CBP Proposes Amendment to Importer Identity Verification

On August 14th, 2019, Customs and Border Protection published a proposal to amend the regulations that require customs brokers to collect certain information from importers to enable the customs brokers to verify the identity of importers, including nonresident importers.

The amendment suggests adding a add a new section, 111.43, entitled Importer Identity Verification. The proposal is an effort to create and standardize the process by which customs brokers verify the identity of importers.

Brokers would be required to collect and verify the following, but not limited to, information concerning each importer:

  • the client’s name;

  • for a client who is an individual, his/her date of birth;

  • for a client that is a partnership, corporation or association, the grantor’s date of birth;

  • for a client that is a partnership, corporation or association, the client’s trade or fictitious names;

  • the physical address and phone number (for a client that is a partnership, corporation or association, the physical location is the client’s headquarters);

  • the client’s e-mail address and business website;

  • a copy of the grantor’s unexpired government-issued photo identification;

  • the client’s Internal Revenue Service, employer identification or importer of record number;

  • the client’s publicly-available business identification number;

  • a recent credit report;

  • a copy of the client’s business registration and license with the state; and

  • the grantor’s authorization to execute a power of attorney on behalf of the importer.

Prior to transacting customs business on behalf of a client, the customs broker would be required to verify the foregoing information and determine whether the client is a sanctioned or restricted person or entity, or if the client is suspended or disbarred from doing business with the U.S. Government.

The new rule would extend the verification requirement to existing clients and specific rules outlining the effective dates and process.

The rule would also impose penalties on customs brokers for noncompliance. The proposed penalty consists of a monetary penalty not to exceed $10,000 per client, or revocation or suspension of the customs broker’s license or permit.

The full notice in the Federal Register can be found here.

Comments to the proposed rule must be received by CBP on or before October 15, 2019. Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments via Docket No. USCBP-2019-0024.

We are aware of how time consuming and challenging it may be to manage these efforts. When the program is finalized, South East World Wide, Ltd. will do their utmost to streamline the process and ask for your support in assisting you with compliance.