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Customs Guidance

View Customs Rules


View HS Codes on USA's customs official site



Imports

General Import Guidelines
  • The importer must have a Company Registration number from Customs Authorities
  • Imported goods must conform to licensed activities of the importer
  • Imported goods must be accompanied with an International Waybill, an Original Commercial Invoice, and Packing List
  • Goods must have the country of origin printed or embossed physically on each item; for example "made in China", "made in Japan", etc. The country of origin must also be stated on the Commercial Invoice, failure to comply with this regulation will prohibit entry of the goods (The marks must be in the English language)
  • Power of Attorney is required for goods with declared value of more than USD 2,500 or restricted goods that require informal entry
  • HS Codes must be stated clearly on Commercial Invoice. If the HS Codes are not stated, Customs will determine proper HS Codes based on the goods based on the stated description


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Import Duties and Fees
  • The customs valuation is based on CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) which means that the amount used to assess customs duty is the sum of cost of goods, insurance and shipping cost to USA
  • Customs tariff applicable on imported goods depend on HS Codes
  • Sales Tax will be imposed on imported goods might vary by state
  • International express or courier imports with declared value below USD 200 are duty free
  • Goods with declared value of more than a USD 200 and up to US$ 2,499 require informal entry process and duty/tax may apply
  • Goods with declared value of more than USD 2,500 requires formal entry


The following are trade agreements with USA that can benefit from customs reduction rate. To benefit from customs reduction, Certificate of Origin accompanied with Commercial Invoice are required
  • African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA)
  • Andean Trade Preference Act (ATPA)
  • Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
  • Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI)
  • Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA)
  • Compact of Free Association (FAS)
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
  • Generalized System of Preference (GSP)
  • North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

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Duties Exemption

A number of goods are exempted from customs duties and Sales Tax. Below are some of the applied exemptions:
  • Raw materials for manufacturing in USA destined for companies holding industrial license
  • Goods addressed to government or semi-government agencies
  • Diplomatic goods
  • Personal Effects


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Imports Required Documents

General Imports

Import Declaration is processed in the event of goods being imported into USA. The below documents are required:
  • Original Waybill
  • Original Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List (detailed)


Prior Notice number (PN)

Required for Food and food products, which must be filled electronically using the FDA website (Food and Drug Administration) click here for online form.

The below list of commodities requires FDA Prior Notice:
  • Food Products (Chocolate, Coffee, Fruits, Honey, Juices, Nuts, Tea, spices)
  • Plants (Cocoa leaves, herbs, natural products)
  • Pharmaceutical items (Vitamins)
  • Personal products (cosmetics, perfumes, Toiletries)


Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

General Conformity Certificate or Third Party Test Certificate, are required by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), to ensure all types of consumer products meets CPSC standards.

Some examples are the following:
  • Arts & crafts supplies
  • Bicycles
  • Children’s cribs & other children’s furniture
  • Children’s clothing
  • Electrical items
  • Fire safety equipment
  • Holiday decorations
  • Home heating equipment
  • Household products
  • Indoor air purifiers
  • Outdoor power equipment
  • Playground equipment
  • Pool & spa equipment
  • Recreational & sports equipment
  • Toys



Re-Export

Import Declaration is processed in the event of importing goods into USA for purpose of re-exporting. The below documents are needed:
  • Original Waybill
  • Original Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List (detailed)


Temporary Import - Exhibition / Repair and Return

Upon entry of goods into USA on temporary basis for the purposes of taking part in an exhibition or repairs / maintenance, a deposit amount equivalent to customs duties has to be made for the benefit Customs Authorities. The deposit is refunded upon exporting the goods. If the goods are not being exported the deposit is forfeited. The below documents are needed:
  • Original Waybill
  • Original Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List (detailed)

When completing your Commercial Invoice, we recommend that you abide by Aramex guidelines to ensure timely and efficient clearance Read More


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Exports

When exporting goods from USA some documents and regulations will be applied before the exit of goods to the destination. Failure to submit required documents may delay goods when exporting


Exporters need to include the following documents with their goods:

  1. Original Commercial Invoice
  2. Customs Declaration (SED) goods’ value is above USD 2,500
  3. For certain goods, a strategic export license is required. Example where these licenses are needed include: military, dual-use, chemicals, medication, and agricultural goods
Other documents that could be required would depend on the specific requirements of the destinations. Aramex maintain a list of needed documents and customs information per country (please select country name on this page)



Important Notes

  • All exported goods might be inspected by Customs Authorities
  • Aramex will not transport goods that are prohibited by the laws or regulations of USA. The USA prohibits exporting certain goods as published on its country policies and embargoes
  • For more information on exporting from the USA click here


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Transiting Goods

Transiting Goods through USA can only remain in for 30 days from the date of arrival into the country

To process Transiting Goods, the following documents are needed:

  • Original Waybill
  • Original Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List (detailed)


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Prohibited / Restricted Goods

Aramex will not transport goods that are prohibited by the laws or regulations of USA

In accordance to Aramex Shipping Policy, the following items are not acceptable for transport by Aramex:
  • Monetary items including currency, fake money, and coins
  • Publications that are offensive to religions, morals, human rights or aims to cause corruption and disorder
  • Narcotics and drugs including heroin, opium, drugs raw material (powder, liquid), cannabis leaves, etc.
  • Counterfeit goods covering all brands of clothes, machinery, shoes, electronics, watches etc.
  • Fireworks*
  • Ivory and ivory products*
  • Furs*
  • Jewelry, precious metals , stones, articles or antiques of exceptional high value*
  • Bullion*
  • Chemical waste and nuclear waste
  • Hazardous as defined in IATA Regulations*
  • Ammunitions*
  • Human remains, including ashes*
  • Animals, plants, food items and perishable*

* Certain goods which are listed above as prohibited may be accepted by Aramex on a contractual basis, if exporters / importers are able to comply with all applicable regulations

Some goods require approval from the designated authority prior to importing into USA. Some examples are shown below:


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Aramex Clearance Service

Aramex offers clearance service covering the following Customs Ports:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport

Aramex offers a wide range of customs clearance services (starting with Delivery Order collection up to delivery of goods). In addition, Aramex offers storage in Aramex warehouses when needed.

In key locations, Aramex employees are certified and supported by a customer service team to keep customers updated, and address all inquiries


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References

USA Customs
  • USA Customs HS Codes
  • Customs Terminologies
  • FAQ

    Our Most Frequently Asked Questions

    Get detailed answers to your questions on how Aramex works, what our services are and other important information.