Everything You Need to Know to Stay Compliant as a Self-Filing Importer

Oct 21, 2020 | Industry

Whether you’re importing the latest trendy gadgets from China, tapestries from Morocco, or coffee from Peru, every qualified importer has the right to self-file their own customs entries. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of customs compliance for self-filing importers and give you a primer on how the ACELYNK Navigator platform, powered by Magaya, can give you a competitive edge in your business.

Who is the Importer of Record?

In accordance with Section 484 of the United States Code, the Importer of Record is defined as the owner or purchaser of the goods or a licensed customs broker. If you are importing goods into the United States for distribution or sale, you can be an Importer of Record, or you can choose a licensed customs broker as your proxy. Foreign importers of record must have a U.S. office with on-site personnel who will file the entries and maintain the records.

What are the benefits of self-filing imports?

  • Lower Cost: As a self-filing importer, you can eliminate the high cost of filing fees by doing the legwork yourself. With the right tools, this doesn’t have to be daunting and much of the work can be automated.
  • Complete Visibility and Control: You’re in the driver’s seat. You can file your required import documents exactly how, when, and where you want to with full online access, 24/7.
  • Compliance Benefits: With the right tools in place, compliance benefits for self-filing importers can include receiving system validations prior to submission to CBP, backend HTS updates/ACE Enhancements/PGA Updates (full-time system-to-system synchronization with CBP), and real-time connectivity to update filers about shipment status with Customs. Plus, if you work with an expert partner like ACELYNK, then you gain access to an extensive library of self-help guides, knowledge base, and error dictionaries, to keep you in the know about ever-changing compliance regulations.
  • Your own Personal ABI Client Representative: Every recognized Filer with CBP has a dedicated, Customs-assigned Client Representative. The Client Representative creates an ABI Profile and establishes connectivity as well as verifies the submitted data on the backend to help diagnose and correct potential issues a filer may be experiencing.
  • Ability to File all Entry Types and Modes of Transport: As a self-filing importer, you can file various entry types, from regular Consumption Entries (01) to Quota Entries (02), or FTZ Entries (06), amongst others. This also includes MOT (Mode of Transportation) types like Vessel (10 &11), Air (40 & 41), Truck (30 & 31), or Hand Carried (60), to name a few.
  • Flexibility: There may be times when you prefer using a licensed customs broker – for more complex filings, for example. As a self-filing importer, you retain the flexibility to work with a customs broker when it suits you best.


What is required to stay compliant as a self-filing importer?

  • As an importer of record, you must apply and obtain your own filer code to transmit files to CBP. A letter of Intent requesting participation in ABI must also be submitted to CBP.
  • CBP Entry forms will also require your Importer number, your IRS number, Social Security number, or CBP-assigned number.
  • The importer will be required to pay all CBP duties and fees using an ACH Payer Unit number, which is assigned by CBP after completing the applicable ACH application.
  • Depending on the value of your shipments, a continuous or single-entry bond will be required.
  • Under the Customs Modernization (a.k.a. Mod Act), importers must use “reasonable care” to enter, classify, and determine the value of imported merchandise and provide accurate and timely data.
  • Importers must retain all entry-related documents for a minimum of five years after customs release. These records can be kept either digitally or on paper.
  • Self-filing importers must use ABI software that is ACE-Certified by US Customs.

How can the ACELYNK Navigator platform make self-filing imports easy?

Powered by Magaya, the ACELYNK Navigator platform is a U.S Customs-Certified Portal for ACE filings. The platform offers seamless transitions from ISF to Entry Summary, In-Bond, or e214.

Built to streamline, automate, and speed up the filings process, the Navigator platform offers a single-screen data entry portal to CBP, with responses, updates, and alerts in real-time. Plus, you can even build and manage your own parts databases, uniformly applying the tariff classification, value, country of origin, special program indicator, and any applicable PGAs to your transactional forms, making the process leaner and faster.

A built-in Document Imaging System (DIS) lets you attach all required paperwork or reference materials digitally, helping you stay organized and compliant.

You can bulk print or email multiple entries and their associated documents using our Document Distribution Module, yet another time-saving feature. And, with our Entry Audit Module, you can create a set of standards with which quality and compliance of entry data can be measured and recorded for user performance reviews or CBP audit reviews.

The solution is built to adapt to your unique needs and workflows, with customizable dashboards that give you a full picture of your filings and responses in a single snapshot. You can also schedule daily, weekly, or monthly reports to stay on top of your statuses and spot any exceptions quickly. You can even set up email notification alerts, so you never miss a beat, even when you’re busy with other tasks.

The ACELYNK Navigator platform is a cloud-based solution, so there is no software to download or hardware to manage. All you need is an internet connection. Plus, the platform is approved for CBP’s alternative storage methods, clearing you for digital record keeping – saving you precious storage space.

In addition to world-class software, as a customer, you also gain access to our expert support team. We know that navigating the world of customs compliance as a self-filing importer can bring up lots of questions, so we have assembled a team of experts to guide you at every step of the process. We offer all the services available to ABI participants and pride ourselves on being strong partners to our customers.

Interested in learning more about the ACELYNK Navigator platform for self-filing importers?