What purpose does a Power of Attorney (POA) serve?

There are 2 types of POA when conducting business with U.S. Customs.

  1. An employee who works for a U.S. Customs broker who is acting solely for his employer to conduct customs business on their behalf.
  2. Customs Broker to act on the behalf of the Importer to conduct customs business.

To conduct customs business, a U.S. Customs Broker must have a district permit to conduct customs business at the port that a U.S. Customs Broker applied to. A Customs broker has the option to apply to multiple ports if a Customs Broker needs to conduct business at those ports. Transacting Customs Business means under CFR 19 Title: § 111.1 Definitions.:

  1. Entry and admissibility of merchandise,
  2. Classification and valuation,
  3. The payment of duties, taxes, or other charges assessed or collected by CBP on merchandise by reason of its importation,
  4. Refund, rebate, or drawback of those duties, taxes, or other charges.
  5. Preparation, and activities relating to the preparation, of documents in any format and the electronic transmission of documents,
  6. Parts of documents intended to be filed with CBP in furtherance of any other customs business activity, whether or not signed or filed by the preparer.
  7. Transacting customs business does not include the mere electronic transmission of data received for transmission to CBP and does not include a corporate compliance activity.

Yet, a U.S. Customs Brokers license is not requred to do

  1. An importer or exporter transacting customs business solely on his own account and in no sense on behalf of another is not required to be licensed, nor are his authorized regular employees or officers who act only for him in the transaction of such business.
  2. Marine Transactions
  3. Transportation in-bond
  4. noncommercial shipments
  5. Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) activities

An Employee of a broker who is acting solely for his employer to conduct customs business must have a power of attorney stating that the employee will act on behalf of the customs broker and the power of attorney must be filed with the port director. Yet the customs broker is responsible and must excercise sufficient supervision of the employee to ensure proper conduct on the part of the employee in the transaction of customs business. Also a customs broker must exercise of reasonable care and diligence for those who are not licensed based on the acts and omissions which the employee may not beaware of therefore the customs broker should have foreseen.

A power of attorney for an employee allows the employee to:

  1. The broker has authorized the employee to sign documents pertaining to customs business on his behalf, yet a power of attorney does not have a to be filed with the port director.
  2. A customs broker has filed with the port director a statement identifying the employee as authorized to transact customs business on his behalf.

For a Customs Broker to act on the behalf of the Importer to conduct customs business.

A power of attorney can be on Customs Form 5291 yet a POA may not have to be on 5291 but shall be a General POA as explicit in its terms and executed in the same manner as a Customs Form 5291 as follows.

General power of attorney with unlimited authority example:


         (Name of principal)
________ ,

(State legal designation, such as corporation, individual, etc.) residing at ___ and doing business under the laws of the State of , hereby appoints   (Name, legal designation, and address) as a true and lawful agent and attorney of the principal named above with full power and authority to do and perform every lawful act and thing the said agent and attorney may deem requisite and necessary to be done for and on behalf of the said principal without limitation of any kind as fully as said principal could do if present and acting, and hereby ratify and confirm all that said agent and attorney shall lawfully do or cause to be done by virtue of these presents until and including , (date) or until notice of revocation in writing is duly given before that date.

Date __, 19;.

(Principal’s signature)

The Duration of power of attorney can be eaither unlimted or limited. Under an unlimited POA, an unlimited POA grantes a POA for an unlimited period of time unless
a written notice of revocation is received by CBP either at the port of entry or electronically.
Notice will be given to the Customs Broker that the importer ceases to be an active client therefore the POA is revoked.
After revocation, Customs Broker must keep record for 5 years.

A Limited POA

Issued by a partnership that shall be limited to a period not to exceed 2 years from the date of execution.

Why do I need to file a CBP form 5106

CBP form 5106 is a basic form to establish your identity to conduct business of importing at any port of entry in the United States and its territories. Each person, business firm, government agency or other organization that intends to file an import entry must file a 5106. This form has multiple purposes, one is to establish or update an Importer account with CBP which CBP will enter a new importer/ principal into CBP’s ACE data base, this will provide for subsequent customs transactions. Second, an assigned filer code will be issued that will be used for the importers first formal entry or request for services, this will result in the issuance of a bill or a refund check upon adjustment of a cash collection.

The use of your filer code will be tract on every entry transaction that the importer will make. On each entry, CBP will collect and maintain records on all commercial goods imported into the United States, this will not relive you from maintaining your own records which must be maintained at your place of business (see CFR 19 Part 163 Record Keeping, how many years to maintain records). CBP will also collect and maintain records along with carrier, broker, importer, and other ACE-ITDS Portal user account and manifest information. CBP will use this information to track, control, and process all commercial goods imported into the United States. This facilitates the flow of legitimate shipments, and assists the Department of Homeland (DHS)/CBP in targeting illicit goods. With all entries that are made, CBP will continue to use what is called “Routine Uses” which the information requested on this form may be shared externally, as a “routine use” with appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, or foreign governmental agencies, or multilateral governmental organizations.

What do I need to import?

To import any type of goods into the United States, the practice of due diligence is the acceptable practice on your part as the importer. Meaning that all imports do not apply the same way for all goods, whether you are importing live stock, perishables, wine, apparel to woods because each type of goods are determined by PGA (Partner Government Agencies) according to their rules and regulations and CBP look for the basic paper work for entry as well as other paper work required by PGA. PGA determine whether a good is prohibited or allow entry into the United States. As the Importer of Record you are responsible to research and gather information on the type of documents you will need to import your goods.

Documents Required by CBP upon entry of goods.

  1. A bill of lading or air waybill
  2. Commercial Invoice
  3. Packing Slip
  4. Surety Bond

As an Example from each PGA

Partner Government Agencies
Importing Wine, Liquor and
Must have a EIN from IRS Federal Basic Importer’s Permit
 TTB F 5100.24
Alcohol Dealer Registration,
TTB F 5630.5(d)
Application for and
Certification/Exemption of
Label/Bottle Approval (COLA)
 TTB F 5100.31A certificate of age or origin is required for
certain wines and distilled
spirits imported into the United States
1. Importer must have authorization letter to sell by manufacture
2. Natural wine certification for  enological practices agreement, no certification is required. Please refer to our list
3. A certificate of age or origin is required for certain wines and distilled spirits imported into the United States.  
4. FDA Prior Notice,
5.Bioterrorism Act of 2002
6. State Level, Import permit and other
On Oct 1, 2022, FAVIR will be replaced by ACIR (https://acir.aphis.usda.gov/s/)

Importing Grapes Cluster of
Importing from Chile.
1. An Import Permit is required.
1. Admissible Plant Parts: Cluster of fruit, Fruit
2. Admissible Ports: All Ports
3. This commodity is subject to inspection at the port of entry and all general requirements of 7 CFR 319.56-3.
4.oluntary Preclearance: Consignments may or may not be precleared, signed PPQ Form 203 or a vessel report from APHIS.
5. Condition of Entry Treatment: T101-h-2 (Methyl Bromide Fumigation) REQUIRE T101-h-2 in addition to any required Medfly treatments.
6. Condition of Entry Treatment: T101-h-2-1 (Methyl Bromide Fumigation) , or T107-a (Cold Treatment) , or T108-a (Methyl Bromide Fumigation and Cold Treatment) If treatment has not been completed or fails, the fruits or vegetables may arrive in the United States at either of the following locations:
At ports located north of 39° latitude and east of 104° longitude
At ports with approved cold-treatment
Production Location: Not from any quarantine area.
Phytosanitary Certificate: Must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of Chile with an additional declaration stating the consignment was produced in an area free of Ceratitis capitata

Reference Information: To be treated in accordance with the Plant Protection and Quarantine Treatment Manual (https://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/manuals/ports/downloads/treatment.pdf).