Prior to importing goods into the U.S. -it is essential to confirm that the Importer of Record listed on the entry actually has the “Right to Make Entry”.

Who is entitled to make entry of goods?

Under U.S. law, the right to make entry for goods is held only by the importer of record.

The term importer of record, provided under Section 484 of the United States Code, was amended by Public Law 97-446.  Under those provisions, the importer of record is defined as

  • “the owner or purchaser of the goods, OR
  •  when designated by the owner, purchaser, or consignee . . . a licensed Customs broker,” 19 U.S.C. § 484(a)(2)(B).

Further, under Customs Directive No. 3530-002A, the terms “owner” and “purchaser” include parties with financial interests in the transaction. Such parties are typically the owner of the goods, the purchased of the goods, buying or selling agents, or a person or firm importing goods for exhibitions at trade fairs or for repairs, etc.

Section 484 was amended to prevent nominal consignees, other than licensed Customs brokers, from filing entries. Examples of nominal consignees include: carriers, express consignment operators, freight forwarders, or consolidators. Pursuant to 19 U.S.C. § 1641(b)(6), unlicensed persons transacting Customs business without a valid license are liable for monetary penalties up to $10,000 for EACH unlicensed transaction.

Who may sign or certify the entry or entry summary?

The electronic transmission of the entry or entry summary may only be signed or certified by the owner, purchaser, or designated Customs broker.

A nominal consignee must designate a Customs broker to make entry on his behalf and list the Custom broker as importer of record on both the entry and entry summary.  If a nominal consignee cannot secure the services of a Custom broker, the nominal consignee must advise the owner or purchaser of the goods to either designate a licensed Customs broker to make entry on their behalf or to make entry on their own behalf as importer of record.  A nominal consignee cannot, under any circumstances, make entry of the goods in its own name.

An individual qualifying as an importer of record under the provisions of Section 484 has the legal authority to appoint an agent to clear merchandise in his name, provided that the importer is not a regular importer; the appointment is for a single, non-commercial shipment; and the agent is unpaid. Typically, the agent is a friend or relative if the importer.

Why is it important to ensure you have the right to make entry or to appoint or designate an IOR?

To avoid liability!! The IOR is liable for transmitting inaccurate and untimely entry data.

  • Under the Customs Modernization Act (the “Mod Act”) importers must use “reasonable care” to assure that CBP is provided with accurate and timely data.
  • Bottom line, no “reasonable care” = liability under 19 U.S.C. § 1592.

19 U.S.C. § 1592 is the statute CBP references when issuing penalties for negligence, gross negligence or fraud – depending on the degree of culpability CBP believes the IOR had at time of non-compliance.

We’ve previously provided our readers with our “Top 10 Tips” for importers to ensure compliance with federal regulations and highly recommend all importers ensure they have processes and procedures in place to meet their Customs requirements.

The best way to comply with import requirements is to have an expert by your side.  Diaz Trade Law specializes in compliance with CBP laws and regulations.  To discuss your importation and ensure you have a right to make entry, or for any additional information, contact us at 305-456-3830 or via email at