Customs bond is a security issued by Surety Company with mandatory U.S. Customs authorization. The purpose of the bond is to secure enforcement of customs laws and to protect revenue of the United States. Majority of import products require bond coverage.
There are two types of bonds: continuous and single entry.
The continuous bond is an annual bond with validity of twelve months from the issuance date. It covers every single shipment at any port including ISF.
A single entry bond covers one shipment only.
At importer's request, we apply for the continuous bond. It usually takes two to three weeks to get the bond. This is a two- steps process. The first step is to obtain the customs approval and the second step is to obtain the insurance company approval. Cost for this bond is $500.00 a year. Minimum cost for a single entry bond is $50.00, or $5.00 per every $1,000.00 of the invoice value. In case of OGA "other government agency" involvement (besides U.S. Customs, like FDA, Fish and Wildlife, etc.) base for the bond is three times the invoice value.
There is a huge advantage to have a bond on file - the goods get cleared faster. All entries are created and submitted in electronic format if the bond is on file. Otherwise, customs entry has to be hand delivered to the customs which may delay the release of the goods for several days and cause unnecessary storage fees.
If you are importing only once a single entry bond is the best choice for you.