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Customs Exam


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Understanding Customs Examinations

What is a Customs Exam?

A Customs examination is a crucial process upon importing goods into the U.S. It involves scrutinizing shipments for compliance and security.

What are the Types of Customs Examinations?

Customs exams can take various forms, including X-ray, Tail Gate, or Intensive exams. Each serves a specific purpose in evaluating the contents of a shipment.

How does Customs Choose Shipments for Inspection?

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employs a targeting system that assigns a score to each cargo. This score determines whether a shipment requires further examination. The exact criteria of this system are undisclosed, but certain factors influence the selection.

What Influences Customs Examination Choice?

Importers entering the country for the first time face more scrutiny than those with a proven track record. CBP's targeting system considers such characteristics in its assessment.

CBP's Data Sources for Examination

Where does Customs Obtain Information about Shipments?

CBP relies on specific data sources to gather information about shipments. Two primary sources include:

  • Importer Security Filing (AMS): This filing provides essential security-related details about the shipment.
  • Automated Manifest System (ISF): This system automates the submission of manifest data, aiding in the assessment of cargo.

Holds and Further Actions

What Actions can CBP Take Based on Examination Results?

Depending on the targeting system's evaluation, CBP may impose holds on the shipment for additional review. This may lead to further actions before the goods can be released.

What Determines the Nature of Further Action?

The targeted score derived from the assessment influences the subsequent steps. Depending on this score, a shipment might undergo an X-ray, Tail Gate, or Intensive examination.

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