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What is an Export Declaration?

By Carrieanne Larmore
Updated May 16, 2024
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In the United States, an export declaration is a shipping form that serves the purpose of providing a census record of exported goods and controlling country exports. It is required for all shipments, regardless of the method of transportation. It is obligatory if the value of the shipment exceeds $2,500 US Dollars (USD), requires an export license or is traveling to an embargoed or restricted country. It is important to provide accurate information on this form, as penalties can be severe.

Also known as the Shippers Export Declaration (SED) form, the export declaration form requires the shipper to include the value, weight, quantity, description, destination, Schedule B commodity code, as well as other regulatory information. The export declaration form is 7525-V, and 7513 for in-transit merchandise. This form must be filled out by the individual or business sending the shipment, or by the freight forwarder if the forwarder has the power of attorney.

Completion of this form requires Schedule B classification codes, license number, and export control classification number. Schedule B classification codes are available on the census website or by calling the Census Bureau. A license number and export control classification number are only needed if an export license is required for the exported goods being shipped. The Bureau of Industry and Security or local Export Assistance Center can help in determining if an export license is needed.

Exemptions are available for shipments consisting of personal items, such as when moving abroad or traveling. These exemptions are only for items in the shipment that will not be sold, are not going to an embargoed country, do not require an export license and will not be traveling with a bill of lading. These items should also be valued at less than $2,500 USD. If the shipment is valued at $2,500 USD or higher, but consists of a mixture of commodities with different Schedule B commodity codes, then an export declaration is not required.

Shipments will need the export declaration sent along with them to the exporting carrier. The shipping carrier will present the form to the U.S. Customs Service at the port of export. Liability for compliance is not transferred to the forwarder, so the shipper must complete the form correctly and provide accurate information. It is required for specific countries, including Cuba, Libya and North Korea, as well as to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the former Pacific Trust Territories.

Consequences for providing incorrect information on an export declaration form are severe. For example, it could result in a fine up to $10,000 USD and/or imprisonment. Copies of shipping documents must be held onto for five years for a possible future investigation. It is the obligation of the shipper to have a license, if needed, and a form when required to avoid any possible penalties.

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