No one wins when fighting with AMS Customs.
Well…actually, AMS Customs wins.
Point is, getting in trouble with AMS Customs is absolutely no fun, and if you’ve ever had an AMS disaster, you know all-to-well. Fines for AMS Customs violations are steep, and it can put you in bad standings with Customs for future shipments.
If you are importing frequently to the U.S., or are planning to start importing to the U.S. in the near future, these are a few ways you can avoid disasters with AMS Customs:
Avoiding Disasters with AMS Customs
Keeping out of harm’s way with AMS Customs is all about being proactive and properly planning for your U.S.-bound imports. These are a few practical ways you can set your company up for efficient and issue-free imports with AMS Customs:
1) Schedule Your Filings
Filing with AMS Customs is required to be done at a max of 24 hours before cargo hits U.S. soil. If you wait until the last 24 hours of your cargo’s arrival, you face violations in excess of $10,000 per instance.
Regardless of if you are shipping frequently or only a couple times throughout the year, setup an internal process to “schedule” a team member to file with AMS for shipments. Once you know cargo arrival dates, put a task in for team members to schedule a time within a week of the cargo’s arrival at which point they can log in and file all necessary information. Setup a “task” for managers to check in on the status of AMS filings for shipments as well.
This keeps everyone accountable and informed on the status of AMS filings and keeps your company from detrimental $10,000+ fines from AMS Customs.
2) Keep Records on Hand
Old shipping records take up space and can make organization difficult – we get it. However, did you know you’re actually legally required by AMS Customs to keep shipping records on hand for a minimum of five years from the date of entry? Once again, failing to do so will result in steep fines.
If you need to buy a separate hard drive for all the extra data (or for organization purposes), fine, but we actually suggest you keep as many records on hand as possible. If you don’t absolutely need to get rid of old shipping data, don’t!
3) “Measure Twice, Cut Once”
Yep – it’s a woodworking analogy, but the same concept applies for filing with AMS Customs as well.
Not only is failing to file within 24 hours of cargo arrival a violation – so is filling incorrect information. The most common way we’ve seen this happen is with shippers who incorrectly file their House Bill Of Lading number…Big mistake.
When you are filing AMS Customs, you want to ensure that everything is correct. Check, double check, and triple check that you have everything – especially you HBL number – entered correctly, or you’re bound to face steep charges from AMS Customs.
Wrapping It Up
If you are about to import to the U.S., are a new importer, or have been doing it for a while and just have questions about the process as well as how you can stay in good standing with AMS Customs, please don’t hesitate to just ask us a question! This is what our teams do full time. We’ve seen a lot and we have tons of answers to all your questions. We’re happy to help out!