importer of record usa

Importer of Record: Guide

By | 2023-11-08T00:04:04+00:00 August 24th, 2021|U.S. Customs|

Individual or a company engaging in international trade? You ensure compliance with regulatory concerns related to the import and export of the products.

When a trade occurs with international parties, compliance with all the local, state, as well as federal laws have to be assured. That’s where an importer of record (IOR) comes in!

Today, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about being an importer of record.

What is an Importer of Record?

An importer of record is an individual or organization that is responsible for all the paperwork concerned with the import of products into the USA. It is the responsibility of an IOR to ensure that all the entry requirements for importing commercial goods into the US are fulfilled. Providing necessary documents, paying fees & duties, classifying the products, certifications, and other such tasks are the responsibilities of an importer of record.

importer of record IOR cpb

Why is an importer of record needed?

All the goods imported to the US have to be compliant with the rules and regulations provided by Customs and Border Protection or otherwise known as the CBP. Therefore, the CBP first introduced the role of an IOR to overlook and fulfill all the legal requirements for importing goods.

An IOR is needed to ensure:

  • The safety & security of all the products being imported

  • Proper classification, labeling, and packaging of the goods

  • Streamlined shipping services

  • Compliance with the laws

  • Payment of the dues

The main reason why a US importer of record is needed is to free the goods being imported from threats and ensure the safety of American consumers — and the country at large.

What are the requirements to become an IOR?

In most cases, the person or organization that has ownership of the goods being imported is considered as the importer of record. That does not specify that only the owner of the products can be an importer of record. Other parties involved in the procedure, such as a purchaser, exporter, consignee, or a third-party representative can also be appointed as an IOR.

Anyone who wants to become an IOR has to meet certain requirements and fill some forms provided by the CBP. After clearing all the documents and receiving the application fees, the CBP entitles the applicant to act as an IOR.

Here is a step-by-step process of becoming an importer of record.

  • Declaration of power of attorney is the first thing needed by the CBP from the applicant.

  • The applicant’s ID is verified.

  • Certificates of incorporation or otherwise known as corporate charters have to be submitted.

  • After paying the fees, the applicant has to post the application accompanied by the documents to the CBP. The CBP will issue an importer of record number to the applicant.

What is an importer of record number?

An importer of record number is a unique combination of numbers assigned by the CBP to an individual who wants to import goods into the states. To differentiate between a foreign importer and the US importer, the CBP ensures that the format of the IOR number of a US importer is different from an importer. When importing goods through the border, an IOR number acts as an identification number for the importer of record.


Customs brokers can help importers moving goods into the US with a range of items, including setting up the appropriate importer of record, advising on compliance, and processing paperwork on your behalf. Partnering with a customs broker ultimately saves the importer on various costs associated, to time wasted, or fines due to non-compliance. You can start the conversation with a customs broker here.