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What is an Importer of Record?

Learn about what Importer of Record services are, and how they work with your international IT Shipment.

What is an Importer of Record?

When looking to import goods into a country, you’ll need an Importer of Record.

The Importer of Record, generally speaking, is the business entity that is listed on import documentation for customs clearance purposes. If you have an eligible entity in the destination country, it can act as the Importer of Record, or you can hire a third-party Importer of Record provider.

If you hire an Importer of Record provider, they will use their own entity to act as the IOR. They will often also help you manage some aspects of the customs clearance process. This may include:

  • Advising on import regulations for the destination country prior to shipping
  • Calculating duties and taxes for your bill of materials and remitting payment to customs
  • Obtaining all product compliance documentation needed for import
  • Obtaining all applicable permits and licenses based on the nature of the commodity you’re looking to ship
  • Managing customs clearance and ultimately ensuring it proceeds smoothly

FGX provides IOR services and more. We manage all of the above as well as recommend the best route for import, logistical services, insurance, channel management, etc., even when our clients are using their own entity to act as the IOR.

Importer of Record During Customs Clearance

During customs clearance, customs officials will evaluate the Importer of Record as one of the most crucial pieces of information. They want to understand who is importing the equipment, whether or not they have import eligibility, their import history, and other qualifications. In some regions, like Western Europe, countries have fewer eligibility requirements, but others, like South America, have very strict requirements.

The IOR is responsible for listing their entity’s details on the import paperwork but also ensuring that all declarations are correct, duties and taxes are paid, and that the relevant compliance work is completed. If anything goes wrong during the import process, the onus is on the IOR; penalties can include fines, shipment seizures, and a bad “mark” on your entity’s records, which can impact your ability to import in the future.

Because of the complexities and nuances associated with importing internationally, it’s important to have a knowledgeable partner that can manage the entire process on your behalf.

Importer of Record and Technology Hardware

Importing IT hardware has unique challenges because it’s typically classified as a controlled commodity. They typically have HS codes that are subject to different government regulations by local authorities. In many cases, this means that the Importer of Record will need to obtain an import permit prior to customs clearance. Depending on the OEM, type of equipment, and end destination, obtaining an import permit can be a complex and lengthy process.

Additionally, some countries in stricter markets will require you to be an authorized IT importer. This goes beyond just requiring a local entity, and may require you to utilize an IOR provider that has IT import eligibility.

Import eligibility, regulations, and permits can all be further complicated by the high value nature of IT hardware. Shipments exceeding a certain value benchmark (for example, shipments worth more than $10K), are often subject to further customs scrutiny and additional restrictions.

All of the above stipulations can make IT hardware a difficult commodity to manage during the IT logistics process. If you have never shipped internationally before, or are uncertain about the process, using a turnkey logistics service can greatly mitigate the risks of shipping your equipment.

How is FGX Different From IOR Providers?

While FGX offers IOR services, we are not only an IOR provider. FGX acts as a one-stop shop for advising and managing turnkey, door-to-door shipments for IT. Unlike other IOR providers, FGX does not provide our third-party Importer of Record service unless you need it (or prefer to use third party IOR over your own). We will often try to put our clients in a position to act as the IOR themselves, wherever eligible.

*FGX only provides logistics services for IT hardware. We are experts in shipping this unique, high-value, highly regulated commodity.