Importing and Exporting

Learn more about how to start importing or exporting.

Importing and Exporting

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has basic information on importing and exporting or visit these sites: 

Imports are any resource, good, or service that producers in one country sell to buyers in another country. 

Exports are any resource, intermediate good, or final good or service that a buyer in one country purchases from a seller in another country. 

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Obtain an Import License or Permit

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not require an importer to have a license or permit, but other agencies may require one, depending on the goods being imported. In order to avoid potential problems in the clearance of your merchandise, follow these guidelines:

More Information on Importing

"Importing into the U.S." provides information on items that require a license or permit to be imported. CBP also offers tips for new importers, so you can become familiar with CBP policies and procedures.

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Get an Export License or Permit

You do not need a license to act as an exporter in most cases, but certain items require a license or permit from various government agencies before they are available for export.

How to Get an Export License or Permit

You can contact your local port of entry to find out if an item for export requires a special license or permit.  You can contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the port where the merchandise will exit the country if you have additional questions.

For information on exporting wildlife, please contact a Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) port of entry. There are five countries for which shipments of nearly any commodities require special licenses for export.

Regulations of Exports outside of the United States

Every country has regulations that apply to all mail and items coming into that country. Please check with the foreign embassy or consulate of the country where you will be sending the items.

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Last Updated: September 21, 2016

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