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US Customs

How to Get an Import License

A common mistake made by new importers is the assumption that they’ll need a special license to import goods into the United States. There is a great deal of confusion over this issue for several reasons:

In some cases and with certain types of goods, an import license is required. Examples include alcohol, tobacco, firearms, animals, copyrighted materials, food and more. These items are regulated by the individual agencies governing that type of good. US Customs does not create the regulations, they simply enforce them for other agencies. In addition to the licensing of certain types of goods, the US Department of Homeland Security also regulates the licensing of Customs Brokers. A Customs Broker is an individual authorized by US Customs and the Dept. of Homeland security to transact Customs business on someone else’s behalf. Customs Brokers are extremely useful for first-time and experienced importers because they often have access to systems and knowledge to file Customs entries in an efficient manner and utilize importer best-practices to speed import clearances and reduce import duties.

3 Responses to “How to Get an Import License”

  1. olga Says:

    Hi. I’d like to have information about the requirements to import from Italy. I’ll bring here to the U.SA oil, vinegar from Italy. There is not tobacco or alcohol. Could you please tell me what do I need to do? Thank you.

  2. Jazel Says:


    I was looking to import some good such as bath and body products, foods, funiture etc from the Philippines. Would I need a license to get these imported? If so, where can I obtain a license?

    thank you,


  3. Allan Says:

    How does one become an import broker?