Customs Exams

Questions and answers about Customs Exams


    QUESTION: One of our divisions is a new importer and all their shipments LCL or FCL are getting inspected (all coming from the same supplier is Europe).  Is this normal for new importer or is it the port we are using on the east coast? Would it help if the supplier was in the AOE […]


    QUESTION: We are in Dominican Republic and we make cheerleaders uniforms and export to USA, we have a everyday shipment using express courier and now we have a shipment under Customs inspection since July/29/19 with the note “Clearance delay-Import”, has someone had this kind of issue before, could you tell me a guideline about something […]

  • CBP Quick Response Audit (QRA)

    QUESTION: We have been informed that CBP will be conducting a Quick Response Audit. Does anyone have any experience with a QRA? How long does it normally last? In general, what can we expect? ***************** Answers: Check the CBP website. they have a section on how to prepare, what to expect etc. Quick Response Audits […]


      Question:   Many of our full ocean containers come in to the US via rail from Canada. Over the past few months we have seen many of our containers get caught up on “innocent hold”.  Our containers are not being held for inspection but seem to always be stuck on the same railcar as […]

  • VACIS Exam

    Question: Has anybody recently seen an increase in VACIS exams with their cargo? Within the last month we have had 12 exams which is about 10% of what we are importing. This is since becoming C-TPAT certified. It usually takes about 2 years before we see that many exams.

  • Random Inspections

    Question: Recently we’ve experienced a rash of “Random Inspections” at the port of   Long Beach… 4 out of 5 containers were searched by US Customs off our last arrival.  Inspections and some delays are expected (I suppose) but this is the first time I’ve seen or heard of a “Random Inspections”.  It’s not Vacis, […]

  • Customs Exams Q&A 1

    We had an unusual situation happen. We had a Canadian shipment with two containers on a vessel that were to discharge in Vancouver BC. At the vessel’s scheduled port of call in Seattle, US customs requested that one of the containers be offloaded for a Vacis exam, eventhough the container was flagged as FROB (frt […]

  • Customs Exams Q&A 2

    Have any ICPA members, who are also C-TPAT participants, been experiencing a higher-than-normal CET exam rate, particularly on the west coast (e.g. LA and SFO)? We have all heard grumblings from the politicians and pundits alike about the need to inspect 100% of the containers coming into the United States, but is anyone out there […]

  • Customs Exams Q&A 3

    We were charged an exam fee by our broker for some consolidated freight. Customs stopped the container to examine another importer’s freight that was in the container with ours. We don’t think we should be responsible for any exam charges since our merchandise was not targeted. Our broker insists we pay up. I think they […]

  • Customs Exams Q&A 4

    During the last week we have had a dramatic increase in Customs exams in LA for product coming from Malaysia. We’ve had over 20 containers flagged for x-ray. I was told by our broker that one steamship line said they have also seen a huge increase in exams. Two of our carriers are charging us […]

  • Customs Exams Q&A 5

    My question to the membership- are they seeing another round of Transshipment examinations? What kind of process are they seeing? What kind of time frames? Because so far in our case we have a three day delay and Customs still hasn’t decided what they want to do, or even issued a staging notification to stage […]

  • Customs Exams Q&A 6

    Are there any importers out there who are successfully getting back-up documentation that justify VACIS exam charges? We have seen some charges nearly triple in different ports over the last few weeks and cannot get any back-up or explanation from the steamship lines to justify these outrageous charges. Are we all just at the mercy […]