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Comprehensive Guide to Importing for Amazon Sellers

Views: 21     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-10-31      Origin: Site

Comprehensive Guide to Importing for Amazon Sellers

1. Import and Export Documents

Documentation requirements for importing and exporting goods vary by country, customs authority, and product type.


In general, the following documents are required:

Commercial Invoice: Provided by you (or the shipper if you are not the shipper).

Packing List: Provided by you (or the shipper if you are not the shipper).


Freight Carrier Receipt (FCR): Provided by Amazon to you or the shipper (if you are not the shipper) to confirm that the shipment was actually received at the originating Amazon facility before it was distributed to multiple fulfillment centers.


Note: For shipments booked using a distributed configuration, the FCR is the only document that requires your approval. If you receive and approve the draft FCR, we will not ask you to approve shipping instructions. (You can also receive and approve an FAI form. Amazon provides this form to establish FCR and submit automated manifest systems and importer security filings). FCR must be approved within one business day. It can be used for refund of VAT export.


Bill of Lading (BOL): Generated by the carrier. The bill of lading for air freight is also known as the air waybill.


Entry declaration form: generated by the customs broker.


After you book shipping, you will be notified of the specific documentation required for your shipment.



2. Importer of Registration (IOR)

You or an agency designated by you must act as the Importer of Record (IOR) for importing inventory into the United States. When you set up "Introduction to Amazon Worldwide Shipping", you will be asked to provide information and documents associated with your IOR. This information includes your company name and contact information.


Note: For step-by-step instructions for setting up an IOR, download the "Using Amazon Global Logistics in Seller Central" in English or Chinese.


The IOR is responsible for the following:

Ensure that imported goods comply with local laws and regulations,

Use the information you provide to complete and submit the customs entry declaration and related documents,

pay estimated import duties and other taxes on the goods,

The IOR is also the recipient of your shipment.


For Amazon Global Logistics, shipping and customs entry documents will include:

(your name), Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) forwarded (fulfillment center address)

Amazon will not act as an IOR, consignee, or partner government agency (PGA) agent for any shipment, regardless of its size, value, origin, destination, or product. However, if a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) shipment is shipped to the United States, Amazon is the "Final Consignee" for the shipment. When you list Amazon as the ultimate consignee, please use the following number as your CBP identification number: 199900-02534.


When booking shipping, we will also ask you to "provide additional contact information for your shipment". This includes exporters of record (EOR).



3. Non-resident IOR

The IOR for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) shipments entering the U.S. can be a U.S. resident or non-resident (foreign) institution or person. All nonresident IORs must complete CBP Form 5106 and provide an IOR number from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).


If you have imported into the U.S. as a non-resident IOR within the past year: You already have an IOR number. When you start using Amazon Global Logistics, enter this number in the Customs Assigned Importer Number field.


If you haven't imported any items into the US, but you already have an IOR number: When you start using Amazon Global Fulfillment, select "Yes" under "Have you ever imported items into the US?". Then enter your IOR number in the Customs Assigned Importer Number field.


If you haven't imported any items into the US before and don't have an IOR number: When you start using Amazon Global Fulfillment, select "No" under "Have you ever imported items into the US?". We will complete CBP Form 5106 and register your business with U.S. Customs on your behalf. Once we have your Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN), we will forward it to you. When we obtain your IOR number, we will also forward it to you.



4. Customs Broker

A customs broker is a person or company that holds a "U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)" license to:

- Prepare and submit any other documents required for customs clearance procedures

- Arrange for payment of customs duties

- Arrange for the release of cargo held by CBP

- Representing importers in other customs matters


As part of our end-to-end service, Amazon Global Logistics provides access to third-party customs brokers. This means that all your shipments are automatically routed to the assigned customs broker.



5. Amazon's Power of Attorney (POA)

When you start using Amazon Global Fulfillment, we ask you to sign a primary POA with Amazon to import goods into the United States. The customs POA form will authorize the signing party to act as your agent during the customs clearance process.


POA may take some time to be approved, but it can simplify the movement and customs clearance of your future shipments. POA allows us to issue Sub-Power of Attorney to other carriers and customs brokers on your behalf. Your assigned customs broker may contact you directly if there are any issues with your shipment, customs clearance, or both.


If your company is a legal person, sole proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC), your POA with Amazon will be long-term.


If your company is a partnership, your POA must be renewed every two years.


The person signing the POA for your company must have the appropriate permissions. This permission varies by company or seller type and is determined by U.S. regulations:

Legal person or sole proprietorship: The president, vice president, treasurer, company secretary, chief executive, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief executive, chairman of the board, sole proprietor or business owner may sign.

Limited Liability Company: May be signed by managers, directors, presidents, officers, members or managing members.


Partnerships: Partners or general partners can sign.


When you start using Amazon Global Logistics, we will ask you to provide additional information and documentation to confirm that the signatory is an authorized person from you or the company. This may include business licenses, certificates of good standing, annual reports, individual authority certificates or all of the above.


For non-resident IORs to sign a POA, we will also require you to complete a Non-Resident Legal Person Certification (NRCC). The NRCC is signed by another company officer to confirm that the officer who signed the POA is authorized.


If the POA requires any documentation, such as a long-term U.S. Customs Service Guarantee, we will upload it to your IOR profile. This information can be used in your shipping transactions to save you time on future shipments.



6. U.S. Customs Service Guarantee

A U.S. Customs Service Guarantee is a contract that guarantees the payment of U.S. Customs and Border Protection's import duties, taxes, and fees. As an importer of record (IOR) representative, shipments into the U.S. through Amazon Global Logistics require customs clearance.


There are two types of U.S. Customs guarantees:

The Single Entry Customs Affairs Guarantee is available for importers of occasional shipments.

A long-term customs affairs guarantee is available for importers who ship regularly.


To import goods into the U.S. through Amazon Global Logistics, you must have or obtain a long-term U.S. Customs Service Guarantee. When you start using Amazon Global Fulfillment, we ask you if you already hold a valid long-term U.S. Customs Service Guarantee. If you don't have one, Amazon can help you get it. You can find a "Example of Customs Affairs Guarantee" on CBP's website.


Your long-term U.S. Customs Service Guarantee fee will be charged on the first booking. We will charge you an annual renewal fee. The fee breakdown below is based on estimated duties, taxes, and fees you've paid for the past 12 months (or estimated fees for the next 12 months if you don't have an import record).


$500,000 or less: The fee is $350.

Greater than $500,000: Amazon will calculate the fee and provide a quote when you import your first shipment.


As long as the guarantee is valid, your US Customs Service guarantee fee must be equal to 10% of the estimated duties, taxes and fees you pay. It is your or the IOR's responsibility to ensure that the guaranteed amount is up to date.


NOTE: If you change your IOR address after your US Customs bond has been issued, please request an updated bond through the customs broker that issued the bond. Your sponsoring address must match the address used in the primary POA and supporting documents to complete the IOR setup.



7. Tariff Classification (HTS Code)

Most countries use tariff classification codes to classify globally traded goods. These codes determine the product's customs declaration value and labelling requirements, such as anti-dumping or countervailing duties (ADD and CVD) by partner government agencies (PGAs).


You can provide or review the duty classification of your inventory when 'Book Shipping' or later in the shipping process.


While many countries use Harmonized System (HS) codes, the United States uses Import Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes. HTS and HS codes are common in the first six codes of each tariff classification code, and the last four codes are used to indicate country-specific classifications.


Accurate HTS codes help reduce customs clearance and shipping times and ensure your shipments comply with regulations. Incorrect codes can result in delayed shipments, incorrect duty calculations, customs detention or rejection of shipments, or all of the above. You may also be subject to fines or other penalties by customs authorities if your HTS code is inaccurate.


You can use ITC's HTS Search to find the appropriate tariff code for your shipment. Enter keywords such as "food", "shoes" or "plants" and select the appropriate code.


NOTE: When booking shipping, you will see the option to provide an HTS code for your product. If you don't see this option, you can provide this information later.


In some cases, Amazon may suggest another HTS code that more accurately describes your product. We may also suggest you the first six sizes of a set of HTS codes, and then ask you for the last four.


Which one is the most accurate HTS code is up to you. Your IOR is responsible for this decision. You can check the "Import Tariff Schedule" for guidance, your customs broker can also check that your HTS code is accurate, or both.



8. HTS code example:

0901.21.0050 (non-organic caffeinated coffee)


1. The first and second codes of the HTS classification code refer to the section of the product. In this example, "09" means "coffee, tea, juices and spices".


2. The third and fourth codes of the HTS code represent specific categories within the chapter or title. In this example, "01" means "coffee".


3. The fifth and sixth codes of the HTS code define the subtitle or subcategory of the product. In this example, "21" means "caffeinated coffee" ("22" for decaf).


4. The last four digits of the HTS code are used to denote US-specific classifications. In this example, "0050" means "non-organic coffee".



9. Customs Declared Value and Duties, Taxes and Fees

The customs declaration value is the specified monetary value of the imported goods. It is also used by countries and customs authorities to assess tariffs, or how much tax to levy on imports and some exports.


You can provide or review the customs declaration value of your inventory when 'Book Shipping' or later in the shipping process.


The World Trade Organization outlines "six methods for determining the value of customs declarations". Importers must use the first applicable option from the list below.


Transaction value is the primary method for determining the customs declared value of imported goods. Transaction value is the total amount actually paid for the item, including all payments made for the sale, such as packaging costs, royalties and licensing fees.


The transaction value of the same goods uses the transaction value of the same goods to determine the customs declaration value of the imported goods. Goods that have the same qualities and physical attributes and are produced by the same producer in the same country are considered the same goods.


Transaction Value of Similar Goods Use the transaction value of similar goods to determine the customs declaration value of imported goods. Goods that are very similar and have common characteristics can be regarded as similar goods. Similar goods must be produced by the same producer in the same country and are commercially interchangeable.


The deduction method uses the unit price of the imported goods (or the unit price of the same or similar goods) to determine the value of the imported goods. Importers must use the unit price of the item with the highest quantity when their product is sold to unrelated buyers in the importing country. Applicable deductions such as profits, commissions, shipping and insurance costs, and customs duties are deducted from the unit price of the item.


The calculation uses production costs (material and manufacturing costs), profit and related expenses (processing, transportation, loading and unloading, insurance, handling, etc.) to determine the customs declaration value of imported goods.


The alternate method uses the other valuation methods described above, with fine-tuning as needed, to determine the value of the imported goods. Only use this method if no other method is applicable.


Ensure that each item in your shipment has the correct assessed value as its customs declaration value on all commercial and customs documents. U.S. Customs may review nominal or false values to prevent underpayment or overpayment of duties. If no customs declaration value is provided, customs will reject the shipment.


To determine the appropriate customs declaration value for your product, you can contact your customs broker assigned to you by Amazon or ask an outside consultant. For information on how U.S. Customs declared value is assessed, visit the CBP website.


The amount of duties, additional taxes, and charges for your shipment is estimated based on the item you imported (determined by the HTS code), its customs declaration value, and country of origin. For some products, there may be additional duties such as excise duty or anti-dumping duty (ADD) when assessed by customs authorities.


CBP also assesses two shipment charges:


- All shipments imported into the United States are subject to a commodity handling fee. The fee is 0.3464% of the customs declared value (excluding duties, shipping and insurance), up to a maximum of $485 per shipment.

- All shipments imported into the U.S. by sea are subject to port maintenance charges. The fee is 0.125% of the customs declaration value.


Remember that it is your IOR's responsibility to declare the appropriate customs declaration value to the customs authority. They are also responsible for all assessed duties, taxes and charges for your shipment.


Note: The information in this article does not constitute tax, legal or other professional advice and should not be used for the purposes described above.



10. Entry Declaration Form

The Entry Declaration (CBP Form 7501) lists duties and taxes payable on imported shipments, the amount of which is assessed by U.S. Customs. You will receive an email from Amazon's global logistics team when the entry declaration for your shipment is ready. We ask that you review your entry declaration and confirm or dispute the duties and taxes listed within 72 hours. If you do not respond within 72 hours, the entry declaration will be automatically submitted to the customs authorities for processing to continue the import process. Please note that you and/or your importer are still responsible for the information on the entry declaration.


To review your Entry Declaration, please do the following:

In the email you received from Amazon's global logistics team, click "My Entry Declaration" to go to the "Book Shipping" workflow.

1. In the "Step 6 - Shipping Documents" index tab, find "Entry Declaration" and click "Review".

2. After reviewing the "Entry Declaration", click "Confirm" to agree to the duties and taxes listed. Or click Dispute to provide comments and reasons for the dispute, then click Submit. You will receive a reply to the dispute within one business day.

For more information on entry declarations, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.



11. Partner Government Agencies (PGA)

A product's tariff classification (HTS code) may flag country-specific import requirements. In the United States, these requirements are assessed and regulated by various partner government agencies (PGAs). These requirements often require special licenses or additional documentation


When uploading products through Amazon Global Shipping, you can enter relevant PGA information. You may also upload a PDF or other file containing test results, trademark authorizations, licenses, authorizations or other applicable forms.


Your carrier, customs broker or Amazon may contact you if PGA information is missing or incorrect. All information must be accurate and complete in order to proceed with the booking. Shipments not declared with the appropriate PGA will be held or seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and returned or destroyed at your expense.


Also, if the PGA requires a U.S. agent for your inventory, you'll need to find one. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires IORs to have agents in the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP).


For FSVP agents, customs brokers or companies that provide other import-related services, please visit the Service Provider Network (SPN). Note that Amazon cannot act as a PGA reseller.



12. Other Information that may be Required

At the time of "Book Shipping" or later in the shipping process, we may ask you to confirm that these standard import regulations and requirements apply to the items in your shipment:

- Anti-dumping Duties (ADD)

- Countervailing duty (CVD)

- The U.S. Toxic Substances Control Act

- Radiation Radiation Device (RAD)

- Lacey Act (for importing wood or plant products into the United States)



13. Restricted and Prohibited Products

Common commodities that require additional licenses or authorizations include agricultural products, plants and seeds, food, alcohol, vitamins, supplements, medical devices, drugs, hazardous materials, and pesticides.


Failure to comply with product prep requirements, government security requirements, and product restrictions may result in one or more of the following for Amazon Global Fulfillment and all Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) shipments:

- Amazon fulfillment centers refuse to accept inventory

- Scrap or return inventory

- Prohibit future shipments to Amazon

- Charge you for pre-processing at the fulfillment center or for non-compliance



14. Return of imported goods

Amazon cannot return inventory held in fulfillment centers to addresses outside the United States. To return inventory to you, please provide your return address in the United States when you place your removal order.



15. Frequently Asked Questions

1). Where can I find a template for a U.S. Customs Service Guarantee?

You can download a sample U.S. Customs Service Guarantee from "CBP". We also recommend that you consult with our Compliance Team's "Power of Attorney Specialist" when drafting your Customs Affairs Guarantee.


2). How can I verify the validity of my US Customs guarantee?

You can verify your customs affairs guarantee with the customs broker. If you purchased Customs Guarantee through Amazon, please "Contact Us" using your Customs Guarantee number. We will let you know who your customs broker is.


3). I have the details of the US Customs Service guarantee, but I do not have a physical copy of the guarantee. Can I submit only the details of the guarantee?

Can. Physical copies are not required as long as you can provide full details of the customs guarantee.


4). My U.S. Customs Warranty is about to expire and needs to be renewed or renewed. Who should I contact?

If you purchased a U.S. Customs Service Guarantee through a customs broker or guarantor, please contact them to renew or update your guarantee. If you purchased a Customs Affairs Guarantee when you started using Amazon Global Logistics, your guarantee will automatically renew.


5). My U.S. Customs Warranty has been updated, but I only have a scanned copy of the original. what do I do?

Provide your Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN) when you create a registered importer.


6). My U.S. Customs Service Guarantee has been updated, but not yet in effect. What should I do before it takes effect?

If you wish to import goods before the start of the guarantee, please contact your customs broker and ask them to change the start date of the guarantee. If you are not sure whether your warranty is valid at the time of importing the goods, please provide your warranty information in the Steps of Establishing a Registered Importer of Getting Started with Amazon Global Logistics.


7). Does my company name have to be the same as the name on the U.S. Customs Service Guarantee?

The company name, physical address, and signatory information must be identical on your U.S. Customs bond, power of attorney, certification of non-resident legal entity, and other documents. The only exception is if the company name would be truncated due to the character limitations of the US Customs and Border Protection system (see question below). In this case, your customs broker may abbreviate part of the company name. For example, if your company name ends with "Limited", the guarantee can use "Ltd" as the abbreviation.


8). The company name on my U.S. Customs Service Guarantee cannot be fully displayed due to character limitations in the CPB system. what do I do?

We can accept abbreviated company names as long as you have updated the relevant address information in your customs system. We will review your submission accordingly to confirm that the company name is recognizable.


9). My office address has changed, so the business license address is not the same as the IOR, Customs Affairs Guarantee, POA or NRCC address. Will Amazon accept it?

Amazon cannot accept business licenses with addresses that are different from your customs bond, POA, and NRCC. However, if the address on your business license is not the same as the address on the IOR, that's okay.


10). My US Customs sponsorship address and business address have changed. what do I do?

If your business address changes, make sure you also update your U.S. Customs sponsorship address with the customs broker that issued the sponsorship. This update usually does not take a day.


11). How will the information I enter during IOR setup be used?

The information you provide during the Registered Importer setup process will be used to create a Power of Attorney for your IOR. In addition, this information is used to verify the signatories of the POA and its business details. If you need to change the information you provided during IOR setup, please do so before submitting the IOR. If the information is incorrect, your IOR approval may be delayed.


12). Where can I find my IOR number for US registered or non-US registered sellers?

Your IOR number will be listed in the "CBP Identification Number" field in the "Main" section of the Customs Affairs Guarantee.


13).My IOR has previously submitted a direct agency POA with Amazon's customs broker. Why am I being asked to submit another POA?

If your IOR signed a direct agency POA with Amazon's customs broker on or before January 2020, they must sign a new POA with Amazon.


14). If I have a company registered in more than one country, in which country should I use Amazon Global Logistics?

Please select the applicable company registration according to your own business situation. To avoid processing delays, please confirm that your information is correct. Please also update your registration with Amazon Global Logistics if your business conditions change.


15). What are the requirements for filling out the Power of Attorney form?

When filling out the POA form, please ensure that 1) the signer's name is printed and handwritten, 2) the printed name is in English, and 3) the signature matches the printed name and is in the same text order. (For example, if the printed name is "Zhang, San", the signature must be "Zhang San", not "San Zhang".) As long as the printed name is in English, Chinese characters and the company seal (seal) can be used at the same time or both. (For example, the printed name could be "Zhang San Zhang, San".)


16). What documents are required for Hong Kong business license documents: company certificate or Form 2 of the Business Registration Ordinance (Cap. 310)?

Hong Kong business license documents can accept any of the above documents.


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