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Import Guides

United States Import Guide

A complete guide for importing goods into the United States.

The United States of America, or United States, is the most populous country in the Americas with over 328 million people across nearly 10 million square kilometers. The United States has the largest economy in the world (by GDP) and has the fifth highest income per capita according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is also the largest importer of goods and second largest exporter of goods worldwide.

Key Info

Country code (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2): US
Country code top-level domain (ccTLD): .com
Currency (ISO4217): United States Dollar (USD)
World Trade Organization (WTO) Status: Member

Duty & Tax Information

Duty is payable on goods imported into the United States for both commercial and private imports. The ad valorem Most Favored Nation (MFN) duty rates range from 0% to 350%. The Free On Board (FOB) valuation method is used to calculate duty and a number of goods are exempt from duty (such as antiques and certain clothing and electronic goods).

Sales tax is not collected at the time of import. However, the US Customs and Border Protection make import declarations available to state tax representatives so importers may need to file with their local tax authority.

A Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) is charged on both commercial and private imports to offset the cost of processing imported goods. The fee for informal entries (imports valued below $2,500 USD) ranges from $2.18 USD to $9.80 USD depending on the mode of transport. The fee for formal entries (imports valued over $2,500 USD) is 0.3464% of the value of the goods with the fee not exceeding $528.33 USD and not being less than $27.23 USD.

Excise is charged on alcohol and tobacco products.

Minimum Thresholds

The United States has a de minimis of $800 USD, below which no duty is payable. MPF is payable on all imports and excise is payable below the de minimis.

Prohibited Goods

The United States has a comprehensive list of restricted and prohibited goods:

  • Firearms and explosives
  • Dog and cat fur
  • Harmful drugs
  • Animal products

Some goods can be imported with the correct licensing, while others are fully prohibited. An extensive list of restricted and prohibited goods can be found on the CBP website.

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