This is a customs' lawyer's guide to protesting decisions of U.S. Customs & Border Protection under 19 USC 1514.
Obtain a Protest Form (CBP 19)
While it is not necessary to the success of your protest, Customs (or "CBP") publishes and makes available on its website CBP Form 19 for protesting a decision of the customs service. Any protest should contain this form or a substantial duplication of all the information in the form as well as any additional sheets that may be required in order to give customs appropriate notice of your claim and supporting reasons.
Determine the scope of your protest
In most circumstances, only one protest can be filed for each entry of merchandise unless the entry contains different categories of merchandise, then a separate protest may be filed for each category. Therefore, determine whether each entry you wish to protest contains one or more categories of merchandise and then determine which categories you wish to protest. Complete a separate protest for each category and entry.
Determine the reasons for your protest
Any "decision" of the customs service (CBP) can be protested. Protesting a decision also includes a protest against the legality of orders and findings that led to that decision. A protest is not limited to any particular type of decision. Nevertheless, the most common decisions which are protested are as follows:1) Appraisement (the determination of the dutiable value of the merchandise);2) Classification and rate/amount of duty (e.g., the type or kind of merchandise and/or the rate or amount of duty [tax] imposed);3) All charges or exactions of whatever character;4) Exclusion (when merchandise is refused entry or redelivery is demanded);5) Liquidation or reliquidation (the final reckoning of the entry by customs); 6) Refusal to pay a claim for drawback; and,7) Refusal to reliquidate.You should follow all instructions on CBP Form 19 and should specifically identify the reason or reasons you believe the decision by customs is wrong.
Additional resources provided by the author
Use the links below to learn more about your rights and obligations when importing merchandise into the United States.
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