Customs Bond (CB)


Customs Bonds are usually used as guarantee for exemptions of foreign trade duties, taxes and obligations set out under Custom rules and Regulations.


Sender (Principal): Declarant—exporter, importer.

Receiver (Beneficiary/Obligee): Customs administration (Government).

Surety (Guarantor): Insurance company issuing the bond on behalf of the principal.

Legal framework

Customs bonds are subject to diverse regulations worldwide. In the United States, a Customs Import Bond is obligatory for goods exceeding a value of US$2,500, guaranteeing payment of duties, taxes, and fees to Customs & Border Protection (CBP). In France, numerous articles pertain to customs bonds. Each country may have distinct rules governing their use and requirements.


Further research is required to determine the annual global issuance of documents, encompassing both electronic and paper formats. Additionally, in select countries, many importers maintain ongoing customs bonds to facilitate frequent imports.

Key standards

Customs Bonds do not adhere to a universal template; instead, each country’s customs authority typically provides bond wordings.

However, for temporary import and export tax exemptions, the ATA Carnet, recognised by approximately 80 countries and customs territories, serves as a widely accepted form of security.

The ATA Carnet is an international customs document enabling duty-free temporary export and import of non-perishable goods for up to 12 months, replacing other customs paperwork. Apart from the ATA Carnet, there is no standardised document for Customs Bonds in the surety market.


The e-ATA project is an ongoing initiative led by ICC, in cooperation with the WCO, towards the digitalisation of the ATA Carnets (


To enhance the digital adoption of this document, two key factors are needed:

  1. A comprehensive digital repository of relevant guarantee wordings to facilitate the issuance of accurate documentation for various jurisdictions.
  2. Standardisation of requirements across countries and regions to promote consistency in the adoption of digital processes.