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The ultimate Guidelines on how to import coffee to the USA?'s warehouse full of green coffee beans.


Coffee consumption is up by 5% across the entire nation. All things considered, Americans drink more coffee than ever. If you want to take advantage on this trend and start to import coffee in the USA. This is a comprehensive Guidelines on how to import coffee to the USA?

Requirements for Coffee Importation

Coffee is under food product. In the USA all related consumer food product are under three different government agencies:

The Process of Importing in the US

After all, when importing goods, they are two delivery methods either by sea (ocean freight) or by plane (air freight).

The shipping company receives the bill of lading ( (BL or BoL). The Bill of Landing is a legal document. The carrier (transportation company) issues it to a shipper. It has all details the type, quantity, and destination of the product. The Bill of Landing serves as a receipt. You as the importer will also need it to register your entry with the United States Customs and Border Protection.

24 hours before the cardo is loaded on the vessel, the USCBP (the United States Customs and Border Protection) must receive the filling document. At this point the USCBP determines if they will examine the goods or not. If the United States Customs and Border Protection gives the OK to the good or “clears” it, the container is placed at the shipyard. If you are the importer, the USCBP will notify you about your container and details for the pickup.

Either you the importer or your custom broker have to file the entry documents with the USCBP at your port of arrival. Make sure the custom broker you are working with has an active registration with the the US CBP. . A list of customs brokers is available on

You have 15 days to file the entry documents on the ACE (Automated Commercial Environment).

Depending on the type of Entry, you might require additional documents for clearance. Example: We need a custom bond  for good over $ USD 2500.

In the case your container is randomly selected to be examined, the admissibility will depend merely on the USCBP. They can detain or seize your goods if anything wrong.

When the merchandise is cleared for entry, you have 10 working days to fill all entry documentation. You can collect your goods. The importers must preserve all the documentations for at least 5 years.

Documents required:

Commercial Invoice (Invoice from seller to buyer)

Packing List

Bill of Lading

Entry Manifest (CBP Form 7533) or Application and Special Permit for Immediate Delivery (CBP Form 3461)

Evidence of Bond

Entry Summary (Form 3501)

Understanding types of Entries

If you are a first time importer, knowing this term will be beneficial:

Formal Entries: Articles that have commercial value of $ USD2500 and more. Formal Entries requires customs bond.

Informal Entries: Articles that have commercial value less than $ USD 2500

Articles qualifying for section 321: Articles with commercial value less than $ USD 800. These articles does not require fees or duties payment.

Valuation of Shipment

In the US shipment, valuation is based on FOB value of goods. Generally, the customs value of all merchandise exported to the United States will be the transaction value for the goods. However, customs also has the option to look at the market value of the goods being imported if the transaction value being reported is lower than anticipated.

Product Marking:

Importing good in the USA has a lot of requirement. One of them from the U.S. customs laws is product marking. The country of origin must be marked on each article produced abroad and imported into the US  (in English). The origin (what country the article was manufactured or produced in) must be indicated for the ultimate purchaser, . The marking must be located in a visible place as legibly, indelibly and permanently as the nature of the article permits

Licensed Customs Broker

Getting a Licensed Customs Broker to assists you as a first time importer with all the important documentation and requirements is something to greatly consider.

Thereafter, the exporter completes all the required documents  before delivering the goods to the carrier. These documents are verified by the Importer of Record (IOR) for the complete accuracy and completion. The Custom Broker reviews all the paperwork you have submitted . Afterward they hand them over to the CBP.

Free Trade Agreement

As an importer, you must check if your import is eligible for a reduced date of import duty under any Foreign Trade Agreement. The United States has 14 FTAs with 20 countries. Some of them are:

United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), earlier known as NAFTA

Australia Free Trade Agreement (AUFTA)…

Other things an Importer must keep in mind

Although this may be true, It is advisable to have a little knowledge before venturing into import/export. Refer to the US CBP (Customs and Border Protection) website to have a basic understanding

Perishables items, trademarked items, medication, copyrighted articles etc. require a separate permit for import.

Final Thoughts Takeaway:

Importing coffee to the US is mostly a legal. There are standard procedures to follow. Use this article as a guide.

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