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What is a Licensed Customs Broker?

Customs Brokers are individuals who are licensed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assist businesses in understanding and abiding federal regulations concerning the importing and exporting of goods into or out of the country.

These highly trained professionals assist businesses by processing relevant paperwork, fees, and duties required by the federal government and associated with the movement of goods across borders.

To become licensed, candidates are required to pass a rigorous 80 question, four-and-a-half-hour exam—one of the most difficult professional certification exams in the country—with a reported 15% pass rate.

Test-takers are tested on their knowledge of Title 19 Code of Federal Regulations, duty-drawback, free trade zones, free trade agreements, product classification, and making entries.

Allyn International’s Global Trade Compliance account lead Callahan Heacox, who recently passed the April 2023 exam, says:

“It’s about four-and-a-half hours long. It’s grueling. It’s a real marathon of a test. You are at a test center, at a computer. All of your material is with you. Any reference material with you as you like. And you bring all of that in the exam room and you have four-and-a-half hours to complete a 80 question multiple choice exam.”

Those who pass the exam must also undergo a background check and approval process that can take up to six months before getting fully licensed.

According to the Customs and Border Protection website candidates must also:

  • be a United States citizen at least 21 years old.
  • not be a current Federal Government employee.
  • possess good moral character.

Only approximately 16,000 individuals are currently licensed in the United States.

Allyn International has a team of licensed brokers ready to assist your company navigate the world of global trade.

Contributor: Vinh Ho

About Allyn International

Allyn International is dedicated to providing high quality, customer centric services and solutions for the global marketplace. Allyn's core products include transportation management, logistics sourcing, freight forwarding, supply chain consulting, tax management and global trade compliance. Allyn clients range from small local businesses to Fortune 500 firms. Allyn conducts business in more than 20 languages and has extensive experience in both developed and emerging markets. Highly trained experts are positioned throughout North and South America, Europe and Asia. Allyn’s regional headquarters are strategically located in Fort Myers, Florida, U.S.A., Shanghai, P.R. China and Prague, Czech Republic. For more information, visit


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