Obtaining Your Import Export License
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If you want to import and/or export as part of your business one of the first things you might have to do is obtain a license. Determining whether or not a product requires a license involves careful research and can be a lengthy process so give yourself enough time. If you find that your product does require a license, you must apply for the license through a government agency that has oversight over that product.
Some of the common agencies to check with for import licensing requirements include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS). When researching you should know all of the information you need. Things like the country of origin of the product and its manufacturer, product composition, intended use of the product, and pricing and payment information regarding sales to determine the value of the shipment. Knowing this critical information will help guide you to the needed agency to apply for the license.
Obtaining an export license also entails working through specific federal agencies but fortunately most exports do not require a specific license. If your product does happen to require a license for export it will probably involve goods, software, or technology with uses in commercial and military or proliferation appliances. The process requires a series of steps through different agencies. Basically, products are overseen by the Export Administration Regulations (EAR). Commodities that fall under EAR will appear on the Commerce Control List (CCL) and be assigned an Export Control Classification Number (ECCN). All shipments requiring an export license must have a Destination Control Statement (DSC) which declares that the goods are only being exported to the country or buyer indicated on official shipping documents. Once all of these steps are completed, only then will you get your export license. As mentioned before, only a small percentage of products require an export license so most of the time this process is not required.
Before you decide to start importing or exporting know that steps like obtaining a license is required. Part of your strategy and business plan should include time and effort designated towards things like this. If you have questions regarding an import or export license please reach out to us here at Duty Calc.