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  3. Rulings and Legal Decisions

Rulings and Legal Decisions

U.S.  Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issues binding advance rulings and other legal decisions in connection with the importation of merchandise into the United States. Advance rulings provide the international trade community with a transparent and efficient means of understanding how CBP will treat a prospective import or carrier transaction. 

For example, a ruling letter may address the tariff classification or appraised value of merchandise, the liquidation of an entry, or the exclusion of merchandise from entry. As such, ruling letters facilitate trade by enabling companies to make business decisions that are dependent on how their goods will be treated on importation. 

CBP also issues other binding decisions such as internal advice decisions letters (covering current import and carrier transactions), and protest review decisions (appeals of CBP decisions on completed transactions).

With a view to promoting transparency, CBP also makes available to the public various other guidance including the following: the Customs Rulings On-Line Search System (CROSS – a database of published rulings), the Customs Bulletin and Decisions, pertinent Federal Register Notices, CBP Directives and HandbooksInformed Compliance Publications, and a summary of laws enforced by CBP.

Ruling Requests

What are Ruling Letters?
Requirements for Electronic Ruling Requests

Customs Bulletin and Decisions and Federal Register Notices

The Customs Bulletin and Decisions is a weekly compilation of decisions, rulings, regulations, notices, and abstracts concerning customs and related matters of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Court of International Trade, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 

Additionally, an archive of trade-related Federal Register Notices provides the public with additional guidance concerning the importation of merchandise into the United States.

Informed Compliance Publications, Directives, and Handbooks

CBP has a number of Informed Compliance Publications (ICPs) in the "What Every Member of the Trade Community Should Know About: ..." series. As of the date of this posting, the subjects listed are available for reading or downloading. The first date shown is the original publication date. The subsequent dates, if any, show the revisions. Please note: The "Additional Information" sections in some of the older ICPs were correct at the time of publication, but may no longer be current. 

Additionally, CBP publishes several Directives and Handbooks, which provide guidance to the public on a variety of trade-related matters.   

Summary of Laws Enforced by CBP

The Summary of Laws Enforced by CBP is a compendium of United States Code enforced by CBP and is provided for information only. It is not intended to imply any limitation of the enforcement powers of CBP.

Last Modified: Nov 24, 2020