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What to know about International import and export licenses

Updated time: 23 Oct, 2021, 13:05 (UTC+08:00)

Requirements for international import and export licenses in the US

In most cases, companies are not required import or export licenses since 95 percent of all products exported from or imported into the United States are license-free. US export control laws and regulations decide which countries a product may be shipped to and to whom it can be sold.

Requirements for international import and export licenses in the US

A container sea port in the US

Import License or Permit: Some authorities may demand a license, permit, or other verification for specific imported items. Procedures differ, but companies may seek help by using One IBC's services or contacting that country's embassy or consulate office in the United States. The sorts of things that may require a license or permission are defined by federal offices/departments such as the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). For import regulations and other information regarding the procedure, contact the local port of entry where you'll be bringing your products.

Even if an import license is not required, companies still have to complete CBP entry forms within 15 days of the cargo arriving at a U.S. port of entry. On all of these documents, make sure to provide the importer number. The IRS company registration number is the importer number. If the company is not incorporated yet, the importer number is the owner’s social security number (SSN). Companies may also request a CBP assigned number by filling out CBP Form 5106 and submitting it to a CBP port of entry's entry branch.

Export License or Permit: Most products sold to a foreign customer, such as simple consumer goods with little technological sophistication, are exempt from licensing requirements. All products, however, are subject to export rules and restrictions. Companies must apply for export licenses if the Department of Commerce says they are necessary for export. Another option is to follow the exporting procedures of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or to contact the local port of entry where products were exported.

Requirements for import and export licenses in the EU

The TARIC (Tarif Intégré de la Communauté) can assist in determining whether or not import and export licenses are necessary for a certain product. Furthermore, the European Commission maintains an export helpdesk with information on specific product import limitations.

The EU Office will help with import and export license application process

The EU Office will help with import and export license application process

Many EU member states have their own list of products that need import and export licenses. These are available when consulting with the relevant EU Member's Country Commercial Office/Department or use the Commerce Department's Market Research Library. The "Import List" (Einfuhrliste) in Germany, for example, lists products for which import and export licenses are necessary, their code numbers, any applicable limitations, and the agency that will issue the appropriate permission. The Import List also specifies if a license is required by German or European Union legislation.

How to get licenses for import export business?

Because there are too many different import and export license requirements and each one is handled by a different government office/ department, there is no universal way for businesses to apply for an import and export license. Below is an example of import and export licenses processed by the Fish and Wildlife Service in the US.

Applications must be submitted in writing on Form 3-200 to the Service. In addition, applications for import and export licenses in some special categories should be forwarded to the issuing office. Some examples of this procedure are:

  • Bird Banding Laboratory accepts applications for migratory bird banding licenses. Permit applications are returned when they have been completed to finish the procedure.
  • The local Special Agent in Charge handles applications for designated port exemption permits and import/export licenses (SAC).
  • The Service website or the Division of Management Authority provides applications for licenses under the Wild Bird Conservation Act, harmful wildlife permits, captive-bred wildlife registrations, and so on. Permit applications are returned to the Division once they have been completed.

With One IBC services, getting a import and export license is very simple

With One IBC services, getting a import and export license is very simple

All applications will be processed as promptly by the Service. However, there is no assurance that it will be completed within the time frame specified. Import and export license applications process for specific circumstances, such as marine animals and/or endangered and vulnerable species, must be mailed at least 90 days before the proposed effective date. All other permit applications must be submitted to the issuing/reviewing office at least 60 days prior to the proposed effective date. When required, the Service may ask permit applicants to provide more information on the project and its environmental consequences in order to meet additional procedural criteria.

How much does an import export license cost?

Similarly, because there are so many distinct import and export licensing requirements, each government office/department’s charge for import and export licenses will be varied. For example, the typical charge for import and export permits handled by the US Fish and Wildlife Service mentioned above is between $50 and $100, although there are a few licenses that cost up to a few thousand dollars. To find out the exact cost of import and export licenses, contact the Service or a corporate service provider like One IBC.

The necessary import and export licenses processing fee is paid in US dollars at the time of application for permit issuance or revision. If a check or money order is used, make it payable to the "US Fish and Wildlife Service." If the application is already under processed, the Service will not refund any import and export license fees.

If an import or export activity requires more than one type of permission and the import and export licenses are all granted by the same office, the issuing office may issue a single consolidated license approving the activity. In such situations, a single application can be filed, as long as it has all of the information required by the individual applications for each allowed activity. When several allowed activities are combined into a single permit, the issuing office will charge the highest single import and export license fee for the permitted activity.

Any individual or institution operating on behalf of the federal, state, or municipal government is exempt from paying the import and export license application cost. If no proof of such status is presented with the application, payment of all import and export license processing costs prior to the application being accepted for processing, unless otherwise allowed or waived, will be demanded.

Documents required for export import licenses

There is no universal list of documents required when applying for export and import permits. The only method to find out is to speak directly with the office in charge of the export and import license or consult a professional corporate service provider like One IBC.

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