How Do Import Granite?
I am interested in importing granite slabs into the U.S. for fabrication and re-sale purposes. I would like to know the following:
- What license or permits are required?
- What forms are necessary to obtain the licenses/permits?
- Where can I find the necessary forms?
- How much does it cost to obtain the licenses/permits?
- How long does it take to receive the licenses/permits?
- What is the likelihood of receiving the necessary license/permits?
- Is it necessary to obtain separate credentials for each country from which I would like to import the material or will one set of credentials will allow me to import from various countries?
These questions are all very common for first time importers. Because you did not state otherwise, we’re going to have to assume that you’re importing granite from a country that maintains normal trade relations with the US (not Cuba or North Korea) and that you have not been previously restricted or barred from importing by US Customs.
What license or permits are required?
No licensing is required to import granite into the US. You can file the import paperwork yourself without obtaining any kind of license. Since the process can be cumbersome, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed Customs broker. A Customs broker will have to have a special license that allows them to transact Customs business on behalf of others. This is a confusing point for many importers.
Since you are importing an agricultural commodity – you may be asked to fumigate your shipment. Granite slabs are potentially home to slugs and other parasites that might impact the US ecosystem. A Customs broker or freight forwarder can get you a quote for any fumigation that is required.
What forms are necessary to obtain the licenses/permits?
Again, no licensing is required. The basic paperwork that accompanies an import includes:
- A commercial invoice and packing list (that you or your vendor must produce). For granite be sure to detail the quantity you are importing in both metric tons and cubic meters on the invoice.
- The traveling paperwork created by the carrier (either an airline or steamship line). This if often referred to as a Bill of Lading.
- Customs form 3461 (which a Customs Broker will fill out for you) that serves as a formal request to Customs to allow import of the shipment.
- Customs for 7501 (which the Customs Broker will also fill out) that serves as a worksheet/receipt for US Customs detailing the amount of duty you owe.
Where can I find the necessary forms?
Your local Customs port office will have all the forms on hand that you need or will be able to direct you if you need anything unusual.
How much does it cost to obtain the licenses/permits?
Instead of a licensing fee, US Customs collects revenue based primarily as percentage of the total value of goods being imported. Unworked granite slabs will be between 0-3% depending on their level of workmanship (totally unworked or cut into blocks for shipping). The classification for granite is found in chapter 25 of the US Harmonized Tariff Schedule.
How long does it take to receive the licenses/permits?
It may take a few days for your broker to arrange a Customs bond, but no additional approval will be required.
What is the likelihood of receiving the necessary license/permits?
Unless you’ve previously been denied importing privileges by Customs or you are dealing with an unscrupulous vendor who has had problems in the past, chances are good.
US Customs is there to administer and facilitate international trade while protecting the economy of the United States and will not deny your shipment unless they have good reason.
Note: first time importers stand a higher chance of having their shipment detained by US Customs for exam. You may want to pad your budget/timeline to allow for the possibility.
Is it necessary to obtain separate credentials for each country from which I would like to import the material or will one set of credentials will allow me to import from various countries?
No licensing is required. You can import freely from Canada, Brazil, Italy, South Africa, etc. with the same process.
If you’re looking for a supplier, here are the trade statistics for unworked granite or granite cut into rough blocks for 2005. This list contains country of origin and quantity in metric tons for your product to give you an idea of where most imported granite is coming from.
|Customs Value where quantities are collected in metric tons|
|Subtotal Product Group (Quantities Collected in metric tons)||28,302|