Recent Trade & Tariff Perspectives

June 15, 2022  |  Jessica Woltering   Manager U.S. Import Compliance

  aerial view of containers waiting to be loaded 

Customs Forms: Understanding Forms and How to Respond to CBP

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has the authority to issue requests through different Customs Forms (CF) directly to importers with their brokers receiving a courtesy copy. Receiving a Customs Form can be daunting, even for seasoned importers. This article will discuss the most common types of forms issued by CBP to importers to request further information about a specific entry or entries, imported articles, valuation of entries or items, and relationships between parties involved in entry transactions.

Understanding the most common CBP forms

Ensuring that a request is responded to fully and that all supporting documentation or backup is provided within the proper timeframe is critical. When Customs requests further information they are usually looking deeper at something that caught their attention on one entry, or a series of entries, and are gathering additional details to investigate further. It is essential to make sure all information is clear and accurate and that an importer is providing evidence to validate that information.

The most common form issued during the entry process is the CF4647—Notice to Mark and/or Notice to Redeliver.

  • CF4647—Notice to Mark and Redeliver: This form alerts the importer that their imported items have a marking violation and need to be marked to meet regulations before they can be entered into the United States commerce. CBP can choose if they would like to be present during the remarking or if they would like to be provided with a sample or not.

    The CF4647 will tell the importer the issue with the marking, however when coming up with a resolution, it is best practice to send the new marking changes to the CBP officer for review prior to remarking all offending items. If it is not possible or not cost-effective to remark the items, importers have the option to destroy the items under CBP supervision or export the offending items out of the country. The offending items must be brought into compliance within 30 days of the issuance of the CF4647. There may be an option to request an extension with the CBP officer, but extensions are not always granted.

The most common forms CBP issues post entry are CF28—Request for Information and CF29—Notice of Action.

  • CF28—Request for Information: CBP often issues for one entry, but it can also be used to reference a series of entries with the same issue or situation. The CF28 includes general information questions that CBP can choose which they would like responses on. There is a checklist of items CBP can choose from for substantiating proof the importer must provide when answering.

    Importers can always provide additional information if they believe it would be helpful to further assist CBP with an answer. When responding to a CF28, an importer may hear nothing back, which is a best-case scenario. The alternative is receiving a CF29. Importers have 30 days to respond to a CF28 notice.

  • CF29—Notice of Action: This form is normally issued after an importer responds to a CF28 and CBP has found something that needs to be corrected. It could be anything from an HTS number, declaring anti-dumping and/or countervailing duty, or changes in the valuation determined for an entry. There are instances where CBP will send a CF29 without first issuing a CF28.

    If an importer disagrees with a “proposed action” on a CF29, they have 20 days to provide the reasoning in writing to CBP for reviewal and CBP can choose to liquidate with the proposed action in place or change the entry as proposed by the importer. With the “has been taken” action there is no option to petition and the liquidation process will start.

Evolution of office shifts and physical mail

Historically, CBP forms are mailed to importers, and brokers should receive a courtesy copy. However, the mail is not always reliable, and businesses receiving mail in a timely manner has become more unpredictable in the last two years when many companies have fewer employees in the office to receive physical mail.

CBP forms could go unseen, and a request could go unanswered, because of these delays. CBP often understands, and an extension can be requested for additional time to respond, but there is no guarantee an extension will be given. Importers should consider signing up for an ACE account, if they do not already have one, and opting into receiving CBP forms electronically since this is often the most trustworthy option to ensure delivery.

Modernizing CBP forms issuance and responses

CBP has started the modernization of the ACE Portal. With the updates deployed on April 23, 2022, CBP has added the ACE Forms tool. Users will have the ability to respond to and manage CF28, CF29, and CF4647 forms in the new interface. Other changes include:

  • ACE Forms can be accessed through the “Forms Trade Portal” button on the References tab in the legacy ACE Portal area.
  • A “Trade Hotlist,” which should make it easier to view and determine which forms are pending responses and any that are in overdue status.
  • Advanced search functions have been added:
    • Entry number
    • Importer number
    • Form type
    • Port of entry
    • Date of entry
    • Issue data
    • Status
    • Reference or file number
    • MFR/Shipper/Seller
  • Brokers will have the option to opt into electronic courtesy copies of forms via email. The “Mode of Communication” setting must be set to Portal in both the importer and broker ACE accounts. There is also the option of selecting both mail and electronic forms.

CBP has issued a Modernized ACE Portal Quick Reference Guide that provides steps on how to access the ACE Portal Forms area and detailed steps on how to respond to each form, including how to upload documents to the Document Imaging System (DIS).

Using Ace Portal Reports to your advantage

In a recently published CSMS 51852023, it was announced that CBP is building a forms data universe that will contain current and historical data that the ACE Portal canned report titled ES-013—Form 28, 29, 4647 Status Report will pull information from. This report can be run to see all forms that have been issued to an importer, past, and present. The canned report set up by CBP includes:

  • Form type
  • Status of all forms, current, and past
  • Date each form was issued by CBP
  • Date a response is due to CBP
  • Date the form was responded to by the importer

It is important to consider running this report on a regular basis and reviewing the Forms area of ACE to ensure that any issued forms have been received and are being responded to in a timely manner.

Getting started with the ACE Portal

If an importer is not set up with an ACE Portal account, we can assist with getting you on the right track. A recent C.H. Robinson video can help get you set up and leverage the ACE data that you will need. Want to learn more about the ACE Portal? Visit our recent perspective for more informational details.

Once an importer has an account set up, CBP also has many training videos on the different areas of ACE. They have also issued new videos to go along with the modernization changes and additions. C.H. Robinson has experts in the ACE Portal and ACE Reports that can assist with the reports and tools that would be right for each importer.

How can C.H. Robinson help?

In addition to helping in the ACE Portal, we can also support in the process by reviewing responses to a Customs Form prior to it being sent into CBP. While the Customs Forms must be completed and signed by the importer of record, C.H. Robinson can help review the response with the importer and provide any comments or guidance before the response is sent to CBP.

If there are any areas lacking details or proof, we can point these out to an importer as areas that need elaboration. Our employees can also assist with finding bonded warehouses where remarking can be completed and can assist with setting up the move and details with the bonded warehouse—if a CF4647 was issued by CBP. If you would like additional information on ways to modernize your communication with CBP, assistance reviewing any outstanding forms your company may have, or reviewing responses before sending them to CBP, please connect with one of our trade policy experts to learn more.


Our information is compiled from a number of sources that to the best of our knowledge are accurate and correct. It is always the intent of our company to present accurate information. C.H. Robinson accepts no liability or responsibility for the information published herein.

Review recent perspectives

Have trade or tariff related questions?