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How to Get a Customs Broker License

Geeta Dhavale
If you want to have a great career without significant educational qualification, then becoming a customs broker is something that can interest you. To know how to get a customs broker license, read on...
Some of the most successful people in world are those who either didn't get an opportunity to attend formal school or those, who were thrown out of the school as they questioned the current status quo.
Well, but they were passionate about what they wanted and made the change possible with their new and creative ideas, thoughts, theories, inversions, and discoveries. If you are also one of those people who believe in learning on the job, then, becoming a customs broker can be an ideal career choice for you.
In order to become a customs broker you do not need any educational qualification. All you have to get is a customs broker license, which is quite easy if you know the basic customs industry.

Job Description of Customs Brokers

The demand for custom brokers is increasing. A professional custom broker can work for a custom brokerage firm, open his or her own firm, or become a consultant as well.
Though it is not legally binding, companies and individuals prefer to appoint professional and experienced custom brokers to avoid complicated paperwork that is required to adhere to the rules and regulations of import and export, which are then completed by customs brokers on behalf of their clients.
The primary role of customs brokers involve assisting their clients in processing shipments through customs in a legal manner within a stipulated time. Customs brokersĀ could be private individuals, partnerships, associations or corporations who are licensed and authorized by the US government for custom transactions.

Getting a Customs Broker License

Step #1: Establish the Business Legally

First, you have to establish your business legally, be it a sole proprietorship, partnership, or association. For this you may need to consult your financial adviser or a lawyer specialized in business laws. He would provide you with all the business and legal details about establishing the business legally as per your plan.

Step #2: Determine the Eligibility for Customs Broker License

Once you establish the business you would need one person who has to be an official customs brokers license holder. If it is a sole proprietorship, it is preferable that a proprietor holds the license.
In case of association, partnership, and corporation, you may have to select one person who will hold the license. But remember that the chosen candidate has to be a US citizen, at least 12 years old, and should possess good moral character. Also, he must not be a current employee of the Federal government.

Step #3: Prepare for Customs Broker Examination

Now, in order to get a license, you have to start preparing for the broker examination, which is regulated by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) body.
You can visit various websites and find out the study material or curriculum for the exam. But the exam generally includes customs related topics, such as, the harmonized tariff schedule of the US, title 19, code of Federal regulations, specified customs directives, customs and trade automated interface requirements documents, etc.
So you have to find the study material on these topics, and have to prepare yourself well for the examination.

Step #4: Take up the Customs Broker Examination

You have to appear for this examination usually at the CBP service ports on the first Monday of April and October. If the first Monday is a holiday, then the exam is held on the next day that is Tuesday.
You have to send the application form along with required fees to the CBP director at least 30 days before the examination. Or you can inquire about all these details at the CBP office, or visit their website.
The test basically, is an open book and objective test containing 80 questions that you have to answer within four hours. The passing score is around 75% or more than that.

Step #5: Apply for the Customs Broker License

Once you receive a letter notifying that you have passed the examination, within next three years you need to apply for the customs brokers license.
You need to fill the application form properly, and send it along with a prescribed fees. You must send the application to the CBP port where you wish to work, or start your business as a customs broker. You may have to provide the CBP with some additional documents as well.
After this procedure, all you have to do is wait till you get the license. The CBP generally conducts a background investigation of an applicant, which includes fingerprint analysis, credit reports, arrest recordsĀ & review of character references. Once the application review is successfully completed, you will be granted a license within 8 to 12 months time.
Well, those who do not pass in the first attempt can appear for the exam till they pass it, it means, you get many chances to pass the exam. Now you know how to get a customs broker license, so go ahead and plan for a great future as a customs broker.