Becoming a Non-Resident Importer in the US

How to Become a Non-Resident Importer (NRI) in the US

Trade Talk Blog


f you’re a foreign business and want to sell your products to American consumers, you can import goods into the United States by becoming a non-resident importer (NRI). This can be a great way to expand your business into the US market. And with non-resident importer status, you’ll still enjoy the same rights as a resident importer of record (IOR). This article will cover everything you need to know about becoming a non-resident importer in the US.

What is a Non-Resident Importer (NRI)?

A non-resident importer, also known as a foreign importer of record, is an individual or business that imports goods into the United States but does not have an office or place of business in the country. They may be based in another country, but they still want to sell their products in America.

Considered an importer of record, an NRI is responsible for ensuring compliance with the import requirements enforced by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the regulations of partner government agencies (PGAs).

What are the benefits of becoming an NRI?

  1. Reduced costs: Having and running an establishment in the US without the overhead costs massively reduces your business and operations costs.
  1. Competitive advantage: Enjoying the same advantages of US importers without the overhead costs gives you an advantage over local businesses.
  1. More control: Being the exporter and importer at the same time enables you to take full control of the entire supply chain.

It is important to note that non-resident importers carry the same responsibilities as local US importers. They both need to comply with US trade rules and regulations and are accountable for submitting complete and correct documentation to CBP.

What are the requirements for filing for NRI status in the US?

  1. A copy of your business’ Certificate of Incorporation
  1. The ID copies of two authorized officers from your company

It is recommended to work with a licensed customs broker, who will be able to streamline the entire registration process. In this case, you will also need to provide a customs Power of Attorney (POA) that enables your customs broker to act on your behalf.

What do I need to start importing into the US as an NRI?

There are two requirements to importing as an NRI in the US:

  1. A Customs Assigned Importer Number (CAIN), which is a unique identifier that allows you to import goods into the United States. It is also known as an Importer Number and is required by any importer of record in the US. To request a CAIN, you will need to file a CBP Form 5106 and present it at your port of entry.

A Customs Bond, which the CBP requires as security to ensure you pay any duties or taxes that may be due on your imported goods. A Customs Bond is required for all importers and the bond amount depends on the value of the goods being imported and whether they are subject to duties.

Your customs broker can help you fulfil all requirements by obtaining the customs assigned importer number and customs bond on your behalf.

Are you a foreign individual or business looking to start importing goods into the United States? Contact one of our Trade Experts, and/or book a meeting with us below! We’re here to help you become a non-resident importer and simplify your import process.


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