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Wednesday 27 May 2020
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What information should commercial carriers (i.e. truckers) should know before transporting cargo from Canada or Mexico into the United States?

As a commercial carrier/trucker entering the U.S. with cargo, you are responsible for ensuring the goods you are transporting get to the recipient intact. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) holds you responsible and liable for the cargo while it is in your custody until it is released to a warehouse, the recipient in the United States or exported to a foreign country. Therefore, it is imperative that you know and understand your responsibilities as a carrier and what you can do to ensure you meet the requirements of CBP.

First and foremost, before you can operate as an international carrier transporting cargo into and through the United States, you must have an International Carrier bond on file with CBP. To obtain an International Carrier bond, you must contact an approved Surety that writes CBP bonds on a CBP Form 301. See the list identified as Circular 570 on the Treasury’s Financial Management Service’s Web site for approved sureties. The bond can be filed with the port you most commonly use.

In addition to acquiring the bond, you should participate in some of the programs CBP have that are beneficial to travelers that cross the border frequently. For instance, the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) program promotes free and secure trade and can expedite clearance through CBP by using dedicated lanes at the border. If approved, you will be issued a FAST card.

The User Fee Decal Program enables you to pay a set fee for CBP services once a year instead of paying a fee every time you enter the U.S. If approved, you will be issued a user fee decal. Before bringing goods to the U.S. you should take the following measures: Make sure the shipper or the importer has made arrangements with a broker to have the goods cleared through CBP. If arrangements are not made with a broker, this can hold the process up and either you or the importer will be responsible for clearing the goods and submitting cargo information to CBP in advance via one of the Interchanges mentioned below.

Be aware, if you are going to clear the goods on behalf of the importer (on a one-time basis), you must have power of attorney to do so. (If you clear goods for customers on a regular basis – you will have to obtain a broker’s license). See the Ports section of this site for a list of brokers in the state the goods will arrive in the U.S. Ensure you have the proper documents (i.e. commercial invoice, Declaration of Unaccompanied Goods CBP 3299, government issued permits etc.). For example, if you are transporting household and personal effects on behalf of an importer, you should have them complete a CBP 3299 and provide proof that they have a legal right to live in the U.S. (i.e. copy of their passport and Green Card / INS Form I-551, a Reentry Permit, or a Returning Resident Visa). Let the importer know the CBP 3299 is available under the  Forms section.

You may want to contact the port of arrival in advance to ensure the paperwork is sufficient before transporting the goods to the U.S. Ensure you have proper documents to present to CBP and they are in order before you arrive at the border. Complete manifest filled out properly Applicable CBP forms (i.e. CBP 3299 or CBP 7512 etc.,) Proof of Bond (CBP 301) Bill of Sale or Commercial Invoice (if applicable) Decal (if participating) Fast Card (if participating) Permits issued by Federal Government (if required) Importer/Immigrants Legal Documents (if moving to the U.S.) Required Personal Documents and Identification. Obtain a SCAC code from the National Motor Freight Traffic Association or call (703) 838-1810. After you receive a letter and SCAC code from the NMFTA, you should fax the letter to the Office of Information and Technology at (703) 921-7173, for input into the Automated Commercial System. Create a label barcode. Information on when a barcode is required and instructions on how to create a barcode label is in the PAPS fact sheet. Ensure your advance cargo information is submitted to CBP timely when transporting goods to the U.S. from Canada or Mexico. For the time frames advance cargo information must be submitted to CBP, please see the related Frequently Asked Questions.

As of November 15, 2004, CBP will enforce the Required Advance Electronic Presentation of Cargo Information regulation, which requires importers, carriers, and commercial truck drivers to meet the requirements of the Trade Act of 2002. Therefore, you or the broker representing the importer will be responsible for providing CBP with advance cargo information electronically when transporting goods to the U.S. from Canada or Mexico. However, if you are transporting domestic cargo through Canada or Mexico to another U.S. destination or the goods are considered an informal entry exempt from the regulation, you do not have to submit advance cargo information to CBP.

For instance, if you are transporting household and personal effects with a Declaration of Unaccompanied Articles form CBP 3299, advance notice is not required. Carriers/truckers that do not submit advance cargo information to CBP will be issued a noncompliance notice at the border and will be subject to denial of entry and/or monetary penalty.

Currently the interchanges approved by CBP to submit cargo information electronically are the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS), Customs Automated Forms Entry System (CAFES), Automated Broker Interface (ABI) or Border Release Advance Screening and Selectivity (BRASS). For additional information on these interchanges contact the Office of Information Technology at (703) 921-7500. If you use the BRASS interchange to submit advance cargo information to CBP, the trucker transporting the goods to the U.S. must be a FAST participant and have a FAST driver card in his or her possession when entering the U.S., otherwise he or she will be denied entry.

If the trucker has a DUI conviction, CBP will not deny them entry – although if there are multiple convictions for this and/or other misdemeanors, they could be denied entry. Generally, any convictions for drug possession can result in denial of entry. If the conviction was long ago, they can contact the U.S. Embassy, Office of Consular Affairs in their country to obtain a waiver. If you are entering the U.S. in-transit to a foreign destination you must post a bond and file a transportation entry in advance via CAFES. For additional information on in-bond entry procedures or how to obtain in-bond numbers, you should contact the entry office at the first port of arrival.

See the port numbers in the Ports section of this site. If you are a U.S. carrier transporting goods through Canada to a U.S. destination, you should contact Canadian Customs for their requirements. Canadian Customs can be reached at (519) 257-6510.

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