What is intensive exam CET exam in US import clearance

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What is intensive exam CET exam in US import clearance?

How does Intensive exam hold function under US import customs clearance? Who conducts Intensive Examination under US import clearance? Who is responsible to pay the charges under Intensive exam hold / CET exam hold under US import clearance? What are the procedures carried out by CET in an Intensive Examination in United States under Import clearance procedures? Who collects exam hold charges under Intensive Exam conducted by CET in United States.


In this article, I would like to explain the method of conducting Intensive Examination by Contraband Enforcement Team CET under US import customs clearance formalities. Also I would like to invite your attention on exorbitant charges on exam holds under an Intensive Examination by CET payable by importers, although no contraband found on imported goods.


What is CET exam under US import clearance?


Contraband Enforcement Team (CET) is a designation of US customs department. Normally CET exam is done to protect from narcotics, drugs or weapons. A physical examination of cargo is undertaken by Contraband Enforcement Team. In an intensive exam, normally the container is called to nearest CFS or port location. The complete physical inspection of each item in the container is carried out.


Once CET ordered for an intensive examination for a particular container by the US customs, the said container is moved to the nearest CFS for inspection. Private contractors are authorized to undertake this kind of job and the charges is on account of importer (?). The respective terminal will be intimated by customs and in turn to the carrier about the ‘hold’.


At some of the Terminals, importer can opt the freight station in which the cargo toWhat is intensive exam CET exam in US import clearance be inspected. Once after moving cargo to the freight station, the cargo is de-stuffed, whole or part and thorough inspection is carried out. Once after inspection, if customs satisfied to release the container, the container is moved back to port for necessary on-carriage, after collecting the ‘intensive exam charges’ by private agencies authorized by CBP. If importer cannot pay the said charges in time, the container will not be moved further, although customs already released the container. In addition to the above charges, demurrage / storage also can be attracted on such goods. Under 19 USC 1467, CBP has the right to inspect any import cargo arrives in US. It is the responsibility of importer to make the import goods available for examination. Importer is also responsible to pay all charges related to such intensive examination. 


I have no doubt on the responsibility of CBP to protect the nation from contraband, and the duty of any importer to make available the imported goods for inspection before CBP. However the question is why has the importer to pay charges on customs hold, if the goods are not detected contraband?  Also read Who can inspect import cargo in US


May CBP amend 19 USC 1467 in future in this regard?


Please note, Intensive exam hold can be ordered by any other government agencies of US to inspect import goods other than CET


In this article, I have explained the procedures and formalities of intensive examination conducted by CET under Import Customs clearance in US. Also I have brought your attention on importer’s responsibility to pay exam hold charges under intensive examination conducted by CET under US import clearance. Would you like to add more information about Intensive Examination under US import clearance procedures? Have you experienced exam holds by CBP or other government agencies of US under your import to US?


Share below your experience on Intensive Examination conducted by CET under import clearance.


Have you satisfied with this article about Intensive Exam Hold by CET under Import Customs Clearance in US? Comment below your thoughts about this article - What is intensive exam in US import clearance?


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What is intensive exam CET exam in US import clearance


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Corinna : Hi the US customs have selected my container for an intensive search, I have just been give a bill from the shipping company for 14,850 usd as it said it had to get my container from the bottom, and had to move 41 other containers at the cost of 350usd per container to reach mine. I have not had the exam charges from customs yet. As my shipment is going from Manzanillo in Mexico to Scotland and nowhere near the States I am totally shocked! Any advice?

sonya white: I have a container that triggered a CET HOLD and Vacis Exam. Nothing was found I would like to know what can trigger US Custom to select your container for those types of exam. Examples such as late ISF filing, entry data transmitted to CBP? What?

Tamara: I also have a container with personal household items that I used for 11 years overseas that just arrived more than a month late. According to the forwarding company, my container is being held for further inspections and the forwarding company sent me a bill for $1,100 for this inspection. My problem with this is if nothing is found why should I be the one to pay for this inconvenience, especially since my shipment was already sent late and arriving late.

Mary Roark: I was shocked to receive a $3000 fee from my international moving company for Inspection Fees Of CBT and NII. My husband and I have worked international for over 15 years and this was our first inspection and charge. We have moved the same household good back and forth to UK, Spain and France. What would prompt such an inspection. The fees are nearly 1/4 of the move costs. who can we appeal to?

Anuk: Hello. My shipments was checked many times by this intensive exams. We have been paying the charges receiving the bills from our forwarder. But at this moment we paid the exam charges almost 3000 usd, but additionally myst pay 1400 usd for storage of container. Customs was held up my container almost one month, and from carrier demanding to pay demurrage charge of container. Who will responsibility for this charge, although we not ordered to story this container. It is very bad things. It is very wrong. For your country's people to protect , we must pay ? It is very wrong.

Joseph Brant: The CET fees should not be charged to importers when no problems are found. This is a service to protect the public at large, and must be a public burden.

Grace: Forwarding company: BINEX LINE CORPORATION / Headquarters, Prime Agency, in CA USA. They charge us freely for CET exam. Fist time forwarding company sent us almost 3000USD bill, and we refused to pay. Second time changed to: 2200USD, and we refused to pay. third time: 821USD, and we refused to pay. Why we refused, the container is too overweight, 40 cubic container, over 10 consignees, the container weighted 68 cubic! Who should pay for it?

KT: The importer should be charged for all exams. Importing is not a constitutional right, it is a business practice. What should happen is that the US Customs duties collected should be allocated to offset the cost for customs and port operations. Textiles/Apparel/Footwear imports are paying over 50% of duties collected and they get very little benefit for those duties paid, as the duties go into US general fund.

olivia: i have a package under US customs. i paid for a few thousands for this, but do you know if it's refundable?

Saif U Rao: Hi, I have just received the info from my clearing agent about my towel container called for CET exam. Today was my last day of no demurrage charge. It will start costing $215/day for whatever the days customs take to finish up plus the CET fee. Why will i have to bear this unexpected nightmarish expense if nothing is found in the goods. May someone advice if there may be a way to avoid this unexpected expense? Saif

Sandy: How do customs select containers for further examination? What are the standards?

Shelly Thompson: This extensive exam has been happening very often. The most frustrating part is that the broker has charged us whatever they want to charge without having to provide us the necessary paperwork. In some ways it is in the interest of the broker to invite such an exam, since it is a very good source of revenue for them without any accountability by the CBP. I strongly urge the Customs department (CBP) to require the brokers to justify the cost before passing on to the importer. While we support that CBP has to assure that all US rules are followed for import, It seems like a scam at the broker level, that we urge CBP to take control of.

Roger: Just got hit with a CET exam. 1335 cases of product. 3600.00 plus delayed my container getting back so I am getting a 1500.00 demurrage fee. Price Transfer is the name of the company in Long Beach. I am also being told I have no options as to who does the CET exam the USDA decides where it goes. Most of if not all of my potential profit is gone now. Who regulates the amount these cost and if only one place is able to do it in long beach thats a monopoly.

Victor : Many people have submitted good questions. Where can I find the answers? Thank you so much for help.

Rob: Hi We have experienced the same issues and would like to know if anyone has any helpful information? We have been charged $6000.00 for an inspection with no counterfeit items being found Documentation requested would have been impossible to produce. This was excepted by the officer in charge ..... understandably counterfeit product has to be illuminated but not at crippling cost to honest trading companies with 40 years of international history?

Yahya Ahmed : Welcome you Capmany help me broker Sarvce CET Complete Address Delivery home?

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