License Requirements When Importing Commercial Goods to the United States

A lot of people wonder whether it is necessary to have a special license to import commercial goods to the United States.  While you do not need a license to serve as an importer, it is very important to recognize that you do need a permit or license in order to import certain goods. Different U.S. Government agencies issue licenses and permits.  Items that typically require special permits to be imported into the United States include the following:

  • Plants
  • Food items
  • Animal products
  • Dairy products
  • Prescription drugs
  • Material that is copyrighted (e.g., CDs, DVDs, etc.)
  • Trademarked items include brand-name clothing, shoes, purses, luggage, toys, sports equipment and other merchandise

When filling out your Customs and Border Protection forms, you will need to have something called an importer number.  This is used in order to specify the person who will receive the goods once they enter the United States.  You may have a business tax number issued by the Internal Revenue Service.  If you do, then you will likely be asked to use this number as your importer number.  You may sometimes be asked to use your Social Security number if you have one.

There is special paperwork if you do not have a business tax number or a U.S. Social Security number and you are not a U.S. resident. The port where you plan to send your items to the United States may be able to help assign an importer number to you. The form they will use to do this is called the Customs and Border Protection Form 5106.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>