Imports- When is a Power Of Attorney Needed

Imports: When is a Power Of Attorney Needed?

As you might imagine, there’s a ton of security surrounding U.S. imports. Customs is incredibly careful regarding what comes in, who is shipping it, what parties are involved, what documents are submitted, and ultimately, who submits them.

But unfortunately, buyers and sellers aren’t always experts on international trade law and Customs requirements and documentation practices. They’d prefer someone else act on their behalf for Customs entry filling and communication of all necessary documents/requirements. That’s where the POA comes in.

When is a Power Of Attorney (POA) Needed?

Shippers and importers often appoint a Customs Broker or Freight Forwarder to help them with Customs entry and documentation filing. The U.S. recognizes Customs Brokers as authorized agents who may assist with the import and export of other shippers’ goods. However, Customs requires that a Power Of Attorney must be made in the name of the Customs Broker for any and all entries of imported goods.

The Power Of Attorney is a document that grants the freight forwarder or Customs broker the right to act on behalf of the consignor of the freight (usually, the shipper/buyer of the goods). The POA must be established before cargo is shipped, as the document will ensure that all communication regarding documentation and filing are routed to the appointed POA rather than the shipper themselves. This is important when working with a freight forwarder to make sure no details are overlooked in the Customs entry process.

How to Get a Power Of Attorney

Getting a POA isn’t too difficult, and generally speaking, your freight forwarder or Customs broker should be able to walk you through the process very quickly. If you plan on appointing a POA for help with your U.S.- bound imports, you’ll need the following information:

  • An IRS, social security, or importer ID number
  • Your full name and the name under which your business is registered
  • The jurisdiction in which your company operates
  • An authorized signature

The POA document must be signed by an officer of the company making the shipment, and the POA must be a U.S. resident.

The process is relatively simple, and we are happy to answer any of your questions! If you are looking for help with appointing a POA, reach out to one of our team members to ask!


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