Importer of Record Services

Struggling with the import of high-value goods? Ease your import process with our importer of record services. Our team handles compliance in customs, timely payment of taxes, and many more

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Overview of Importer of Record

An Importer of Record (IOR) is an entity or individual who acts on behalf of a company as the officially recognized legal entity responsible for ensuring that imported goods comply with the destination country's local laws and regulations. The IOR is accountable for the proper documentation, payment of duties and taxes, and adherence to import policies.

The Customs and Border Protection created the importer of record under the Customs Modernization Act of 1993 to scrutinize imports and exports thoroughly to prevent any terrorist acts and to ensure the payment of duty on imports and exports. The IOR can be the owner of the goods, the consignee or a third-party service designated to manage the importation process. By acting as the legal entity on record with customs authorities.

What is the meaning of Importer of Record (IOR)?

The Importer of Record can be the owner, purchaser, or a designated services provider. Many governments consider it the official entity responsible for imported goods. It ensures proper documentation, valuation, and inspection of goods, thereby minimizing the risk of international or domestic compliance violation.

What are the benefits of Importer of Record Services?

Below are some of the key benefits of Importer of Record services in importing goods and services domestically and globally to simplify imports for businesses.

1.Management of Tax and Duty

Accurate calculation and timely payment of all applicable taxes and duties help reduce financial risks and delays in import businesses.

2.Streamline Customs Compliance

The experts handle all customs regulations and documentation, ensuring a smooth and efficient clearance.

3.Regulatory Expertise

The expert's in-depth knowledge of local and international trade regulations helps avoid costly penalties and ensure legal compliance.

4.Lessen Administrative Burden

Outsourcing administrative tasks related to importing allows the business to focus on core business activities.

5.Streamline Logistics

The coordinated logistic support simplifies the import process, from shipping to financial delivery.

6.Cost Saving

The IOR services avoid hidden costs and inefficiencies with transparent pricing and efficient process management.


Expertise in managing imports across various countries and facilitating global trade expansion.

8.Management of Inventory and Shipping

The effective tracking and management of imported goods ensures timely availability and reduced stockouts. It also handles all logistic or shipping-related areas in imports.

9.Preparation of Documents

The importer of record services can assist with the submission and preparation of all relevant documents.

Market Trends and Innovation of the Importer of Record in Future

Emerging technology trends are continuously transforming and reshaping the global economy and international trade by developing security and transparency and embracing import and export operations. The future of the Importer of Record is set to be deeply influenced by technological advancement and emerging market trends, leading to innovation in the industry.

AI and machine learning are transforming supply chain optimization, achieving 60 to 90% accuracy in automatically identifying products for Harmonized System (HS) code classification, reducing human error, and enhancing compliance. Blockchain technology is transforming trade financing.

The adoption of cryptocurrencies for cross-border payments is on the rise. There were over 420 million crypto users worldwide in 2023, and the market is projected to grow at a 56.4% CAGR through 2025. The digital trading platform is expanding to grow at an 11.9% CAGR between 2023 and 2030.

IoT technology is enhancing shipment tracking, providing real-time data on goods condition and security, improving traceability, and ensuring faster delivery times, which is driving up IOR for businesses.

Revenue Growth in Imports in India

For the financial year 2022-2023, total imports in India grew by 17.38% over the previous fiscal years, which indicated robust domestic demand among global economic challenges. Imports for services grew 21.03% over the financial year 2021-22. A mid-sized company importing electronics might save up to 15% on total import costs through optimized duty and tax handling.

Who can apply for Importer of Record Services?

Choosing an IOR involves understanding the role and responsibilities. The IOR must clarify the ownership of goods during import, which impacts who pays customs duties and taxes and who assumes import risks. It is available to a wide range of entities involved in import, which includes:

1.Businesses and Corporation

Companies of all sizes import goods for commercial use.

2.Foreign Companies

Businesses outside the destination country want to ship products directly to customers or business partners.

3.Logistics and Freights Companies

These companies often act as intermediaries for other businesses, managing the logistics of importing goods.

4.E-commerce Platform

It is an online marketplace and e-commerce platform that sells products internationally.

5.Individuals or Customers

The final owner of the products or the individuals who are importing high-value items or relocating internationally.

Who Qualifies as an Importer of Record?

The Importer of record is the temporary owner of the goods and takes on all associated risks.

  1. Only a local registered entity physically in the destination country can act as the Importer of Record.  
  2. Sometimes, the consignee can serve as the Importer of record.
  3. For complex transactions, a licensed custom broker and an importer of record services provider act as an importer of record.

Importer of Record Responsibilities and Roles

An Importer of Record has several key roles and responsibilities in the international shipping and supply chain. Its important responsibility is to ensure the legal and efficient import of goods.

  1. The IOR ensures that imports goods comply with the customs regulations of the destination country.
  2. IOR is responsible for obtaining any necessary import licenses and permits required for import goods.
  3. IOR ensures that the imported products meet the destination country's regulatory requirements, including safety standards, labelling and packaging laws.
  4. Assessing and calculating duties on imports based on their value and classification.
  5. Providing and securing payments for all duties, fees and taxes on imported goods, such as import VAT, excise duties and other levies.
  6. Ensuring all imported goods have the correct entry documents, including CBP form 7501, the entry summary, commercial invoices, packaging list, bill of lading, etc.
  7. Obtaining necessary authorization, certification or licenses for imports.
  8. Compliance with all local, state and federal regulations regarding imported goods.
  9. Making an accurate customs declaration, including details on the shipment’s value and country of origin.
  10. Excising power of attorney when needed to act on behalf of the importer.
  11. Necessary for managing tariffs and consulting tariff database.
  12. Preparing for and accommodating audits and inspections by Customs and Border Protection agents.
  13. Maintaining all import records of all import transactions as per the requirements accurately.
  14. Securing custom bond documents for all imported goods to ensure compliance, financial guarantee, payment of duties, and compliance with regulations.

Essential Documents in Importer of Record

Using Importer of Record services involves managing various documents to ensure compliance with customs regulations and smooth clearance of goods. However, the primary documents include:

  • Classification Details of Import Products
  • Harmonized system code for product classification codes
  • Import License or permission documents by the government
  • Permits of Imports
  • Paperwork associated with paying the necessary fees, duties and taxes.
  • Bills of lading
  • Receipts of the Transporation documents
  • Custom Declaration form submitted to custom authorities
  • Certificate of Origin of the goods
  • A custom bond is required in some countries to ensure the payment of duties, taxes and fees,
  • The regulatory and compliance documents must meet specific regulations, such as those regarding health and safety certification and environmental compliance.
  • Every country may have unique document requirements based on local regulations and import laws.

Import Process with an Importer of Record

The process of performing importer of record services involves several important steps to ensure compliance with customs regulations and successful importation of goods. Below is a detailed breakdown of the process:

1.Initial Agreement and Consultation

The IOR services provider assesses the importer's specific needs, including the nature of goods, etc., and a formal agreement outlining the scope and services is established between the importer and services providers.

2.Preparation of Documents

The IOR services provider collects all required documents, including commercial invoices, packaging lists, certification of origin and any specific permits and licenses needed for imported goods.

3.Verification of Compliance

The Importer of the record services provider ensures that the goods comply with the destination country's relevant regulations and standards and reviews the documents for accuracy and completion of proper compliance to minimize delays.

4.Custom Clearances

The IOR services providers connect with the customs authorities, respond to queries, provide information, and physically inspect the goods.

5.Transportation Arrangements

Once the customs clearance is obtained, the goods are released for entry into the destination country, and the importer of record services providers arranges for the transportation and delivery of the goods to the destination.

Compliance and Legal Framework for Importer of Record

The compliance and legal framework for an importer of the record involves adherence to various regulations and laws governing the importation of goods into a destination or country. Below are some of the regulations which need to be kept in mind such as:

1.Customs Laws

The importer must comply with the customs laws specific to the country where they are importing the goods, which will indicate the import duties, tariffs and taxes imposed on the importing goods.

2.Licensing and Permits

Certain goods require licenses or permits for the importation process, especially restricted goods such as hazardous goods, etc.

4.Product Safety and Standards

The importers are responsible for ensuring that imported goods meet safety and quality standards depending on the type of goods.

5.Documents Requirements

The importer must maintain accurate documents related to the importation process, including invoices, bills, licenses, and other required paperwork.

Comparison between the Importer of Record vs Consignee

The importer of record and consignee are the two different aspects of the imports of goods. Let’s discuss below the brief comparison between them:


    Importer of Records


Legal Responsibility 

Legally responsible for compliance with import laws, regulations and duties. 

Not legally responsible for import compliance. 


Handles import documentation and customs clearance. 

May receive goods and handle documentation for delivery. 

Financial Obligation 

Responsible for paying import duties, taxes and fees. 

Not necessarily responsible for financial obligations. 

Role in Import Process 

Initiates import process and manages compliance. 

Receives goods and may handle logistics. 


Needs Importer and exports Code 

It may not require specific import credentials. 

Penalties for Improper Importation of Goods

The Customs Act of 1962 provision outlines penalties for illegal importation based on the severity of the offence. The penalties include:

  • For the forbidden products, the penalty will not exceed the value of the items or Rs 5000/ whichever is higher.
  • For dutiable items, excluding restricted commodities, a penalty equal to or greater than the duty intended to be evaded on those products will be up to Rs 5000/.
  • For goods with inflated declared values, the penalties will be the greater of the value difference or a maximum of Rs 5000/.

Recent Update by the DGFT in Importing of Goods

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade stated that the importer and exporter code (IEC) is an important business identification number essential for both imports and exports. Therefore, the DGFT has made it mandatory that no individual or entity can engage in imports or exports activities without an IEC number.

Fee Structure in Choosing Importer of Record Services

The fees structure encompasses multiple facts of the import process. These charges typically include compliance management, handling or preparing documents, clearance of customs, tax payments, or dealing with licenses and permits.

Time Frame to Conduct an Importer of Record

The time frame required to conduct an importer of record service can vary depending on several factors, such as evaluating the goods, gathering the requirements or relevant documents, fulfilling the paperwork, custom clearances, assessment of the import requirements, obtaining the IEC code, logistic arrangements, inspection or duty payments, etc., and will range from seven days to one month.

Enterslice’s Importer of Record Services for Imports

Enterslice is leading the way by integrating this technological advancement to deliver superior global transportation services, thereby optimizing return on investment and ensuring business continuity for the importers.

1.Compliance and Customs

Enterslice assists imports in complying with the regulations and adherence to all the applicable import laws, customs laws, and trade compliance requirements.

2.Ease the Global Supply Chain

We streamline or ease the global supply chain with our importer of record services, ensuring seamless logistics and compliance for imports.

3.Custom Clearance

Our experts include communicating with the customs authorities to ensure the smooth and timely clearance of imported goods, minimize delays, and avoid penalties.

4.Tax and Duty Management

Enterslice’s Importer of Record Services assists imports in calculating and managing import duties, taxes and other fees to ensure accurate payment and compliance with tax regulations.

5.Support and Advisory

Our experts provide ongoing support and advisory to imports, keeping us informed about changes in imports, tariffs, and compliance requirements.

6.Licenses and Permits

We help businesses or importers obtain the necessary licenses or permits to effortlessly import goods to the destination country.

Frequently Asked Questions

The importer of record's role is to ensure that the imported goods comply with the laws, customs, taxes, and other legal requirements of the particular country.

When selecting an importer of record, consider factors such as experience, track records, reputation, and customer feedback.

Yes. You can use importer of record services in most countries worldwide.

Yes, for most import shipments, the import of record is required to facilitate the shipments and reduce the penalties for non-compliance.

The IOR services bring assurance in compliance, navigate complex customs procedures, ensure legal compliance, and minimize the risk related to importing.

An importer is any entity or individual that brings goods into a country, and an IOR is the entity or individual responsible for ensuring that the imported goods comply with the laws.

It is a designated number assigned to the IOR by US Customs and Border Protection used to identify their entries.

The benefits of the IOR include simplified order processing, cost savings, improved safety and security, etc.

The key difference between an IOR and a consignee is legal liability. Such as the IOR assumes legal responsibility for the imported goods whereas the consignee doesn't have this responsibility.

The IOR directly engages with customs authorities, submits required documentation, and communicates on behalf of the imported goods. On the other hand, custom brokers facilitate only communication between the IOR and customs authorities.

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