What is a General Order Warehouse?

Importers bringing merchandise into the United States for consumption must place their goods in a bonded facility while entry is filed with Customs. Goods remaining in a bonded facility for fifteen calendar days without an entry filed will be moved to a Customs approved, GO (General Order) bonded warehouse.

There the goods will remain for six months from the date of import. If after six months, the goods have not been documented and duties/fees paid, they will be sold at auction, donated to charity or retained by the Government. Bonded warehouses must notify Customs of un-entered goods not later than 20 calendar days from the date of arrival in the port of import.

What is a Customs bonded warehouse?

A Customs bonded warehouse is a building or other secured area in which imported dutiable merchandise may be stored, manipulated, or undergo manufacturing operations without payment of duty for up to 5 years from the date of importation.

Upon entry of goods into the warehouse, the warehouse proprietor incurs a liability for the merchandise under a warehouse bond. This liability is generally cancelled when the merchandise is:

  • Exported
  • Withdrawn for supplies to a vessel or aircraft
  • Destroyed under CBP supervisions; or
  • Withdrawn for consumption within the United States after payment of duty.

Advantages of Using a Bonded Warehouse

Duty is not collected until the merchandise is withdrawn for consumption. An importer, therefore, has control over use of his money until the duty is paid upon withdrawal of the merchandise. If no domestic buyer is found for the imported articles, the importer can sell merchandise for exportation, thereby eliminating his obligation to pay duty.

Many items subject to restrictions may or may be stored in a bonded warehouse. Check with the nearest CBP office before assuming that such merchandise may be placed in a bonded warehouse.

Duties owed on articles that have been manipulated are determined at the time of withdrawal from the bonded warehouse.