Requirements for Electronic Ruling Requests
UPDATE - The National Commodity Specialist Division is still accepting requests for binding rulings. However, the evolving situation regarding the declared national emergency on the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) has affected the processing operations of our Customs Information Exchange branch.
Please be aware that binding rulings which include or necessitate a sample may be delayed in processing and/or issuance. During this time, it is recommended that detailed photographs or short videos of the product be submitted in lieu of samples. However, we recognize that certain commodities require a sample in order for a determination to be made. In such cases, delays may occur. The National Import Specialist assigned to work on your ruling will reach out to you to discuss your options and whether a determination can be made without a sample.
Thank you for your cooperation.
The procedures under this rulings program apply to requests for binding classification rulings under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) and certain marking, origin, NAFTA and applicability of Trade Program rulings.
Under the newly enhanced eRulings program, the importing community may submit an electronic request for a binding ruling by accessing the new eRulings Template. The template permits the online filing of an electronic binding ruling request directly to the National Commodity Specialist Division (NCSD) of Regulations and Rulings.
The eRulings Template is reserved exclusively for the electronic submission of initial binding ruling requests to the NCSD in New York. Any questions or follow-up inquiries concerning electronic binding ruling requests must be made via telephone to Customs and Border Protection, Customs Information Exchange at (646) 733-3062, 3065, 3066, or 3071.
Upon transmission of an eRuling request, the requester will receive an email acknowledging his or her use of the template. If the transmission is received by the NCSD in good order, the requester will receive an email acknowledgement of receipt, complete with a binding ruling control number, within one business day. The official binding ruling response, complete with an electronic signature, will also be returned by email. Ruling requests that require a sample are now also included in the program.
Generally, the NCSD will issue all such rulings within 30 calendar days of the date of receipt. Some delay may occur if a laboratory report or consultation with another agency is required. Rulings that require referral to Headquarters, R&R, will be issued by mail within 90 days of receipt.
The ruling request must concern prospective shipments. A copy of the ruling or the ruling control number should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time the merchandise is imported. Please note that if for any reason you cannot meet the requirements for filing an electronic ruling request, you can still file for a binding ruling by mail. See What are Ruling Letters? for additional information.
Acceptable file formats are: Microsoft Word (.doc, docx), Microsoft Excel (.xls, .xlsx), Microsoft Power Point (.ppt, .pptx), Acrobat portable document format (.pdf), text file (.txt), JPEG image format (.jpg, jpeg), GIF image format (.gif), Windows bitmap (.bmp), Portable Network Graphics (.png) and MP4 (.mp4). No zip or compressed files will be permitted. Failure to adhere to these requirements may result in rejection of the request.
Information Required in Ruling Requests
Ruling requests must contain a complete statement of all relevant facts relating to the transaction including:
• The name, address, email address and phone number of the requesting party.
• The names, addresses, email addresses and other identifying information of all interested parties (if known) and the manufacturer ID code (if known).
•The name(s) of the port(s) in which the merchandise will be entered (if known).
•A description of the transaction; for example, a prospective importation (merchandise) from (country).
•A statement that there are, to the importer's knowledge, no issues on the commodity pending before CBP or any court.
•A statement as to whether advice has been sought from a CBP office; and if so, from whom, and what advice was rendered, if any.
To increase the likelihood that we can respond without having to return your request for additional information, please provide as much of the below information as possible, depending on the type of ruling which you require. Please also note that a single ruling request may include no more than five (5) items of the same class or kind in order to be accepted.
Classification rulings determine which Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) provisions apply to your goods. The HTS number determines the applicable duty rate and eligibility for various trade programs. Classification depends on various factors, which vary according to the type of product involved. The following information will be helpful:
• A full and complete description of the good in its imported condition.
• Component materials.
• The good's principal use in the United States.
• The commercial, common, or technical designation.
• Illustrative literature, sketches, digital photographs, flow charts etc.
• Chemical analysis, flow charts, CAS number, etc.
• Any special invoicing requirements in Section 141.89 of the Customs Regulations.
• Any other information that may assist in determining the classification of the article. We suggest you refer to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), and attempt to determine the likely applicable classification, so that you can discern from the wording of that provision what factors we will need in order to provide a ruling.
Country of Origin
Country of origin rulings determine the country of origin of your goods, which in turn determines the applicability of special duty rates and other trade programs. The origin of your goods depends on where the various production steps took place. The following detailed information will be helpful:
• Countries where each of the source materials were made or harvested.
• Countries where each of the various production steps took place.
Trade Program or Agreement
Trade program or agreement rulings determine whether free trade agreements such as NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), or special trade programs such as AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act), apply to your goods. In addition to the detailed production information described for Country of Origin rulings, these rulings may also require information on costs incurred in each of the production countries.
Country of Origin and Marking
Country of origin and marking rulings determine whether your goods are properly marked or labeled as to country of origin. The following information will be helpful:
• Detailed description of how the article and its container will be marked.
• Illustrations that show clearly how the goods are labeled and packaged.
• Illustrations should show all other labeling and packaging details, besides the actual country of origin marking.
• Detailed description of how the goods will be used or sold upon importation.