application process can vary depending on multiple factors, but generally, an application can take anywhere from eight to 12 months to process.
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