Are you moving to the US and need to get your furniture across the border? Does your business import furniture into the US for resale? Fortunately, moving furniture across the US border is relatively straightforward, with few restrictions to look out for. Whether you’re importing for commercial or personal use, keep these tips in mind when bringing foreign-made furniture into the US.
Importing furniture for commercial use
You can import almost any type of furniture into the US from abroad — sofas, headboards, dining room tables, desks, chairs, metal furniture, wicker furniture, wood furniture, etc. For most furniture, you do not need an import license. For some wood furniture, however, you may need a license and you will face some extra restrictions (We’ll review those later in the article).
- Registering with CBP: To import goods into the US for resale, you must register as an importer with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency using CBP Form 5106. This form will create a unique importer identity for you with CBP and is required for all formal entries. Formal entries are imports intended for commercial purposes or valued at more than $2,500. Your supplier or shipper will need your unique IRS import number, as well as your social security number or tax identification number before they can ship your furniture to the US.
- Paying applicable import duties: Depending on where you source your furniture, you may have to pay tariffs to import it into the US. Check Chapter 94 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) of the United States to see which tariffs apply to furniture imports. You will also need to reference this schedule to find the proper HTS code for your furniture. A customs broker can help you locate the right HTS code and ensure your CBP paperwork is in order. Not paying tariffs, even by accident, could lead to serious penalties later on.
Importing furniture for personal use
When you bring furniture purchased from abroad with you to the US, you can either move it over the border with you or have it shipped. The import process and required paperwork differ based on which method you choose.
- Crossing the border with your furniture: According to CBP, you must fill out Declaration Form 6059B when you cross over the US border with your imported furniture. You can either fill out this form at the port of entry or online ahead of time. You may have to pay import duties (tariffs) on your furniture when crossing the US border. Furniture imported for personal use must also contain the proper HTS code and may be subject to import duties. Check the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States or consult with a customs broker for more information.
- Having your furniture shipped to the US: If you are shipping your furniture to the US from abroad (i.e. not crossing the border with it), you must fill out an Informal Entry CBP Form – Entry/Immediate Delivery. Your shipper should notify you when your furniture arrives in the US. You can either arrange with the shipper to clear the furniture through customs and deliver it to your door, or go to the CBP office at the port of arrival to retrieve the furniture yourself after it arrives on US soil. Keep in mind that you have 15 days to release your items from customs before they go to a storage warehouse, requiring you to pay additional storage fees.
Furniture containing lead in paint
Items that contain over 0.06% lead by weight in surface coating materials and intended for consumer use are banned. Furniture with paint containing 0.06% lead is not admissible to the US.
Does the US have restrictions on importing wood furniture?
The US has rules about importing wooden furniture, which apply to personal use and commercial purposes. The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) requires all wood entering the US to go through a heat treatment or chemical sanitizing procedure. These rules are in place to prevent non-native pests from entering the US and to combat illegal logging. The Lacey Act also requires that all wood entering the US be declared to APHIS.
The Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) also protects the importation of some endangered species of wood. The Wood Database, an online wood identification resource, has a helpful list of which wood species are restricted for import under CITES. If your wooden furniture is subject to CITES, you may need a USDA permit or a CITES certificate from the country of origin.
Also, note that some wooden furniture from China is subject to anti-dumping duties, to prevent Chinese furniture from flooding the US market and threatening domestic wood furniture manufacturers.
Moving furniture across the US border with a customs broker
Whether you’re shipping furniture home from your holiday abroad or importing furniture to sell to US consumers, you must follow all US customs regulations to avoid getting flagged and paying penalties. As a certified customs broker, BorderBuddy can answer all your questions about importing furniture into the US for either personal or commercial use. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.