Under Title 19, section 1467, of the United States Code (19 U.S.C. 1467), CBP has a right to examine any shipment imported into the United States and it is important to know that you, the importer, must bear the cost of such cargo exams. Cleared and delivered in no way can control or defer the costs of these inspections should they occur. Per the CBP regulations, it is the responsibility of the importer to make the goods available for examination—“The importer shall bear any expense involved in preparing the merchandise for CBP examination and in the closing of packages” (19 C.F.R. 151.6). ( 19 C.F.R. 151.6 ) Household effects are not exempt. No distinction is made between commercial and personal shipments. In the course of normal operations, CBP does not charge for cargo examinations. However, there may still be costs involved for the importer.
For example, if your shipment is selected for examination, it will generally be moved to a Centralized Examination Station (CES) for the CBP exam to take place. A CES is a privately operated facility, not in the charge of a CBP officer, at which merchandise is made available to CBP officers for physical examination. The CES facility will unload (devan) your shipment from its shipping container and will reload it after the exam. The CES will bill you for their services. There are also costs associated with moving the cargo to and from the exam site and with storage. Rates will vary across the country and a complete devanning may cost several hundred dollars.