Ocean Shipment to the United States of America

This guide is unofficial and all of these ocean shipment regulations are subject to change without notice (for more information please contact us).

If you are moving to New York, or anywhere else in the United States, you must consider the following issues to avoid problems with U.S. customs upon arrival. Regardless of whether you are doing your shipment by sea or air transportation, you must submit the following documents to your destination customs agent to comply with customs regulations:

  • Authorization of representation at destination customs broker
  • ISF Form
  • Copy of passport
  • CBP Form 3299
  • Treasury Department supplemental declaration
  • Packing list in English and valued in dollars
  • Bill of Lading (BoL or B / L)

Used personal items are exempt from U.S. taxes provided they have been in possession of the importer at least 1 year prior to importation. To avoid paying taxes, you must demonstrate that the imported goods are not for another person or for sale. To qualify for tax-free goods, they should have been at least 10 years since the last arrival of the importer into the United States from the country from which the goods are being imported.

Representation Authorization

This form authorizes the destination customs broker to act on your behalf with U.S. Customs and make the necessary arrangements to allow entry of the goods in the United States.

ISF Form

The ISF (Importer Security Filling) or 10 +2  form must be completed by the customs broker or freight forwarder 24 hours before departure of the ship from the port of origin and transmitted electronically to the customs authorities of the United States.

This form includes 10 items:

  • Manufacturer
  • Seller
  • Container location
  • Consolidator or shipping
  • Buyer
  • Receiver
  • Registration number of the importer
  • Registration number of consignee
  • Country
  • Tariff
CBP Form 3299

This form is the official request to allow the entry of personal effects tax free.
You can download it here.

Treasury Department’s supplemental declaration.

This form specifies the following details: passport number, number of social security (if applicable) and a brief description of the reasons for moving to the United States.

Packing list with values in dollars

It is mandatory to complete a packing list including all items to be sent and the estimated value for the customs agent to declare.

Bill of Lading (BoL or B / L)

The Bill of Lading is the shipping document issued by the carrier or consolidator that transports the goods. This document details the items shipped, the value of goods and indicates the carrier who must deliver the goods on arrival.


Useful links

Moving to the U.S. – Timeframe allotted to move household and personal effects to the U.S.

Moving back to the U.S. – Personal effects

Moving to the U.S. – Importing or shipping car / vehicle with personal or household effects packed inside

Moving back to the U.S. – Sending household effects

Moving to the U.S. – Importing personal and household effects, Relative or friend clearing goods on your behalf

Quote Your Freight to The US

Share This

Sharing is caring

It's never too much sharing if the content is worth it.