Customs Broker Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Please contact a Customs Broker or local CBP Port Office.

Customs Broker Modernization Regulations - General

A processing Center is the broker management operations of a Center of Excellence and Expertise (Center).  The processing Center processes applications for a broker’s license, applications for a national permit and submissions required in 19 CFR 111 for an already-licensed broker.  

A Customs broker will continue to interact with a processing Center Broker Management Officer (BMO) based upon the physical port location through which the license and national permit are issued. A BMO contact list is located on the broker homepage at cbp.gov. 

CBP anticipates no lapse in active permits during the transition to a national permit. To ensure this, CBP will transition brokers with only district permits to pending national permits before the Final Rule effective date and district permits will remain active until the Final Rule effective date. District permits will only be deactivated after the Final Rule is effective, transitioned national permits are active, and ACE national permit programming is in place. 

The national permit (NP) will operate as the current permits do; broker applies, CBP grants it; there is an annual user fee; the NP remains active as long as CBP receives a user fee unless the broker cancels it or CBP revokes it. 

CBP currently accepts electronic submission of broker exam and triennial status report fees through the eCBP portal (a CBP electronic data interchange (EDI) system).  CBP plans to expand the eCBP portal to collect additional broker fees in the future. Currently, license and permit application fees, and permit user fees are submitted to the processing Center (port location) through which the application is to be submitted or license was delivered.  

Upon the Final Rule effective date, the broker-designated knowledgeable point of contact must be available to CBP during and outside of normal operating hours (24/7 POC) to respond to customs business issues. Brokers must maintain accurate and current POC information with CBP through the ACE portal account, or by writing to the processing Center if the broker does not have a portal account. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, the knowledgeable point of contact must be an employee of the brokerage and should have sufficient knowledge of operations to respond to a CBP inquiry or direct CBP to an appropriate source for a response. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, a broker must execute a power of attorney (POA) directly with the importer of record (IOR) or drawback claimant, and not through a freight forwarder or other (unlicensed) third party, in order to transact customs business for that importer of record or drawback claimant. The term “directly” means the IOR or claimant must execute and sign the POA by directly communicating with the broker , and cannot have an agent or third party sign or negotiate the POA in their stead. However, the IOR or claimant may have an agent or third party assist in executing the POA, for example, by: providing translation services ; providing counsel in reviewing the terms of a POA ; or, providing courier services to relay a written POA. 

The requirement for brokers to execute a power of attorney (POA) directly with a client does not prohibit a Broker A-Broker B relationship. A client may authorize its broker (Broker A) to allow other brokers (Broker B) to transact any portion of the customs business conducted on behalf of the client. The grant of authority to Broker B is accomplished by including special appointment language in the POA executed between the client and Broker A.  

Upon the Final Rule effective date, a freight forwarder may not assign a power of attorney to conduct customs business to a customs broker on behalf of a client.  

In order to directly execute a POA with an IOR, a broker must directly communicate with the IOR, not via a third party or intermediary, such as a FF. A FF or other third party may act as a courier or delivery service to pass a written POA and related communications back and forth between a broker and IOR, or facilitate an electronic introduction between a broker and IOR, but cannot communicate with the broker instead of or in place of the IOR.

Yes, anyone seeking to have a broker conduct customs business on their behalf, including a nominal consignee, must execute a POA directly with a customs broker.

There is no change to 19 CFR Part 141 or to CBP's position on electronic signatures. Please see the FAQs on electronic signatures on POAs.

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers must attach the supervision plan to the national permit application. 

If the supervision plan is updated, the broker may submit a copy of the updated plan to the processing Center for DIS storage in the broker’s ACE account. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, a broker must provide a supervision plan for exercising responsible supervision and control over its customs business at the time of permit application. Supervision plans are unique to each broker and depend, among other things, on the size of a brokerage, the complexity of the customs business, and the types of transactions handled. CBP believes it would be prudent to have more supervision in place if the broker entity is large and deals with complex business transactions. A link to a sample permit application and supervision plan guidelines can be found on CBP.gov

Brokers with an active national permit in place prior to the effective date of the Final Rule are not required to provide a supervision plan to CBP. However, development of a supervision plan is recommended as a best practice to ensure proper maintenance of responsible supervision and control. If a broker, who is exempt from the supervision plan requirement cancels his/her permit or the permit is revoked by operation of law, and afterwards the broker applies for a new permit, he/she must provide a supervision plan along with all other information required to be submitted with a national permit application. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, a sole proprietorship, partnership, association, or corporation should employ a sufficient number of brokers to ensure it maintains responsible supervision and control over its customs business. What constitutes a sufficient number of brokers will depend on multiple factors, such as the size of the broker entity, the skills and abilities of the employees and supervising employees, and the complexity and similarity of tasks. Additional guidance may be found on CBP.gov

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers must electronically notify CBP when there has been a breach of electronic or physical broker records and provide CBP with any comprised importer of record numbers. 

Contacts for Reporting a Breach of Electronic or Physical Records to CBP: 

  • All security incidents that have any effect on the security posture of CBP must be reported to the CBP Office of Information Technology (OIT) Security Operations Center (CBP SOC).  
  • During business hours (6:30 am-7:30 pm EST): Contact CBP OIT SOC at cbpsoc@cbp.dhs.gov. Questions as to the reporting of the breach or if any guidance is needed may be directed to 703-921-6507. If applicable, contact the party’s ABI Client Representative. If the Client Representative is unknown, please contact gmb.clientrepoutreach@cbp.dhs.gov
  • After business hours (after 7:30 pm EST): Contact CBP OIT SOC at cbpsoc@cbp.dhs.gov and the CBP Technology Service Desk at ACE.SUPPORT@cbp.dhs.gov (with the ABI Client Representative email address on copy, as appropriate.) 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, a broker must provide notification to CBP within 72 hours of discovering a breach of electronic or physical records relating to the broker’s customs business. The notification must include any known compromised importer’s Employer Identification Numbers (EIN).  Within 10 business days of the notification, the broker must electronically provide an updated list of any additional known compromised EINs. After that, the broker must electronically provide any additional information discovered within 72 hours of discovery. 

Brokers must maintain original records, including electronic records, within the customs territory of the United States and in accordance with the provisions of Part 111 and Part 163 of 19 CFR. 

Brokers can share client information with third parties when authorized in writing by the client. 

Third-party servers hosting electronic broker records must be based in the U.S. 

A broker must not file or procure or assist in the filing of any claim, or of any document, affidavit, or other papers, known by such broker to be false.  A broker must not give, or solicit or procure the giving of, any information or testimony that the broker knew or should have known was false or misleading, in any matter pending before DHS or to any representative of DHS. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers must document and report to CBP when brokers separate from or cancel representation with a client upon determining that the client is intentionally attempting to use brokers to defraud the U.S. Government or commit a criminal act against the U.S. Government. The report to CBP must include the client name, date of separation or cancellation, and reason for the separation or cancellation. Such information should be reported by phone, email, or mail to a supervisory point of contact at the importer’s assigned Center of Excellence and Expertise. Reporting may also be made through CBP’s e-Allegations program as long as all required information is submitted. Additional guidance can be found in the Customs Broker Guidance for the Trade Community at cbp.gov.

The broker should provide the name and address of the client, when the separation or cancellation occurred, the reason(s) for the separation or cancellation, and any documentation of the violation or attempted violation so CBP can exercise its due diligence and perform an investigation of the importer’s dealings. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, CBP will notify brokers in writing of an impending revocation by operation of law, 30 calendar days before the revocation is due to occur, but only if the broker has provided advance notice to CBP of the underlying events that could cause a revocation by operation of law. Once a permit and/or a license is revoked by operation of law, CBP will also provide notice of the effective revocation. 

CBP will endeavor to publish permit and license revocations by operation of law in the Federal Register within 1 year after revocation. 

CBP published the Broker Continuing Education Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on September 10, 2021, and is adjudicating the comments received.  

The definition of “customs business” has not changed and can be found in 19 U.S.C. 1641(a)(2) and 19 CFR 111.1, with additional requirements specified in 19 CFR 111.3. Based on the requirements appearing in § 111.3(a), the proposal in the example would not be allowed because customs business must be conducted within the customs territory of the United States.  Brokers may request a ruling for a clear determination as to the permissibility of a fact-specific activity/scenario pursuant to 19 CFR 177.1. 

The Final Rule expands the scope of the national permit authority to allow national permit holders to conduct any type of customs business throughout the customs territory of the United States, effectively making every entry filed a remote location filed entry.  Upon the effective date of the Final Rule, a broker will file all entries through a national permit and submit the current RLF required information in the ‘B’ record of the ABI Batch and Block Control for each filing. 

An updated CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements on the ABI Batch and Block Control will be posted to CBP.GOV. 

ACE Automated Broker Interface (ABI) CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements (CATAIR) | U.S. Customs and Border Protection 

No, the regulatory changes do not affect self-filing importers who are not utilizing the services of a broker. 

An updated CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements on the ABI Batch and Block Control will be posted to CBP.GOV. 

ACE Automated Broker Interface (ABI) CBP and Trade Automated Interface Requirements (CATAIR) | U.S. Customs and Border Protection 

If a broker intends to maintain original records using an alternative storage method, he/she must submit an advance written notification to CBP. The notice must be provided at least 30 days prior to implementation of the alternative storage method. See 19 CFR 163.5(b) for details on submitting an alternative storage notification.

There has been no change to 19 CFR 111.36(c)(1) and (2) concerning broker compensation to a FF for referring broker business.

There has been no change as to who must file a triennial status report. All licensed individuals and organizations must file a triennial report.

If an individual is working for a licensed customs broker and transacting customs business on behalf of the licensed customs broker employer, the individual does not need a permit.

The Final Rule and the transition to a national permit structure does not have any effect on the statement generation and payment process.

Customs Broker Modernization Regulations - Broker Employee Reporting

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers must report the employee's name, social security number, date and place of birth, date of hire, and current home address to CBP. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers must report any changes to their current employees’ personal information (listed in § 111.28(b)(1)) within 30 calendar days of the change. 

Brokers must submit any updated information through the ACE broker portal. If the broker does not have an ACE portal account, updated information must be provided in writing to a processing Center. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers must report a new employee to CBP within 30 calendar days of the start of employment. Reporting must be done through the ACE broker portal. If the broker does not have an ACE portal account, the information must be submitted in writing to a processing Center.  

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers must report a terminated employee to CBP within 30 calendar days of the termination. Reporting must be done through the ACE broker portal. If the broker does not have an ACE portal account, the information must be submitted in writing to a processing Center. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers are responsible for providing CBP with an office of record address, email address, and a mailing address if that address is different from the office of record. Brokers not actively engaged in transacting customs business must provide CBP with their non-business address. Brokers must notify CBP of any change of address(es) within 10 calendar days of the change.  

Reporting must be done through the ACE broker portal. If the broker does not have an ACE portal account, the information must be submitted in writing to a processing Center. 

Upon the Final Rule effective date, brokers must provide written notification to CBP within 10 calendar days of an event resulting in a change of organization, with details explaining the event/change. Such events include a change in national permit qualifier, license qualifier, organization articles, or name. 

CBP will make training available for all changes in ACE, along with reference guides in the ACE broker portal. Please use the following link: ACE Training and Reference Guides

Upon the Final Rule effective date, permitted brokers with ACE portal accounts may use the ACE broker portal to transmit information on current, new, and terminated employees; the office of record and recordkeeping address; the recordkeeping point of contact; and the knowledgeable 24/7 point of contact. If a broker does not have an ACE portal account, this information must be submitted in writing to the processing Center. 

Becoming a Customs Broker

There are two types of customs brokers - private individuals and organizational brokerages.  Organizational brokerages consist of corporations, partnerships, LLCs, or associations. 

All brokers are regulated and empowered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assist importers and exporters in meeting Federal requirements governing imports and exports.  Brokers submit necessary information and appropriate payments to CBP on behalf of their clients and charge them a fee for this service.

Brokers must have expertise in the entry procedures, admissibility requirements, classification, valuation, and the rates of duty and applicable taxes and fees for imported merchandise. There are approximately 16,170 active licensed Customs brokers in the United States.

An individual must be a citizen of the United States, but not an officer or employee of the U.S. Government, be of good moral character, have attained 21 years of age prior to submission of the application and have passed a Customs Broker exam within 3 years of the submission of the application.

First, you must pass the Customs Broker License Examination.  Second, you must submit a broker license application package with the appropriate fees. Finally, your application must be approved by CBP.

Corporations, partnerships and associations must obtain a broker license to transact Customs business. Each of these businesses must have at least one individually licensed officer, partner or associate to qualify the company's broker license. Failure to have a qualifying officer or member (of a partnership) for more than 120 days will result in the revocation of the broker license.

The organization must submit a customs broker license application package and appropriate fees to their local port.  The application must be approved by CBP.

You may contact the Broker Management Officer at the port where you want to transact Customs business as a broker.

Customs Broker License Examination

When the remote proctored examination option is offered, the selection may be made during broker exam registration.

Verify all the information provided is correct. If you continue to receive the error message, contact the Rev Mod Service Desk for assistance.

Verify you are using the same Login.gov account used previously. The same Login.gov account must be used each time to log in to eCBP or you will encounter this error. The email address may be changed and an additional email address may be added to your Login.gov account, but the account should not be deleted nor should a new or different Login.gov account be used. If you can’t sign in to the account used previously because you are unable to authenticate your account (no longer have the phone/device used previously, etc.), contact the Rev Mod Service Desk for assistance. Instructions for changing/adding an email address to a Login.gov account are available at the Login.gov website.

You may not have successfully signed in to Login.gov. Check the upper right corner of the Brokers home page and verify that ‘Login’ is not displayed. If ‘Login’ is displayed rather than your Login.gov email address, you have not signed in. If you are unable to sign in to Login.gov with the computer/device you are using, it may be configured to block cookies from being stored or is on a network that blocks cookies from being stored.  Try using another device like a mobile phone or tablet which should resolve the issue.

All Broker Exam applicants will register using the eCBP Portal at https://e.cbp.dhs.gov and will sign in using Login.gov.  A Login.gov account may be created during the registration process.

CBP recommends using the Google Chrome browser, latest version.

eCBP will function in Internet Explorer (IE) or Microsoft EDGE browsers with the recommended configuration adjustments below.  Google Chrome does not require adjustments to the browser’s configuration.

For adjustments to IE or EDGE, simply add a special link (https://idp.int.identitysandbox.gov [1]) to the trusted site using the steps below:

  • Open the Control Panel
  • Click or double-click the Internet Options icon
  • In the Internet Properties windows, click the Security tab
  • Select the Trusted Sites entry and click the Sites button
  • Enter https://idp.int.identitysandbox.gov [1] for the trusted websites in the Add this website to the zone text field
  • Click the Add button and then click OK to save the URL.
  • Then IE or EDGE should function properly when logging in to register.

If additional assistance is needed, contact Rev Mod Service Desk (RMSD) at: RevModServiceDesk@cbp.dhs.gov or call 1-800-366-8732 Ext. 4670 (please leave a message if your call is not answered directly) RMSD is open Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The Broker Exam Registration User Guide and Quick Reference Guide are available at User/Quick Reference Guides.

Contact the Rev Mod Service Desk at: revmodservicedesk@cbp.dhs.gov or call 1-800-366-8732 Ext. 4670 (please leave a message if your call is not answered directly). RMSD is open Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.

eCBP uses cookies during the log in process to pass login information from login.gov to eCBP. 

An address verification method has been implemented to capture accurate addresses. If you receive the message 'Residence Address Standardized' with an updated address, verify the address is correct. If you receive the message ‘Residence Address Not Found', verify the address and edit if needed. After the messages display, you may be navigated to the next screen and would need to select the Back button to make an address update. If your residence address and mailing address is different, you may receive the same type of messages for the Mailing Address separately.

The purpose of the examination is to “determine the individual’s knowledge of Customs and related laws, regulations and procedures, bookkeeping, accounting, and all other appropriate matters, necessary to render valuable service to importers and exporters.” (19 CFR 111.13(a)).

To be eligible to take the examination the applicant must be a U.S. citizen, age 18 or older, and they cannot be employed by the federal government at the time of the examination date. An individual who intends to take the examination must complete the electronic application at least 30 calendar days prior to the scheduled examination date and the applicant must remit the $390 examination fee prescribed in 111.96(a) at that time.

The examination fee is $390 as prescribed in 111.96(a).  Information regarding all Customs Brokers fees is available at CBP Customs Broker Fees.

Payment of the examination fee must be made online via the examination application, and may be made by credit card, by debit card that can be used as a credit card, PayPal or Amazon payment.

Examinations will be given at authorized testing sites as needed. Examinees self-select their examination site.

In person examinations are given at authorized testing sites throughout the United States (including Puerto Rico) and examinees self-select their examination site.  Remote proctored exams are available on a limited basis and are given online with electronic monitoring by an exam proctor.

When the remote proctored exam option is offered it will be with limited availability upon registering on a first come, first served basis.  If the remote proctored exam option is being offered and is available, it will appear for selection when registering for the exam. To be eligible you must successfully execute the system checks which are provided at ‘https://www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/customs-brokers/licen…’.  An affirmation selection will appear when the remote proctored exam option is selected. You must affirm that the system checks were successfully executed.

If the remote proctored exam is being offered and has exceeded capacity, there may be an option for a waitlist.  If a waitlist is being offered when you register, it will appear for your selection. If selecting the waitlist option, you must successfully perform the system checks and affirm that the system checks were successfully executed.  An affirmation selection will appear when the waitlist for the remote proctored exam option is selected. You must affirm that the system checks were successfully executed.  If capacity becomes available, you will be notified by email from Broker Management Branch prior to the withdrawal deadline.

If there is not an option for the remote proctored exam or a waitlist for the remote proctored exam when you register, the remote option is not available.

When you refresh your browser after making a remote proctored exam selection, the selection will be cleared and will need to be re-selected.  Remote proctored exam selections are not saved in draft applications. When retrieving a draft application, a selection for the remote proctored exam will need to be made again.

Within 2 weeks after exam registration closes, registrants will receive an email from the exam vendor with exam site self-selection instructions at the email address provided in the examination application. Those who do not self-select will be placed in the closest available examination site. Each registrant will be emailed an examination admission notice identifying the location of their examination. If assistance is needed with the self-scheduling or exam scheduling processes, contact the PSI CBLE Support Desk at CBLE_Support@talogy.com or call 877-449-8378 extension 3.

Within 2 weeks after exam registration closes, remote proctored registrants will receive an email with instructions from the exam vendor at the email address provided in the examination application. Those who do not register for an exam time will be assigned to a time zone based on the zip code of the address provided and time zone capacity. If assistance is needed with the self-scheduling or exam scheduling processes, contact the PSI CBLE Support Desk at CBLE_Support@talogy.com or call 877-449-8378 extension 3.

Applicants requesting a reasonable modification based on disability needs must indicate "Yes" in response to the statement, “I seek modifications under the American Disabilities Act” and provide the following supporting information in the box below the question on the exam application form:

  1. The limitations resulting from the disability;
  2. Barriers to your effective participation in the standard electronic version of the exam based on the limitations; and
  3. Your preferred or suggested reasonable modifications to remove the barriers to effectively participate in the exam.

If after submission of the exam application a reasonable modification request is needed, the required information may be sent to the Broker Management Branch at brokermanangement@cbp.dhs.gov before the close of exam registration. Additional information is available at CBP Customs Broker License Examination.

Examinees must bring their proof of registration, proof of identification AND proof of citizenship. Approved forms of proof of identity are: original government issued photo identification such as U.S. State issued Driver's License, U.S. State issued ID Card, U.S. Passport, U.S. Military ID, U.S. Federal, U.S. State, or U.S. City Government Employee ID Card, U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship.  Approved forms of citizenship are: U.S. Passport, U.S. Birth Certificate, U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad or Certification of Birth or U.S. Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship. Photocopies or electronic copies of identification and proof of citizenship documents are NOT permitted. All identification and proof of citizenship documents must be unexpired, official, original, physical versions.

Examinees may bring appropriate Harmonized Tariff Schedule, Appropriate Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations, ACE Entry Summary Instructions, Right to Make Entry Directive 3530-002 and ACE Entry Summary Business Rules and Process document. Examinees may bring their own pencil and scratch paper to the examination. Cell phones, laptops, pagers, smart watches and other communication devices may not be used in the examination room.

The examination is electronic, consists of 80 multiple choice questions, and is open book.  A score of 75 percent is required to pass. Examinees are allowed 4.5 hours to complete the examination. 

Examination topics typically include: Entry, Classification, Trade Agreements, Valuation, Broker Compliance, Power of Attorney, Marking, Drawback, Bonds, Foreign Trade Zones/Bonded Warehouse, Warehouse Entries, Intellectual Property Rights, Fines, Penalties and Forfeitures, and other subjects pertinent to a broker’s duties.

A link to a sample electronic examination is available at CBP Customs Broker License Examination in the In-Person Test Site Rules section. The link may be accessed an unlimited number of times and may be useful in familiarizing examination applicants with the electronic examination process. The sample examination will not evaluate answers.

CBP Customs Broker License Examination url:

www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/customs-brokers/license-examination-notice-examination

CBP maintains actual examination questions and their answer keys at CBP Customs Broker License Examinations & Answer Keys.

No changes may be made to a Broker Examination application after submission and payment.  Names and addresses on identification documents provided at the time of the examination must match the application.

Upon remote proctored exam/waitlist selection of ‘Yes’, a message displays that the request will be confirmed after payment. Only after payment will your request for the remote proctored exam/waitlist be recorded. Requesting the remote proctored exam/waitlist selection and then exiting/saving without payment will not record the selection. If you selected the remote proctored exam option, you will receive an email from the vendor with instructions and a separate reminder within 9 days after the close of registration. If you selected the Waitlist option and capacity becomes available, you will be notified by email from Broker Management Branch prior to the withdrawal deadline.

Any applicant who wishes to withdraw from the examination and receive a refund must sign in to the eCBP portal, select Broker License and then select the ‘Withdraw from Exam’ option no later than 8:30 am (Eastern time) two working days prior to the examination date. Refunds for examination withdrawals will generally be processed within 45 days after the scheduled examination is scored.  You WILLNOT be able to reapply for the same exam once you have withdrawn.  Corrections to your exam application information must be requested through email to brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov. The withdraw option will not appear unless you have registered for the exam.

Receipts are available in the Payment Summary displayed after payment and electronic receipts will be emailed to the email address provided in the exam application. Receipts can be retrieved by signing in to your eCBP account, selecting the License Exam link, and then selecting Completed Exam Applications/Receipts.

Some phones such as iPhone may not support PDF viewing in the native email app and may require a browser to view the receipts.

The examinee answer sheet is provided upon exiting the exam room on exam day.  The answer sheet will need to be included with the appeal package if submitting an appeal.

Examinees will be notified of the examination results by email. The email address provided in the examination application will be used for notification of the examination results.

CBP will make every effort to post a copy of the actual examination at CBP Customs Broker License Examinations & Answer Keys within 3 business days following the examination.  The answers undergo a vetting process and will typically be available within 10 business days of the examination.  

Updates should be made when completing the exam registration form. Names and addresses on identification documents provided at the time of the examination must match the application.

If an application packet is not received within 60 days of the passing grade notification, you may contact the Broker Management Officer at the Port of Affiliation indicated on your registration form.

Some phones such as iPhone may not support PDF viewing in the native email app and may require a browser to view the attachment.

You may apply for a broker license up to 3 years from the date of receiving the passing examination notification.

You may retake the examination when it is offered again by re-applying and paying the examination fee.  You are also entitled to submit an appeal of your examination score to CBP in accordance with 19 CFR 111.13(f).

An incomplete/unpaid exam application will not be active and not available to view after the exam registration period is closed.

More information about the Broker Exam may be found at CBP Customs Broker License Examination/Notification.

Customs Broker License

Assuming you are eligible, you may apply after you pass the Customs Broker License Examination.

Apply to the port where you want to transact Customs business as a broker.

There is a $200 application fee (plus a fingerprint check and processing fee).

There are three levels of review. First is a multi-agency background investigation. Second, the CBP Center Director reviews the background investigation results and any other pertinent information before s/he forwards a recommendation to CBP Headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Finally, CBP HQ will carefully evaluate each application, and the Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, will advise the applicant on whether his or her application is approved.

Each Broker license applicant must undergo a background investigation that includes a fingerprint analysis and review of character references, credit reports, and arrest records.  Arrests and convictions do not necessarily preclude the issuance of a license.  In partnership, association, or corporation applications, individuals identified as principals with controlling interest, officers, partners, or members will also undergo a background investigation.

The Center Director will refer an application for an individual, partnership, association, or corporation license to the special agent in charge or other entity designated by Headquarters for investigation and report.  An investigation under this section will ascertain facts relevant to the question of whether the applicant is qualified and will cover, but need not be limited to: The accuracy of the statements made in the application; The business integrity of the applicant; and, When the applicant is an individual (including a member of a partnership or an officer of an association or corporation), the character and reputation of the applicant. The Center Director will forward the application and the report of investigation to the Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade. The Center Director will also submit his recommendation for action on the application.

The length of time it takes to complete the license application process can vary depending on multiple factors. Some of the factors include, but are not limited to, the completeness of the application and the number of different locations where the applicant has lived.  CBP processing time upon receipt of a complete application averages 3-6 months.  Incomplete applications take considerably more time.

An applicant for a Broker's License may withdraw the application at any time prior to issuance of the license by providing written notice of the withdrawal to the Center Director.  However, withdrawal of the application does not entitle the applicant to receive a refund of the $200 application fee.

The Center Director may reject an application as improperly filed if the application, on its face, demonstrates that one or more of the basic requirements for a license have not been met at the same time of filing, in which case the application and fee will be returned to the filer without further action.

Yes. Appeal procedures are outlined in 19 CFR 111.17.

You may apply for a broker license up to 3 years from the date of receiving the passing examination notification.

Replacement requests may be directed to the port through which your license was obtained or via email to brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov with "license replacement request for license #####” in the subject line.

Name change request letters may be mailed to the BMO at your license registered port or emailed to brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov with supporting legal documentation and “license name change request” in the subject line.

Customs Broker Triennial Status Report

Yes. A Triennial Status Report (TSR) and fee must be filed for each license that is not cancelled or revoked.  You will file a report for the individual license and a separate report for the corporate license. The system requires you to submit your individual license TSR prior to working on the corporate/organization TSR.

Yes. A Triennial Status Report (TSR) and fee must be filed for each license that is not canceled or revoked.  You will file a report for the individual license and a separate report for the Corporate license. The eCBP system requires submission of the individual license TSR prior to  submitting the Corporate/Organization TSR.

A status report and fee must be submitted to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for each individual and entity (corporation, limited liability company, partnership, or association) holding a valid broker’s license (not revoked or canceled).

The federal regulations specify that the Triennial Status Report is due by February 28th, every three years, starting from 1985.  Based on this information, one can calculate in which year future Triennial Status Reports will be due: 2021, 2024, 2027, and so on.

A report that is filed during the month of February in the year in which reporting is due is considered to be filed timely. CBP offices will begin accepting the status report and the corresponding fee on December 15, 2020.  Timely filing for year 2021, for example, can therefore be made between December 15, 2020, and February 28, 2021.

The information required to be provided can be found in 19 C.F.R. § 111.30(d). There is no official U.S. Government form for the reporting the required information, however, CBP provides an electronic report and fee submission option using the e.cbp.dhs.gov/ecbp web site. A separate report and a fee must be filed for each license. 

No, the Triennial Status Report and fee must be filed for every license issued on or before December 31st, in the year preceding the reporting year.

Depending upon the conditions of a Suspension Agreement enacted between CBP and a licensed broker, the suspended license may not require submission of a status report and fee.  Aside from brokers with revoked or canceled licenses, all brokers should submit a Triennial Status Report (TSR). If a broker has any question as to whether he or she should submit a TSR, then he or she should contact a BMO at the closest local port. eCBP allows TSR’s to be submitted for all unrevoked and non-canceled licenses.

The licensing port is the district port that received the license application and delivered the license to you.

The issue date is the date on the physical license you received. The eCBP system validates a user by the license number and issue date that resides in ACE.

If the Triennial Status Report and fee is not submitted electronically, it must be submitted to the port that delivered the license. Older licenses may not state the port through which it was delivered. The port is the office where you submitted your license application and that delivered the license to you. If you do not know what your issuing port is, we suggest submitting electronically on e.cbp.dhs.gov/ecbp (the system will auto-populate the issuing port).  Alternatively, check with Broker Management at: brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov, using Broker Triennials in the subject line.

The report and fee submission may be submitted online, where credit, debit and digital wallet (PayPal, Amazon Pay, etc.) is accepted*. The status report can be completed electronically, and the employee list, if applicable, can be attached and uploaded. A link to the Triennial Status Report will be available on our webpage e.cbp.dhs.gov/ecbp when CBP begins accepting reports. The reporting timeframe is expected to open on December 15, 2020 for the February 2021 Triennial status report. In no instance should reports be submitted directly to CBP headquarters. Submission of Triennial reports directly to headquarters will not be considered to have satisfied reporting requirements. See FAQ regarding paper submission option: https://cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/customs-brokers/frequentl…. Note: There are no additional fees for paying online using any acceptable payment method.

The required elements of the report are prescribed in 19 CFR 111.30(d). There is no required format for the report; however, the electronic submission contains all data elements required to be provided in the Triennial Status Report. Please be reminded, licensed customs brokers with active permit(s) must submit an employee list, if applicable, along with the status report in accordance with 19 CFR 111.28(b). The electronic submission allows a .CSV, .PDF, WORD, or EXCEL document upload of the employee list. If the employee list needs to be updated prior to the TSR being submitted, the user can upload a new file that will replace the previous one.  Required information for each employee is: name, social security number, date and place of birth, and current home address of each current employee. In addition, each individually licensed broker must indicate whether or not he/she still meets the applicable requirements of 19 CFR 111.11 and 111.19 and has not engaged in any conduct that could constitute grounds for suspension or revocation under section 111.53.

Yes, if the Triennial Status Report and fee is filed online, it will satisfy the reporting requirements. Nothing needs to be sent to the port.

No, you should only have one Login.gov account that is used for ALL eCBP portal and other related transactions including completing your individual and organization status report. eCBP does not utilize the Pay.gov user account system.  The designated payer for a company will login to eCBP, identify themselves as a designated payer for that company, select the Triennial Status Reports (TSR)(s) they want to make payment for, and will then be taken to the Pay.gov to enter their payment information. You will make a one-time payment for the TSR's selected for payment.  Payment history will be maintained in eCBP and can be retrieved at any time. Receipt tracking and history will be maintained within the eCBP system.  The designated payer will be able to sign on to eCBP and download receipts on demand. A payment notification email will be submitted to the broker and a TSR receipt will be submitted to the broker’s designated payer, listing all the licenses that were paid together.  Pay.gov emails a payment statement as soon as the payment is processed.  eCBP emails the detailed receipt as soon as Pay.gov confirms receipt of payment back to eCBP (almost simultaneously) to the payer of the TSR fee.  Once the TSR fee amount is validated and the broker is transported to Pay.gov, the TSR fee amount cannot be changed.

Individuals are considered to be "actively engaged" in transacting customs business when they are currently transacting or have recently transacted customs business on behalf of others as a sole proprietor, or when they are employed by a licensed customs broker which is currently transacting or has recently transacted customs business on behalf of others. Those who are employed by a broker but are not directly involved in any activities that fall under the scope of the definition of customs business may report that they are not actively engaged in customs business. However, it is permissible for an individual licensed customs broker, regardless of what activity they perform for their present broker employer, to indicate what they are "actively engaged" in transacting business if their employer is a licensed customs broker and which is currently transacting or has recently transacted customs business on behalf of others.  

Partnerships, corporations, and associations must also report to customs in a status report whether or not they are actively engaged in customs business. An organization which currently transacts or recently transacted customs business on behalf of others should report that they are "actively engaged" in customs business.

Yes, you can begin your report and then come back to finish later. You can save the report at any point up to and including the uploading of the attachment. The payment information cannot be entered and saved. Please ensure you use the same Login.gov account to finish filling out the TSR that was used when you created the TSR.

The status report has an e-certification section requiring an e-signature. The e-signature must be that of the licensed officer or member. If the individual filling out the TSR answers the question that there is currently no qualified license broker and that individual is given a termination date, another broker administrative representative other than a license holder may submit an organizational TSR.

No, the status report must be completed and e-signed by the license holder.

Only one attachment should be added to the status report which should contain a list of all employees of the license holder.

The employee list must include all of a company’s employees... CFR 19.111.28(b): states: "an updated list, setting forth the name, social security number, date and place of birth, and current home address of each current employee, must be submitted with the status report required by §111.30(d)."

Yes, the individual customs broker qualifying the license is an employee of the company and should be on the employee list. For the 2021 Triennial Status Report (TSR) reporting period, employee update notifications will happen through a static file upload.  The possibility of updating the individual employee records in ACE is on the development list for the next TSR reporting period. Entering employee lists directly into ACE is a new functionality and not presently supported by the eCBP TSR system.  For the 2021 filing period, the requirement is met by uploading the list through the TSR application.”

The data limit for the file upload is 2 megabytes. This is large enough to upload over 5000 names.

The corresponding fee of $100.00 (one hundred dollars) should accompany each status report that is submitted to CBP.  Payment by credit, debt, and digital wallet (PayPal, Amazon Pay, etc.) is accepted.

*Note: There are no additional fees for paying online using any acceptable method.

After completion of your status report, you will pay the fee yourself or if you are actively engaged in customs broker business, you may select your customs broker employer to pay the fee.  Payment of the fee may be made by credit, debit or digital wallet (PayPal, Amazon Pay, etc.).  Please note that your status report is not considered submitted until the fee payment has been made. You can pay the Triennial fees via your company account for the two employees with licenses that are not qualified brokers.

You must select that you are “actively engaged” in customs business, in order to have the option to select your broker employer to pay your fee.

If the payment is made by the individual, the receipt will be emailed to the email provided in the status report.  If the payment is made by the broker employer, the receipt will be emailed to the brokerage employer using the email provided in the organization status report (as well as the payer provided email if applicable) and a payment notification will be emailed to the reporting individual(s) for which payment was made using the email provided in the individual status report.

In the case of a company that does not transact customs business, each employee holding a broker license must individually submit their TSR and fee.

No, there is no convenience fee for any of the forms of payment.

Your name should appear as it appears on your issued customs broker license.

Any broker who has undergone a legal name change must provide the port director at the port through which the license was delivered a request that the license be issued in the new name with evidence of their right to use the new legal name.  The absence of a name change request should not prevent a broker from submitting the Triennial Status Report using the current license name.

You will only be required to submit one Triennial Status Report regardless of a name change. You should complete the status report with the name on the license at the time of submission then pursue requesting an amended license.

The mailing address provided in the status report is official notification to CBP of an address change.  However, the Triennial Status Report should not serve as the sole method of address update notification. Whenever you have a change of address, you should contact the port through which your license was delivered to update it with CBP. The address that CBP has on file is important because it is used to mail out the certified notice of suspension if the Triennial Status report is not submitted.

We encourage you to submit your Triennial Status Report and payment electronically, however, a paper Triennial Status Report and payment in the form of a check or money order payable to U.S. Customs and Border Protection may be submitted to the port that originally delivered the license to the broker.  A report and/or fee submitted to a port other than the delivered through port may be rejected, returned, misplaced or denied which may result in the revocation of the license. If you send a paper Triennial Status Report and payment to the port, address it to the Broker Management Officer. In no instance should reports be submitted directly to CBP headquarters. Submission of Triennial reports directly to CBP headquarters will not be considered to have satisfied reporting requirements.

All valid licenses for which no report has been submitted will be suspended by operation of law on March 1st of any given reporting year. When a license is so suspended, the port/center director will send written notice of the suspension to the broker in March of that same reporting year. The notice will be sent using USPS certified mail to the last known address reflected in CBP records. Note that if the broker has failed to provide the port/center director with a current and accurate mailing address, the suspension notice will, as a result, be mailed to an incorrect address.

The broker may tender a status report and fees online or at the port through which the license was delivered within the 60 day notice period. If the status report and fee is submitted within 60 days of notice of suspension, the license will be reinstated.

Unfortunately, If the broker does not submit the status report and fees within 60 days of notice of suspension, pursuant to 19 CFR 111.30(d), the broker’s license will be revoked by operation of law. Such licenses are revoked by operation of law without prejudice to the filing of a new application for a license. This means that, while a license which is revoked by operation of law cannot be reinstated, the effected individual may file a new application for a license.  However, unless the individual has passed the customs broker license exam within the three years prior to submitting that new application, the individual will need to retake the exam.

Under most error conditions, there will be pop up box that will indicate the source of the issue and the contact information for the CBP Information Center. The help ticket is created when the broker calls the Information Center at 877-227-5511. The Information Center personnel will attempt to assist the caller with high-level answers. If this does not rectify the situation, the help ticket will be elevated to the next level of problem resolution.

In the case of a company, that does not hold a broker’s license, each of the five brokers will need to have their TSR submitted and fee paid individually.

If the company holds a broker’s license, all individual license holders must submit their status report and select brokerage as payer by using the filer code of the brokerage. The qualifier License holder then submits the ORG status report selecting brokerage as payer. One of the designated employee License holders or an administrate person then can make the payment (using Brokerage Payment Option from the Triennial home page) for all licenses in a single payment.

Yes. Training will be provided to brokers, on how to submit their Triennial status report, beginning in December, 2020.

Yes, each licensed broker working for a licensed brokerage will: 1) utilize the brokerage's Filer Code to associate themselves with that brokerage, and 2) have the option to designate that the brokerage will pay the fee on their behalf or if they will pay it for themselves. Each company location will be associated by data listed in ACE for that Filer code based on the permits.

No, a Triennial Status Report is required for each license and not each permit.

The issue date is usually the date on the last printed license issued by CBP.  If you have a question about what date is reflected in ACE (and thus the eCBP portal) please contact your local BMO or the Broker Management Branch.

The Federal Code of Regulations, for customs brokers, defines an employee as: “"Employee” means a person who meets the common law definition of employee and is in the service of a customs broker."  CFR 19.A.111.1 "Definitions".

Yes, the address fields of the TSR will allow for foreign addresses.

Trade Names and Corporations

No. Customs Broker licenses are issued to individuals, associations, corporations, or partnerships. These licenses are restricted to the person or entity to which they are issued, and are not transferable from that license holder to any other individual or entity, regardless of the relationship.  For example, an individual licensee may not use his or her license for the purpose of a corporation to engage in "Customs business" - even if the licensee is sole owner of that corporation. The corporation would need to obtain its own Customs Broker license.

Note that, upon that corporation's receipt of its license, the licensed individual could qualify it to engage in "Customs business."  In such a case, the licensee would be required to be an officer of that corporation.

If the broker wishes to operate under a different name, the broker can change his, her, or its name, or can utilize a fictitious name i.e., DBA, or "Doing Business As". Pursuant to 19 CFR § 111.30(c), a broker who wishes to change names, or proposes to operate under a trade or fictitious name, must obtain approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection prior to using that new name.

In the case of a trade or fictitious name, the broker must affix his, her, or its own name in conjunction with the approved trade name when signing customs documents. For example, should Customs broker "ABC, Inc." be granted approval to use the fictitious name of "XYZ," that Customs broker must sign customs documents as "ABC, Inc. dba XYZ."

To request use of a trade name, please submit to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Broker Management Branch, the following:

  1. A written request for use of the trade name.  Include your name, physical mailing and email address, phone number, port name and port code, and license number.
  2. A copy of approval to use the trade name from the relevant local authority (e.g., state or county).  If the relevant local authority does not review trade name usage requests, please note this in your request to the Broker Management Branch.

Yes. A licensed individual and a licensed corporation, association, or partnership, each have an obligation to file their own triennial status reports. If the business entity files its status report timely but the individual licensee qualifying the business does not file his or her own status report timely, pursuant to 19 CFR 111.30(d), that individual's license may be revoked by operation of law.

An individual licensed qualifier for a corporation, association, or partnership, who loses his or her license, subjects that business entity's license to possible revocation.  Pursuant to 19 CFR 111.45(a), if, during any continuous period of 120 days, the corporation, association, or partnership brokerage firm fails to have at least once officer who holds a valid individual broker's license, that business entity's license and all of its permits will be revoked by operation of law.

It depends.  For a company to engage in "Customs business," that company must generally become its own licensed entity. If the company engages in "Customs business" without a license, as specified in 19 CFR 111.11, the company may be subject to penalties. 19 U.S.C. 1641(b)(6) dictates, for example, that each intentional transaction of customs business without a license creates liability for a monetary penalty of up to $10,000.

Should the company not engage in customs business, however, then it is not necessary to disclose the entity's formation to U.S. Customs & Border Protection.  Nevertheless, other rules and regulations still apply.  For example, if the individual broker outsources ancillary services to the corporation, the corporation must have no access to or involvement in the actual customs business work of the licensed broker. In addition, pursuant to 19 CFR 111.24, broker clients record, and the information contained in those records, must generally not be disclosed to third parties. Third parties include the broker's company, so long as it is its own distinct legal entity, irrespective of ownership structure.

No. Filer codes, which are unique and dedicated, are assigned to individuals, corporations, partnerships, or associations. As such, an individual who later obtains a corporate license to engage in "Customs business" and intends to conduct "Customs business" as a corporation would need to obtain a separate corporate filer code.  The manner of requesting the filer code for the company remains the same as requesting the filer code for the individual.

For Triennial Status Report issues, refer to the FAQs, or contact Rev Mod Service Desk at:

RevModServiceDesk@cbp.dhs.gov or call 1-800-366-8732 Ext. 4670 (please leave a message if your call is not answered directly) RMSD is open Monday-Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.

  • Exam Appeals
  • Exam Registration
  • DBA’s
  • Broker licensing
  • Filer Codes
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Permits
  • Waivers
  • Change of Address

To best contact Broker Management please send an email to: brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov. Please include the topic in the subject line to ensure proper handling. 

Broker Management Branch
1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
9th Floor
Washington, DC 20229

 

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Source URL: https://www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/customs-brokers/frequently-asked-questions