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Customs Broker Frequently Asked Questions

General Information
Becoming a Customs Broker

What is 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.

What are the requirements for becoming an individual customs broker?

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.

Assuming I am eligible, how do I become a Customs broker?

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.

What are some general requirements to be an organization customs broker?

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.

How does an organization apply for a customs 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.

Where can I get more information on applying for an individual or organization license?

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

Customs Broker License Examination

Where do I register for the Broker Exam?

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.

What browser should I use when logging in to register for the customs broker license exam?

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, visit CBP Information Center or call 1-877-227-5511.

Are instructions available to help me complete the Broker Exam registration online form?

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

What if I need additional assistance registering for the Broker Examination?

Visit CBP Information Center or contact 1-877-227-5511 for additional assistance.

Are cookies used to capture and store personal information when logging in to eCBP?

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

Why am I getting a message to verify my address?

An address verification method has been implemented to capture accurate addresses. If you receive this message with the ‘Make edits’ option, please review your address and make changes as needed. If you receive the message with the ‘Accept Suggested’ option, please review the suggested address and accept if correct.  Changes may be required for the Residence Address and the Mailing Address separately.

What is the purpose of the CBP Broker License examination?

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)).

What are the requirements to take the examination?

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.

What are the costs involved?

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

What type of payments are accepted?

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.

When is the examination given?

The examination is given twice annually on the fourth Wednesday in April and October, unless the agency publishes in the Federal Register an appropriate notice of a change in the examination date.

Where are the examinations given?

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

How do I self-select my examination site?

Within a week after exam registration closes, registrants will receive an email 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 following registration.  Each registrant will be emailed an examination admission notice identifying the location of their examination.

How may I request ADA accommodation?

Applicants requesting ADA accommodations must indicate on the registration form and submit supporting documentation by deadline indicated to brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov with ADA REQUEST-Broker Examination in the email subject line.  Additional information is available at CBP Customs Broker License Examination.

What form of identification do I need to bring to the examination?

Examinees must bring their proof of registration, proof of identification AND proof of citizenship. 

Approved forms of identification are: original government issued photo identification such as U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. State issued ID Card, U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport Card, U.S. Military ID, U.S Government Issued Visa, U.S. Territory ID (Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.).  Photocopies or electronic copies are NOT permissible.  Expired IDs are NOT acceptable.

Approved forms of citizenship are: U.S. Passport, U.S. Passport Card, Birth Certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of U.S. Citizenship.  Photocopies or electronic copies are NOT permitted. Expired documents (passport/passport card) are NOT acceptable.

What examination materials may I bring?

Examinees may bring appropriate Harmonized Tariff Schedule, Appropriate Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations, CBP Form 7501 Instructions, Right to Make Entry Directive 3530-002 and ACE Entry Summary Business Process. 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.

What is the format of the examination?

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. 

What topics are covered on 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.

Where can examination study materials be located?

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule and the Code of Federal Regulations may be found at GPO Bookstore.

The electronic version of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule may be found at Harmonized Tariff Schedule for self-printing. Beginning with the April 2020 examination, an electronic and searchable HTS will be provided during the exam.

The electronic version of the Code of Federal Regulations may be found at Code of Federal Regulations for self-printing.

CBP Form 7501 Instructions may be found at CBP Form 7501 Instructions.

The Right to Make Entry Directive 3530-002 may be found at CBP Directives and Handbooks.

The ACE Entry Summary Business Process may be found at CBP ACE Entry Summary Business Process.

Examinees may only bring paper reference materials to the examination room.  Examinees are not allowed to bring in electronic reference materials on any device.

Is a sample electronic examination available?

A link to a sample electronic examination is available at CBP Customs Broker License Examination Sample Exam.

The link may be accessed an unlimited number of times and may be useful in familiarizing examination applicants with the electronic examination process. This sample examination will not evaluate answers.

Are previous examinations questions and their answers published?

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

May I make changes to my application after submission and payment?

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.

May I withdraw from the examination and receive a refund?

Any applicant who wishes to withdraw from the examination must submit a written notice of withdrawal to the CBP Broker Management Branch via email to brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov no later than 11:59 PM (your local time) two business days prior to the examination date.

Applicants withdrawing from the examination should include the Receipt number, Pay.gov Tracking ID, and Agency Tracking ID from the receipt in the withdrawal request.  Refunds for timely examination withdrawals of registrants will generally be processed within 60 days after the scheduled examination is scored.

Where may I get a copy of my receipt?

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 logging in to your eCBP account at eCBP Broker Home and clicking the License Exam link.  A link will then display to retrieve exam application(s)/receipt(s).

What if I cannot view the electronic examination receipt on my phone?

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

When do I receive my exam answer sheet?

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.

When and how will I find out if I passed the examination?

Examinees will be notified of the examination results by email within 3-weeks of the examination date.  The email address provided in the examination application will be used for notification of the examination results.

When will the most recent examination questions and their answers be available?

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.  

May I update information displayed in my application that needs to be changed/corrected including a name change?

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.

Whom do I contact if I received my notice of passing the examination but never received the Broker License application packet?

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.

What if I can’t view the attachment in the exam results email on my phone?

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

How long after receiving my notice of passing the examination do I have to apply for a Broker License?

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

What if I fail the examination?

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).

Can I view or retrieve my incomplete/unpaid application after the exam registration period is closed?

Draft exam application will not be active and not available to view after the exam registration period is closed.

Where can I find additional information about the Broker Exam?

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

Customs Broker License

When may I apply for a Customs Broker License?

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

Where may I apply for a Customs Broker License?

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

What are the fees for a broker license application?

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

Who reviews Broker License applications?

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.

What does the background investigation include?

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.

What happens when a license applicant is investigated?

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.

How long does the application process take to obtain a Customs Broker License?

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.

Can an applicant withdraw their application?

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.

Can an application be rejected?

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.

Is there an appeal if a broker license application is denied by CBP?

Yes. Appeal procedures are outlined in 19 CFR 111.17.

How long after receiving my notice of passing the examination do I have to apply for a Customs Broker License?

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

How can I obtain a replacement license if mine was lost or misplaced?

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.

Where do I send my license name change request?

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

My license supports the corporate license. Do I have to file a report for my individual license and the corporate license?

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.

My License qualifies the Corporate License. Do I have to file a report for my individual license and the Corporate license?

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.

Who is required to submit a triennial status report and pay the corresponding fee?

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).

When is the status report due to CBP?

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.

What information must be submitted in the Triennial report?

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. 

If I receive my license in January or February of the reporting year, must I submit a Triennial report?

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.

Am I required to submit a Triennial Status Report and pay the corresponding fee if my license is suspended?

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.

What is my licensing port?

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

What is my license issue date?

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.

My license indicates it was issued at Washington, D.C. Is that the location I should designate for the report submission?

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.

Where should I submit the report and fee?

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/frequently-asked-questions. Note: There are no additional fees for paying online using any acceptable payment method.

What is the format for the online report?

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.

If I submit the status report and fee online via the eCBP portal, does this satisfy the requirement to submit it to the port where license was delivered?

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.

Must I have a personal Login.gov account to file a status report for my own license, and a separate Login.gov account to file a status report for the organization license?

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.

For purposes of completing the report, how does CBP define a person who is "actively engaged" in transacting customs business?

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.

Can I begin my status report, stop and save my work, then come back to finish later?

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.

How does the qualifying licensed customs broker sign the online Triennial status report for a licensed organization?

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.

May I allow a colleague to submit my online status report and pay the fee?

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

If my company has employees, should my company attach one employee list for each permitted port or a complete list for all employees of 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.

Does the employee list encompass all employees or only employees engaged in brokerage activity?

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)."

Does the qualifying customs broker need to be on the employee list?

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.”

What is the data limit for uploading the employee list for a Corporate License?

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

How much is the corresponding fee?

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.

How much is the corresponding fee?

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.

What are my options for online fee payment and can I pay still pay my employees Triennial fees via my company account if the two employee with licenses are non qualifying brokers?

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.

I want my brokerage employer to pay my fee but I do not see that payment option when completing my report. How do I select my brokerage to pay my fee?

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.

Will I receive an emailed receipt for confirmation of payment?

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.

Can a non-brokerage company submit the fee payment for its employees with broker licenses?

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.

Will a convenience fee be charged when using a credit card?

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

How should my name appear on the status report if I legally changed my name since my license was issued?

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.

I am in the process of changing my name due to a new marriage. When I applied for my license, I used my maiden name. Since my maiden is on my broker license, I know I should use it on the report. However, if I change my name in January, will I have to

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.

Do I have to update my mailing address prior to filing the Triennial Status Report? Or will the Triennial Status Report serve as a method to update my current mailing address?

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.

Can I submit my Triennial Status Report in paper form?

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.

What happens if I fail to submit a status report by the end of February of any given reporting year?

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.

What happens if I fail to submit a status report within the 60-day suspension period?

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.

If we have an issue with filing the report and/or submitting payment through the site, who would we contact?

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.

If a non-brokerage company has five licensed brokers, do you have to pay for the brokers individually or can you add all five brokers plus their status report and go to your cart to pay for the fees together?

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.

Will training be provided to customs brokers on how to submit their Triennial status report?

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

Would the broker report for the mass pay be linked by Filer Code?

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.

What about multiple office locations under a national permit? Is the Triennial required for the corporate and each branch?

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

Is the issue date the original license date or when it was reissued?

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.

If you have Employees assigned through Staff Agencies do they also have to be listed on uploaded report we submit showing employee's information?

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".

Can an expat renew without a US address?

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

Trade Names and Corporations

I have an individual Customs Broker license, and I want to start a corporation that will engage in "Customs business." May I transfer my individual license to the corporation for purposes of engaging in "Customs business" as a corporation?

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.

I am a licensed individual who wishes to operate under a different name. After receiving approval from the relevant state/local authority, what is the next step?

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.

My individual license was revoked for failure to file my triennial status report, and I am the licensed qualifying broker for the corporation. Does this affect the corporation?

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.

I am a licensed broker, and I have formed a company. Should I notify U.S. Customs and Border Protection of that formation?

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.

May a filer code be transferred between entities, such as from a broker to his or her newly licensed company?

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.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, January 6, 2021 - 10:50
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