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How will you know when CBP seizes your goods?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | International Trade Litigation |

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can seize any product that appears to violate a customs law. Accordingly, any business owner may deal with CBP at some point.

But how will you know your goods have been seized?

You will receive a direct written notice of seizure

CBP used to publish administrative seizure and forfeiture notices for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper circulating the CBP port and the jurisdiction where the goods had been seized. However, a new rule was passed to amend this regulation. 

This rule allows CBP to send direct written notices to all parties interested in the seizure action within 60 days after the date of seizure. The period for sending the notice can be extended in certain circumstances.

CBP also provides a public notice, which is published on an official government forfeiture website. This way, anyone who didn’t receive the notice gets to learn of the seizure and, in turn, file a claim on time. The direct written notice the department sends usually contains the website posting address and expected dates of publication. 

Goods valued at more than $5,000

If goods valued at more than $5,000 are seized, the CPB will publish the notice in a print medium for three successive weeks. 

The seizure of goods valued at $5,000 or less is typically published on the Department of Justice website for 30 consecutive days and at a custom house nearest to the place of seizure.

Trade/industry publication

When it’s difficult for CBP to identify a vessel owner, it will publish the seizure notice in a trade/industry publication that serves a particular commercial community to find the right party.

Publishing in non-English language

If a particular community has an interest or a connection to a seizure, CPB can publish a notice in a non-English language.

If you receive a notice of seizure from CBP, consider legal guidance to understand the steps to take.