How To Become a Customs Broker

Assuming I am eligible, how do I become a Customs broker?
  1. First, you must pass the Customs Broker License Examination.
  2. Second, you must submit a broker license application with appropriate fees.
  3. Third, your application must be approved by CBP.

Becoming a Licensed Customs Broker

Responsibilities of customs brokers

Understanding the responsibilities and roles of a customs broker is helpful before entering the field. Some common responsibilities of customs brokers include:

Representing shipping clients

Customs brokers help their clients handle shipping processes. They make sure that shipments follow laws and satisfy the criteria for importing or exporting goods. The brokers conduct customs-related businesses on behalf of their clients.

A customs broker needs the client’s power of attorney in order to conduct business on the client’s behalf. Customs brokers act as clients’ representatives, explaining export and import regulations to clients and ensuring that import and export laws and regulations are followed.

Conducting customs transactions

Paying fees and duties

All fees and duties are paid by customs brokers on behalf of their clients. The brokers can pay customs directly and charge their customers. Customs brokers assist by calculating duties and fees to determine how much money is required to clear the costs and obligations in the event that the client has automated accounts.

All monetary transactions, including paying fines and fees, are handled by custom brokers. If their clients have overpaid import duties or fees, they can also assist them in submitting refund request forms.

Record keeping

Customs transaction records must be kept on file by brokers for a minimum of five years. They achieve accurate management of their financial records through bookkeeping. The brokers also keep copies of a power of attorney. Although they should always be accessible for customs inspection or audits, all the documents are private.

Resolving customer-related problems

The customs broker is responsible for resolving the issue on behalf of the client if the authorities seize a client’s cargo for failing to meet shipping requirements. The broker responds to all inquiries from authorities and keeps the client informed of the situation. However, custom brokers consult their clients about the strategy and solutions they want to implement before paying fines or deciding how to solve a problem.

How to become a customs broker

Follow these steps to become a licensed customs broker:

1. Meet educational qualifications

You must comprehend entry procedures, valuation requirements, and other duties of customs brokers in order to carry out a mandate as a customs broker successfully. The field requires highly knowledgeable professionals who must keep up with current national customs standards because it is challenging and fast-paced.

Although a high school diploma is sufficient for the position, employers typically favor hiring individuals who have at least finished a degree program in the relevant field and are aware of the professionalism associated with brokerage. You could, for instance, enroll in a business management or transportation program.

2. Take and pass the licensing exam

Exams for customs broker licenses are given in U.S. ports that have contracted with CBP. S. Candidates must submit an application in the ports where they intend to engage in customs brokerage. You must present evidence that you satisfy the eligibility requirements in order to take the exam, which may include a photo ID or registration documentation.

The exam covers areas of rules and regulations. Some of the areas covered include:

If you don’t pass the first time, you can try again, but keep in mind that CBP only offers exams twice a year. Below are some tips for passing the exam:

3. Submit a license application and pay permit fees

Getting a work permit should be done after passing the exam. You might have to budget for processing and fingerprinting fees. The fingerprint analysis aids law enforcement in examining your criminal history, character references, arrest records, and credit report.

Before you can get your work permit, CBP must review and approve your license applications. License applications of customs brokers are reviewed in three levels. The three levels are:

Upon receiving recommendations from the CBP port directors in the area where you are applying, CBP’s Washington, D C. the assistant commissioner for international trade notifies you whether the application was approved

4. Plan for the application process

The process of applying for a license can take up to six months or longer, depending on a number of factors. The following are a few of the factors that influence the processing time, but they are not all included:

Consider applying well in advance of the start of your intended employment period in order to receive the permit within the desired timeframe.


Is being a customs broker hard?

You must pass the US Customs broker exam to get the license. One of the hardest exams to pass in the USA is this one. Only about 15% of the approximately 2,600 candidates who take the exam each year succeed. The majority of test takers will require a prep course to pass

Do customs brokers make a lot of money?

According to the U. S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, the average hourly wage for compliance officers in 2020 was $34 and the median annual salary was $71,100. 18​. A customs broker’s entry-level position, such as an import specialist, may only bring in about $40,160 per year.

Is a customs broker worth it?

Although the importer is ultimately in charge of understanding CBP requirements and making sure their importation complies with all applicable federal laws and regulations, working with a customs broker can help you avoid making expensive mistakes.

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