All You Need to Know About the Importer of Record Number

“ What is an importer of record number ?” This is the question many people are found asking when they have to ship anything into an importing country for the first time. In this blog post, we will try to answer this burning question i.e.  ‘What is an importer of record number’ and why it’s important.

We will use the example of the US to make readers understand the definition of importer of record number and its importance. Also, we will replace ‘Importer of Record number’ with ‘importer number’  to make the discussion simple.

What Is an Importer of Record Number?

To define in the simplest manner, it’s a unique identifier assigned by the Customs authority of the importing country to importers of record. In other words, the importer number is the SSN of any importing entity. There is no set standard of importer numbers around the world. Also, national and foreign importers of record are often assigned the importer numbers in different formats.

Which Entities Require an Importer No.?

Every importer needs the importer number from the destination country. Every good imported into any country is tracked through its importer number. Besides importers, freight forwarders and Customs brokers can also apply for an importer number to clear shipping items under their own name.

However, they become eligible to get this unique identification under certain conditions. For instance, freight forwarders and Customs brokers in the US can only work through an importer number when the shipping goods are valued under $ 2,500.

The Expiration of Importer No.

Importer numbers are not issued for a lifetime. They become invalid after a certain time. Every country has its own expiry duration set for importer numbers.  In the US, customs authorities are only responsible to keep an importer number on file for 12 months after the last time it was used to import anything into the US.

It’s better to ask beforehand if your importer number is present there in Customs books before making any commitments.

Filing for an Importer No.

Entities and Individuals can file for new importer numbers when:

  • The previous one has been voided
  • They need an additional importer number

In the US, applicants need to fill 5016 form to get this shipping identity. Other countries have their own paperwork requirements.  We hope that this discussion has answered and addressed the question ‘what is the importer of record number?’ and if you still would like to know more about IOR, Also you can read about Exporter of Record.