Simple Steps To Follow When CBP Seizures Occur

Schuyler "Rocky" Reidel

Schuyler "Rocky" Reidel

Schuyler is the founder and managing attorney for Reidel Law Firm. | Simple Steps To Follow When CBP Seizures Occur

Your marketing and sales departments are ready to promote the imports you’re expecting.  

There’s only one problem, the shipment never showed up at your warehouse!

After it arrived, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) detained the items and held them at a Centralized Examination Station.  A short phone call from their office 30 days later mentioned the dreaded word “seizure.” 

Now what?

Before you allow worry to creep in, let us educate you on the process and offer a solution!

CBP Seizures

You’d be surprised how extensive the list of prohibited items is at a CBP point of entry.  International trade law is one of our specialties, and many clients initially share your bewilderment!  

How long does it take for U.S. Customs to notify of shipment seizure?

They have up to 35 days to detain a shipment, although it can take up to 60 in certain cases.  After that time period, it needs to be released or become a seizure shipment.

They should notify you (the importer) during detainment, but don’t always count on this.  Once they do, provide any requested information in a timely fashion.  Why?

It’s your best chance to get the shipment cleared and safely tucked into your warehouse. 

Now, more than likely you’re reading this because you already expended this option.  In that case, keep reading for next steps.    

CBP Seizure Process

Whether you’re facing the prospect, or items are already being held in this manner, the process is the same.

  1. CBP finds a violation during the detention phase
  2. Shipment seized
  3. Notice issued to importer

CBP notice of seizure will detail the specific violations and the statute authorizing it.

Your next question will probably be, “How should I respond to the CBP seizure notice?” 

Contained within the notice will be 4 options:

  1. File a petition
  2. Submit offer in compromise
  3. Abandon the goods
  4. Begin a court action

An important thing to note, once you’ve received the notice you have 30 days to petition.  Don’t miss this window of opportunity!

Negotiations With CBP

Assuming you’re not ready to part with the goods just yet, we’d like to offer a word of advice.  

These negotiations can be drawn out and complicated.  Don’t presume they’ll happily release your shipment just because they are nice or you are new to importing.

You’ll want to make fixing any violations a top business priority!  Because the longer it’s collecting dust, the longer you’ll wait to receive a return on the imported merchandise.  

We don’t want that for you, and obviously you don’t either.  

And along those lines, it’s time to offer our promised solution.  After all, you want to move on and get back to normal business operations.

It is highly recommended to hire legal counsel during any negotiations.  There will be a lot of legal terms thrown your way both verbally and in writing.  

Here lies your best opportunity to find a remedy for this interruption of your supply chain! 

CBP Seizure Advice From Reidel Law Firm

Understanding more about the process is one thing, but finding a resolution is another.  This is where we come in! 

With our extensive background in international trade law and associated compliance regimes, Reidel Law Firm can help companies like yours identify potential deemed import problems and develop cost-effective solutions. 

We advise businesses of all sizes on a range of trade compliance issues, including audits and employee training and advising clients in proceedings before the Court of International Trade. 

Call us at (832) 510-3292 or fill out our online form for advice on CBP seizure assistance.

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