Background

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has issued a final rule that, effective July 31, will update its regulations concerning the customs broker’s license examination by transitioning to an automated exam, increasing the exam fee, and adjusting the dates of the exam.

A person (an individual, corporation, association, or partnership) must hold a valid broker’s license and permit to transact customs business on behalf of others. An exam may be conducted to assess an applicant’s qualifications for a license. 19 CFR part 111 sets forth the regulations regarding broker licensing and permitting, the qualifications required of applicants, and the procedures for applying, including exam procedures and requirements.

To modernize these regulations CBP is making the following changes.

- removing references to a “written” exam to accommodate the April 2017 transition to electronic exams, which are now held at private testing centers and administered by professional proctors

- removing the requirement for exams to be graded by CBP to permit officials at the Office of Personnel Management or OPM contractors to grade exams

- changing the dates of the exam from the first Monday to the fourth Wednesday (not Monday, as proposed) in April and October to provide greater predictability in years where federal budgets are uncertain

- publishing additional notice of each exam on the CBP website to increase transparency and the availability of exam information

- increasing the exam fee from $200 to $390 to recover the costs associated with administering the exam

- directing applicants who fail to appear for an exam to the Broker Management Branch within the Office of Trade instead of the port director

- directing applicants wishing to appeal a failing exam grade to the Broker Management Branch instead of Trade Policy and Programs

CBP is not, however, removing a provision providing for a special exam when a partnership, association, or corporation loses the member or officer with the individual broker’s license required by the regulations. Several commenters requested that CBP retain this provision in case of extenuating circumstances or unforeseen emergencies.

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