What is a customs broker?

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At some point in Antigua, you will have to import or export goods. If you do not understand the ins and outs of Antigua customs procedures, you may be left guessing and going blindly through the customs department. A customs broker may be of great help to you and your tasks. But what is a customs broker? And what does a customs broker do?

Customs broker definition

A customs broker is an expert who provides professional services for customs clearance procedures. Getting through Antigua customs involves tedious paperwork for the clearance process and a deep understanding of the different Antigua customs regulations and charges. A licensed customs broker will take control and process all your documents following the Antigua customs protocols while ensuring that you get your goods on time and pay no more than you need to.

What-is-a-customs-broker
Customs broker

Customs broker duties and responsibilities

Customs brokers act as the liaison between you and the relevant authorities involved in the import and export of goods. They take charge of multiple tasks to ensure that both you and the customs officials are on the same page. Some of the main customs duties include:

Prepare and submit documentation.

The customs clearance procedure involves the preparation of various types of documents. Although the filling in and the submission of forms might seem like a breeze, this must be done professionally to reflect the correct classification of goods. Licensed customs brokers go through all of your documentation to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Antigua and Barbuda Customs Regulations.

After checking the documents and ensuring their validity, your customs broker must submit them to the relevant customs authorities for approval and verification. Submitting faulty documents can cause you to be audited or pay more fines than you expected. For this purpose, ensuring that you get an experienced broker is a top priority.

Some of the documents required for customs clearance include:

  • Pro Forma Invoice
  • Shipping Bill
  • Bill of Lading
  • Personal Identification
  • Business proof of registration (for businesses)

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Customs Declaration

Act as a liaison between you and the authorities

A customs broker is committed to being there when you cannot. Whether it’s collecting your documents and verifying them or declaring your imported goods at the customs department, they take the stress away from the entire procedure. By being knowledgeable of the Antigua customs regulations, they will keep you informed about your goods and at the same time, liaise with the authorities to get them cleared. Your broker will take care of:

  • Filling in and submitting documentation
  • Making sure your goods meet the standards of customs regulations
  • Prepare and submit payments to the authorities on your behalf
  • Calculate and determine the correct costs
  • Redeem inaccurate charges of tariffs on the client’s behalf

Provide professional advice

Especially for businesses, customs brokers provide expert advice and if needed, assistance to enhance the company’s management of import and export. Because they are knowledgeable in the various regulations and laws of Antigua customs, they will offer you the help you need to steer your company in the right direction. They will pay close attention to your specific needs and requirements and create a plan to help you get your items in and out of the country quickly and easily. Additionally, using their expertise, they will help you to spread your business to new markets.

Why do I need a customs broker?

The reasons for using a customs broker are just as many as the benefits of using one.

Expert knowledge and expertise

Customs brokers are trained and experienced in the various aspects of custom clearance procedures in ways that you or your administrative team cannot understand. By using their acquired skills they will safely facilitate the customs procedures and get you your goods as fast as possible. Furthermore, some restricted goods may require an import license and your broker will be able to obtain this on your behalf.

Financial management

As rules and regulations change, so do the costs of charges and tariffs. Hiring a customs broker who is well versed in the different charges and will make sure that you are not overcharged will give you peace of mind. They will also ensure that there are no delays in your clearance process, ultimately helping you avoid unnecessary charges. 

Proper verification of documents

Whether you are a professional or a regular person importing goods, getting through documentation can be a headache, but with a customs professional on your side, you can rest assured that your documents will be legally checked and processed under Antigua customs laws. The most important document, the bill of lading, must be accurate and have the correct information about the classification of the goods being imported and exported. Some goods require specific licenses from different government agencies and your broker will be responsible for obtaining these on your behalf.

How much does a customs broker charge?

A Customs broker can be a single individual or a company. Both offer the same general types of services, but some brokers offer more perks such as courier service. Therefore, customs broker fees will range based on what service they provide for you and for how long. Most brokers will give you a straightforward quote detailing the various customs department charges as well as their own.

Some charges that you may see on your invoice include:

  • Import or Export Duty- 20 % of the value of the item.
  • Throughput Levy
  • Environmental Levy- Price varies according to the size of the item and whether it can be recycled.
  • Antigua Barbuda Sales Tax- Charged on all taxable supplies at a flat rate of 15%
  • Revenue Recovery Charge- 10% of the value of the item

Some brokers also offer a flat rate that is inclusive of all their services plus the duties on goods. These package deals may be more manageable especially for businesses who want to outsource the entire clearance process while.

How to choose a customs broker?

When choosing the right brokerage company, you should consider all the factors that make up a look for a company or person that is highly experienced and has a good reputation in the field. Do your research and shop around before making a decision. Some other points to consider:

  • Choose a Dedicated Customs Broker– Choose a brokerage company that will prioritize your needs. Do your research and seek out customer reviews to ensure that the company or individual will pay the utmost attention to your documentation, process, and of course your products.
  • Choose a Broker With Positive References– Although brokers do not release customer information for privacy reasons, you must choose a broker who has some positive feedback from past customers and even individuals around them. Some ways you can do this is by researching online, asking by word of mouth, or calling to request testimonials.
  • Choose an Approved Customs Broker with a license– The last thing you need is an unqualified broker handling your import and export process. When you are researching, do background checks, and don’t be afraid to ask for certificates and licenses.

Be sure to question your candidates. Find out some of their notable achievements and times where they satisfied the needs of their customers. How much experience do they have in international shipping? Check for online reviews to see customer feedback. At Relocate Antigua our custom brokers are all highly experienced and trained and will do their best to ensure that your import and export needs are met. 

Customs brokerage in a Digital Age

As the world moves into a more enhanced digital age, we are all wondering what customs brokerage of the new age looks like. With the introduction of online systems that will allow importers and exporters to clear their items without the need of processing and submitting tangible documentation, does this mean that custom brokers won’t be needed? The answer is no.

Customs brokers do much more than just processing documents, being that they are trained in the field and know all the ins and outs especially relating to the dues and taxes. You will benefit more from an experienced brokerage service handling the financial aspects such as the duty on imported goods and other taxes rather than attempting to calculate them yourself. On the other hand, the ability to digitize the workload makes it easier for brokers to juggle multiple clients and projects at once. Furthermore, in some countries blockchain technology is also used to store data, ensuring that information is never lost or tampered with. Read more about the future of customs brokerage here.

Customs Brokerage in Antigua

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Custom Clearance in Antigua

Every country has different customs regulations and will require professionals who are trained in the procedures specific to that country. Being a customs broker isn’t just about calculating import tax. Customs clearance in Antigua has several regulations that will require the assistance of a skilled and experienced broker. First, let’s look at some of the unique customs regulations of Antigua and Barbuda:

Prohibited and restricted Import and export

Some items and products don’t make the list of things that can enter Antigua and Barbuda and some are allowed under certain conditions. For example, camouflage clothing and a variety of wild and endangered species are not allowed at all, while certain plants and pets can be brought in with a certificate from the Veterinary & Livestock Division. Your broker will acquire the required certificates for these items on your behalf.

Free Import

Luckily, in Antigua and Barbuda, some items can be imported free of charge. This of course is regulated by restricting the amount of the items imported by one person or entity. These include:

Tobacco

  • 200 cigarettes
  • 100 cigarillos
  • 50 cigars
  • Up to 250 grams of manufactured tobaccos

Alcohol

Up to 2 liters of wine and spirits.

Currency

Funds up to US$10,000.00.

Other

Personal imported goods that are valued at up to EC$700.00.

Why Choose Relocate Antigua?

At Relocate Antigua, we handle all our clients with the utmost respect and honor, ensuring that all the required customs documentation is in order and one hundred percent ready to be submitted. We will connect you with brokers who have experience in customs duties and taxes and will give you advice on the general customs clearance process.

What’s unique about us is that we provide more than just the service you need at the time. With a variety of services, we cater to every aspect of your needs from VIP and Concierge Services to Translation and Immigration. Are you seeking customs and brokerage services for relocation purposes? Well, we will go a step further and provide you with courier services to transport your items to your property in Antigua. Perhaps you need a personal assistant to act as the middleman between you and your broker- we can also provide you with one. We tailor our packages according to our client’s situations and budget- ultimately helping their transition into the country smooth and stress-free. Throughout the entire process, our agent will provide you with updated information, consistent advice, and reliable instructions on how to get through the customs process swiftly and correctly.

Conclusion

Customs brokerage may seem like a complex topic, but it isn’t. And if you still have inquiries or curiosities about the ins and outs of Antigua Customs Laws and Procedures, just let us know.

For more in-depth information on Antigua customs regulations, you can check out our article on Antigua Customs regulations and how to import and export.

Relocate Antigua will assist you in finding the right import and export broker in Antigua. We won’t just find you the first cheap customs broker. We work hand in hand with several customs brokerage companies that will deliver exceptional results. Our database of customs brokers consists of experienced professionals who are committed to processing your items promptly and saving you from paying ridiculous fees, all while adhering to the Antigua customs regulations.

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