All entries must be covered by an import bond in order to make formal entry of merchandise into the United States. The bond serves to secure potential duties, taxes, and fees owed to CBP and guarantee performance of all Customs regulations requirements – but it is not insurance. The bond is to be filed on CBP form 301 and is a contract between the importer and CBP that protects Customs’ interests.
There are a number of surety companies who issue these bonds. Further, if the surety that provides the bonds makes any payment under a bond it has signed, the surety will look to the importer to recover its payment. Smaller and less frequent importers use what is called a “single entry” bond; issued for each transaction or importation. By contrast, “continuous” bonds cover all ongoing entries. The amount of the bond is based on a formula that is used for calculating risk set by CBP. Evidence of an import bond is required as part of the entry process.