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How to get an import license or permit

In most cases, you will not need a license to import goods into the U.S. But for some items, agencies may require a license, permit, or other certification.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) enforces import laws at U.S. ports of entry. CBP’s Tips for New Importers and Exporters provides an overview.

Find out if you need an import license or permit

Check the requirements of the federal agency or agencies that regulate the product you plan to import. 

  • These CBP import guidelines describe the types of items that may need a license or permit. 
  • Always check with the federal agency for the most up-to-date information.

How to get an import license or permit

Contact the agency that requires the license or permit. 

Contact the port of entry

Contact the port of entry for your shipment to ask about import requirements and related information. 

The CBP recommends you speak with an import specialist at the CBP Centers of Excellence and Expertise before you import. 

Find required entry forms

You must fill out CBP entry forms within 15 calendar days of your shipment’s arrival at a U.S. port of entry. Make sure to provide your importer number on all these forms.

LAST UPDATED: June 27, 2024


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