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How Does A Continuous Customs Bond Work?

Importing goods into the US and working with Customs and Border Protection can be taxing. It takes a long time to fulfill the subtle requirements of filing an appropriate customs bond alone. Depending on the type of merchandise, its value, and requirements of different government authorities such as CBP, EPA, FDA, etc. the value and details of your continuous customs bond may vary.

A customs bond acts as a security to CBP and the US treasury department to ensure importer will pay all duties, taxes, and fines levied on the imports. It also ensures that the shipment will comply with all laws and regulations.

What is a continuous bond?

A continuous customs bond covers multiple import entries into the destination port during an entire year. However, a renewal of continuous bond does not necessarily occur on yearly bases as the importer always have a choice of paying an advance payment of a bond to activate it for up to three consecutive years.

This bond remains active and terminated by the CBP whenever a termination application is filed by the principal. It is the most commonly used bond for commercial purposes and includes $50,000 coverage for a 12-month period.

How does it work?

A single entry bond is another option for importers who tend to import only once in a year. This bond is never less than the total value of import and incurred taxes, duties, and fees. Traders who need to import frequently in a year can apply for continuous import bond. They are automatically renewed every year and can be canceled by physically noticing to the concerned authority.

In case, the principal does not follow the laws and CBP fails to collect monies due to the principal, CBP will have the right to seek up to bond amount from the insurance/surety company.


Importer Security Filing (ISF or 10+2) is mandatory for importers to file before the goods loaded to the vessel. You may not need an ISF with continuous import bond. CBP requires importers to submit an ISF 24 hours before of cargo being placed to the vessel in which they have to submit containerized cargo information.

A customs bond is a financial guarantee between three parties – Importer (principal), CBP (obligee), and Insurance/Surety Company. So as an importer, you can obtain a customs bond contacting to a customs broker or freight forwarding company. The broker will do all the document, paperwork, and purchase of the bond on behalf of you.

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