Frequently Asked Questions

Electronic Signatures on the Power of Attorney

In general, before transacting customs business on behalf of a client, a customs broker is required “to obtain a valid power of attorney to do so.”  19 C.F.R. 141.46.  Neither CBP statutes nor regulations further elaborate as to whether electronic signatures are permitted to execute a POA.  Therefore, the mere fact that a POA is electronically signed will not necessarily make it invalid.  A customs broker POA agreement establishes an agency relationship between two parties, neither of whom are CBP.  Laws that establish requirements for and govern POA agreements are set by state agency and contract law. 

The parties who create the POA agreement determine which state law applies for the creation of that agreement.  CBP laws and regulations do not dictate which state law governs the creation of a POA between a broker and its client. 

The parties who create the POA agreement determine which law applies for the creation of that agreement.  CBP laws and regulations do not dictate which law governs the creation of a POA between a broker and its client. 

The parties who enter a POA may determine whether to include a choice of law clause in their POA.  CBP’s assessment as to whether a broker has obtained a “valid” POA is a fact-specific determination.  A POA’s choice of law provision would be one fact among others used in CBP’s determination. 

The broker and its client must determine this sufficiency under applicable state law.  Rather, CBP may request the production of a broker’s POA with its client and can assess whether the POA is “valid.”  This is a fact-specific determination, and the use of an electronic signature is one element among others used in CBP’s assessment. 

 

CBP is not a party to the POA agreement and cannot revoke (cancel) the agreement between those two parties. 

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Source URL: https://www.cbp.gov/trade/programs-administration/customs-brokers/validating-power-attorney/faqs-electronic-sig