Where Can I Find a Customs Broker?
Finding a suitable Customs Broker is an important task. Use these resources to find and choose a Customs Broker.
When importing goods into the United States, the use of a good Customs Broker can make the process significantly easier. A Customs Broker is a licensed professional who is an expert on the rules, regulations, and paperwork needed to import into the United States. As an importer, you are not legally required to hire a Customs Broker, but they offer convenience by filing paperwork and obtaining a Customs bond. Especially with the present international climate, having an expert to work with CBP is important. Once you’ve decided to use a Customs Broker, the next question is how to find a Customs Broker?
How to Find a Customs Broker?
The search for a Customs Broker can be overwhelming as there are approximately 11,000 Customs Brokers in the U.S. However, there are some great resources to quickly find a qualified Customs Broker.
- The CBP Website’s List of Brokers
The first place to search for U.S. Customs Brokers is on the list of Customs Brokers page on the CBP website. This site lists all Customs Brokers licensed by the CBP and organizes them based on your desired point of entry. You can see all licensed Customs Brokers for a specific port and their contact information.
- The NCBFAA’s Member Directory
Another list of Customs Brokers can be found on the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) member directory. The NCBFAA is a group of the nation’s leading Freight Forwarders, Customs Brokers, Ocean Transportation Intermediaries, and Air Cargo Agents. This tool is very similar to the CBP website and offers the same tools to find a Customs Broker. Their membership directory provides contact information for all members. The search for a broker is based on location, so search for your desired port of entry. Additionally, the membership directory can also include members who are Freight Forwarders.
- A Quick Online Search
Finally, a search engine is a quick way to search for Customs Brokers. A google search for Customs Brokers for a specific location will yield a list of Customs Brokers operating in the area. A google search will also help you find reviews of Customs Brokers. When using a search engine to find Customs Brokers it is important to vet all potential brokers to make sure they are qualified for your individual importing needs.
Choosing the Right Customs Broker
Once you have identified potential Customs brokers, vetting them is very important. As the importer of record (IOR), you are ultimately responsible for all paperwork, duties, and fees due to CBP, not the Customs Broker. This means choosing an underqualified Customs Broker could lead to claims on your Customs bond, ultimately, costing your company additional money.
For certain imports, paperwork is required by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is crucial to find a broker who can complete all necessary paperwork. Plus, some brokers only process entries at specific ports. TRG has also created 3 important questions to ask your Customs Broker before hiring, which is a guide to comparing Customs Brokers.
There is no perfect way to find a Customs Broker, we recommend you use a combination of these resources to make the best decision for your company.
Our sister company Strix, provides nationwide Customs clearance, importer security filing, and classification services for businesses of all sizes.