Importing tea to usa

Importing tea to usa DEFAULT

Under provisions of the U.S. law contained in the U.S. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, importers of food products intended for introduction into U.S. interstate commerce are responsible for ensuring that the products are safe, sanitary, and labeled according to U.S. requirements. (All imported food is considered to be interstate commerce.)

FDA is not authorized under the law to approve, certify, license, or otherwise sanction individual food importers, products, labels, or shipments. Importers can import foods into the United States without prior sanction by FDA, as long as the facilities that produce, store, or otherwise handle the products are registered with FDA, and prior notice of incoming shipments is provided to FDA.

Imported food products are subject to FDA inspection when offered for import at U.S. ports of entry. FDA may detain shipments of products offered for import if the shipments are found not to be in compliance with U.S. requirements. Both imported and domestically-produced foods must meet the same legal requirements in the United States.

Procedures and Requirements for Importing Food Products

In addition to meeting the requirements of U.S. food regulations including food facility registration, importers must follow U.S. import procedures as well as the requirements of Prior Notice.

Importing Food Gifts for Personal Use

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Resources

Related Programs


How do I legally import tea and coffee into the USA


Hi there David,

I hope that this response hasn’t come too late and is still of some use. For the US the organisation to get in touch with in the first instance would be the FDA. Have had to presume a number of things so please feel free to extend a little more info that might help me to get a better understanding of your current situation.

I have a feeling that the FDA require notification of the goods coming in prior to them leaving the country of export but that this is a form you can fill in yourself through their website but beyond that I’m not too sure what they may require in relation to your products (this in in addition to standard ISF filing for goods being exported to USA).

You may also need to appoint a broker/agent to help you import the goods if you haven’t done so already by completing a POA (Power of Attorney). I suppose this will depend on who or which company is physically going to be the ‘importer’ of the goods. Are you selling these goods to a company registered in the US? Or are you literally just shipping them there for distribution?

To export from the UK, I think you will need a Phytosanitary certificate in addition to the ordinary export documentation (importing in to the UK comes with a number of additional controls).

The domestic organisations that might be of help for information or pointing you in the right direction would include HMRC, DEFRA and the Forestry Commission.

Kind regards,


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Importing tea, coffee and spices for commercial purposes


Imports of tea, coffee, and spices are subject to review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and their admissibility is determined by the FDA. You may want to contact the FDA to obtain instructions on how to label the products (i.e., ingredients, nutrition, content etc.) at 1-888-723-3366. Contact FDA.

All commercial imports of food products require the filing ofPrior Noticewith FDA, and foreign manufacturers and/or distributers of food products must register with the FDA before their goods may be admitted.

There are no restrictions or quotas on coffee, tea, and spices whether bottled, brewed or packaged, which means there is no limit to the amount you can import into the U.S. However, some products which contain these items may be subject to some restrictions or special duties (e.g. sauces, syrups, soups etc.). If you are importing any of those products, you may want to consult with anImport Specialist at your local port of entry.

You should also reference three publications "Importing Into the United States", "Marking of Country of Origin", and "The Harmonized Tariff Schedule".

Countries that have normal trade relations status with the United States are eligible for the duty rates in COLUMN One, unless there is an international trade agreement that provides for duty-free entry of your goods if they are from a country covered by such an agreement. (i.e. GSP, etc.) Special rates of duty are indicated in the column to the right of column one, and are indicated by various codes. For instance, GSP eligibility is indicated by "A." For more information on such agreements, please see our International Agreements section.

Duty is assessed on the price paid for the goods, which does not include freight and insurance charges. If you need assistance determining the appropriate harmonized codes or duty rates, an Import Specialist can assist you with that as well. 


Importing into the United States

How to Import Tea to the U.S. For Resale

Importing tea into the U.S. is a process which requires strict attention to detail and a full awareness of the rules surrounding customs clearance. This deep understanding is necessary because tea is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and must abide by its strict importing rules.

In order to import tea into the U.S. for resale, importers need to comply with several FDA and CBP requirements. These include filing prior notice with the FDA, ensuring the tea being imported is sourced from FDA registered facilities, and submitting all required CBP documentation. Because of the strict regulations and amount of work involved, it’s highly recommended to partner with a Licensed Customs Broker when importing tea into the U.S.

In our guide below, we cover all of the requirements you’ll need to know when importing tea. We also cover how a Licensed Customs Broker can save you time, money, and ensure your tea is safely imported into the U.S. 

If you already have a shipment of tea scheduled to arrive in the U.S. and need customs clearance services, go to our customs brokerage services page and request a quote. One of our import experts will quickly respond and provide you with a quote to clear your shipment.

Comply With FDA Requirements

Comply WIth FDA Requirements

First and foremost, if you want to import tea into the United States, you will need to ensure that you are in full compliance with the regulations laid out by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA. This is because the FDA has oversight of the legal importation of food and food products into the country.

Failure to comply with any FDA requirements that you are obliged to observe can result not only in fines, but also in the seizure of your goods, and the suspension of your import privileges altogether.

Of course, the last thing you would want would be for your goods to be seized at the port of entry and for your ability to engage in effective international trade to be severely impaired, purely as a result of a technical or procedural oversight.

Here are some things you have to do to comply with FDA requirements.

FDA Facility Registration

According to FDA regulations, all Food Facilities need to register with the department and must agree to give advance notice of shipments of imported food due to be brought into the country.

This is due to the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (the Bioterrorism Act), which is focused on preventing attacks on the U.S. food supply, as well as protecting the food supply against other problems.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which came into effect on January 4, 2011, brings in some additional standards. According to this amendment, facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food intended for consumption in the U.S., also need to submit further details.

This additional information includes an assurance that the FDA will be allowed to inspect the facilities as and when required by the legislation, and can suspend the registration of a facility on suspicion of potential adverse health consequences associated with its goods. Facilities will need to renew their FDA registration every other year.

Upon importation into the U.S., FDA and CBP agents will verify that the regulated goods being imported have been manufactured, processed, and packed in FDA registered facilities. 

File Prior Notice

You will need to provide prior notice for all foods intended for human or animal consumption, which you intend to import into the country. This is in line with Title 21 Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR), Part 1, Subpart I.

There are two ways to give prior notice:

  • By submitting notice to the FDA through the current interface between the CBP and FDA, using the Automated Broker Interface of the Automated Commercial Environment(ABI/ACE)
  • By using the Prior Notice System Interface (PNSI), for anyone who doesn’t need to make a full CBP entry when they file the prior notice, including for shipments through international mail.

Both of these systems require users to create and register an account and learn how to submit the necessary information. Most Licensed Customs Brokers, including ours at USA Customs Clearance, already have access to these system and can submit the Prior Notice on your behalf. 

Work with a specialist to make importing and exporting to the USA a hassle-free process.

Get the details you need with our import consulting services.

Consult With An Expert >

Labeling Requirements

In order to be legally resold in the U.S., import food and food products must also be appropriately labeled in order to appease FDA regulations. 

The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA), which amended the FD&C Act, dictates specific labelling requirements. However, regulations are frequently changed, and it’s the responsibility of the members of the food industry to keep themselves informed of the latest developments.

All new regulations are published in the Federal Register (FR) before coming into effect. These new regulations are compiled yearly in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Answers to common labelling questions can be found at 

Needless to say, importing FDA regulated goods is complicated. For more on this topic, check out our article on FDA Customs Clearance

Establish the Incoterms For Your Shipment

Establish the Incoterms For Your Shipment

Incoterms ® (short for “International Commerce Terms”) are mutually agreed conditions for the international shipping of commercial goods, and are published and managed by The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

Each rule within the Incoterms outlines specific obligations and responsibilities for international buyers and sellers.

The Purpose and Importance of Incoterms

The main purpose of Incoterms is to create a coherent and consistent framework of responsibilities and obligations for international trade, with an emphasis on:

  • Who is responsible for paying for the goods to be shipped
  • When the goods switch from being the property of one party to another
  • Which party has the responsibility for handling different phases of the transport
  • Who is liable for insurance fees
  • Which party has the responsibility of paying for import duties and fees

Since Incoterms are agreed to by both the buyer and seller prior to an international shipment taking place, the terms help to guarantee a concrete understanding of the agreement, and result in a vastly smoother overall process. A process that is ideally free from dispute, bottlenecks, or legal complications.

If goods are damaged in transit, for example, the Incoterms come into play and clearly delineate who is responsible for covering the cost, with coverage either coming from direct reimbursement from either party, or from cargo insurance provided by one party.

The Different Types of Incoterms

There are 11 unique rules in total contained in the 2010 Incoterms, which cover various trade terms. Of the 11 rules, 7 can be applied to any form of transportation, while 4 specifically apply to transportation by ship.

Here is a quick summary of the 7 types of Incoterms that can be applied to any transportation method:

  • EXW- Ex Works: Terms that are particularly seller-friendly, due to the fact that the buyer bears the responsibility for all of the costs of the shipment and any hazards. With these terms, the seller only bears the obligation of making sure the goods are available to be collected at the destination of origin.
  • FCA- Free Carrier: Fairly similar to EXW, with the difference being that this rule is favorable to sellers. With this rule, the seller only has the responsibility of transporting the goods to the carrier. Once the goods are with the first carrier, the rest of the shipment is the responsibility of the buyer.
  • CPT- Carriage Paid to: This agreement contains joint responsibilities pertaining to both the shipment and the goods. With these terms, the seller pays for the shipment from its point of origin to a pre-agreed terminal, before being moved on to its ultimate destination. At the same time, though, the ownership of the goods and the risk of loss transfer from the seller to the buyer once the goods are loaded at the origin point. 
  • CIP- Carriage and Insurance Paid to: These terms are very close to the CPT terms, but in this case, the seller is also responsible for covering insurance costs during the shipping process. With these terms, the buyer still maintains the risk throughout the entirety of the shipping process.
  • DAT- Delivered At Terminal / DPU- Delivered At Place Unloaded*: With these terms, the goods are considered to have been delivered when they have reached the buyer’s terminal. Up until they arrive at the buyer’s terminal, all responsibility for the shipment including costs, risks, and insurance fall on the seller. 

*In Incoterms ® 2020, the label of DPU (Delivered At Place Unloaded) has replaced DAT.

  • DAP- Delivered At Place: The DAP terms are particularly favourable to the buyer, since the seller bears responsibility for the entirety of the journey, including its final stretch from the terminal to the point of destination. 
  • DDP- Delivered Duty Paid: These extend the DAP conditions by a further degree. With these terms, in addition to bearing responsibility for the whole journey, the seller also pays any duties that are connected to the shipment.

Here is a summary of the remaining 4 types of Incoterms which apply specifically to shipping:

  • FAS- Free Alongside Ship: With these terms, the costs and risks shift over from the seller to the buyer at the point when the goods have been delivered to the port where they are set to be packed onto a ship. 
  • FOB- Free On Board: These terms differ only slightly from the FAS terms. With the FOB terms, the responsibility is essentially split 50/50. The seller assumes responsibility for the costs and risks up until the goods have been packed onto the ship at the departure port. Once the goods have made it to the buyer’s arrival port, all responsibilities shift to the buyer.
  • CFR- Cost and Freight: The CFR terms slightly expand the responsibilities for the seller passed the FOB conditions. With the terms of CFR, the seller pays for the cost of the shipment up until the goods have reached the destination port and have been offloaded.
  • CIF- Cost, Insurance, and Freight: The only difference between these terms and the CFR terms is that the seller covers the cost of insurance, too, up to the point where the goods are offloaded at their destination port.

It is important to be aware of the specific details of the various terms, so that you can choose the terms that are best suited to your particular situation.

Are Incoterms Obligatory?

Incoterms are not legally required for the international transport of goods, however it is highly advisable that you do choose and utilise Incoterms for your shipment. Incoterms significantly reduce the potential for complications, legal disputes, and grey areas which result in undesirable outcomes.

To learn more about Incoterms, take a look at our What Are Incoterms article.

Properly Classify Your Tea

Properly Classify Your Tea

There are a variety of different HTS codes associated with different types of tea, such as green, black, organic, flavoured, and so on. It’s very important to have all the tea you are planning to transport classified by a Licensed Customs Broker, in order to ensure that the right HTS codes are assigned. 

This is necessary to avoid additional inspections by CBP agents, which will come at an additional cost to the importer, in addition to introducing delays to the shipping process. Additionally, different HTS codes come with varying percentages of import duties. Simply put, you need to have your tea properly classified if you want to have a streamlined, timely, and cost-effective experience while importing your goods.

Work with a specialist to make importing and exporting to the USA a hassle-free process.

Get the details you need with our import consulting services.

Consult With An Expert >

Arrange For Domestic Transportation & Warehousing

If you plan to import tea to the U.S. for resale, you might fall into the trap of focusing all of your attention on the process of sourcing your tea and getting it passed through customs successfully. But that isn’t where the journey ends.

Once your tea has arrived in the country and has successfully cleared through U.S. Customs, it will still need to be properly transported, warehoused, and conveyed to the outlets that will be responsible for selling it on.

Through our sister company R+L Global Logistics, we can handle all of these needs along with the customs clearance portion. This ensures a smooth transition through each phase of the logistics and supply chain journey. 

File Required Import Documents

Successfully importing tea, or any other good to the U.S. inevitably requires filling in a good deal of paperwork.

Listed below are the essential documents that you will be required to fill in and provide, in order to clear customs:

Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice includes vital and detailed information about the products you are shipping, including:

  • The manufacturer
  • Points of origin and destination
  • Relevant HTS codes
  • Type of packaging
  • Description of goods
  • Shipping information
  • Date and Terms of Sale

The main role of the commercial invoice is to calculate tariffs.

When importing to the U.S., you must be careful to to include all the relevant information on your form in order to clear customs at the U.S. Port of Entry.

Packing List

Your packing list serves to confirm the cargo you are transporting, and to also give information about the type of packaging being used, such as a box, crate, drum, or carton.

For the most part, however, the information on your packing list should be the same as the information on your invoice, and should correspond directly to it. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that while the documents complement each other, the packing list is not a substitute for a commercial invoice.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

A Bill of Lading (BOL) is the specific document that is presented by the carrier to the party responsible for shipping the goods, and provides a tracking number for your freight, in addition to international shipping details.

The BOL is vitally important for exporters to receive payment, and for importers to receive their goods. If anything were to happen to your cargo resulting in damage, loss of goods, or shipping delays, the BOL would be required for compensation.

Arrival Notice

The arrival notice is provided by the carrier once successful entry to the U.S. has been achieved. Upon receipt of the arrival notice, a manifest query is carried out in order to review the Automated Manifest Status (AMS) and the facility location of the cargo, so that the detailed transmission that is sent to customs can be validated.

The arrival notice should not be considered to be the same thing as a release document. It just confirms that the consignee now has the required details to make customs clearance and to arrange for pickup of the goods. The fastest way to get through this part of the process is to hire a customs broker.

ISF Filing for Shipping Products via Ocean

In addition to the documents outlined above, the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Is also required for the import of products shipped via ocean, to reduce the risk of smuggling.

The deadline for ISF Filing is 24 hours before goods are packed onto a ship heading for the U.S. This deadline is enforced by the CBP, and missing it can result in financial penalties, delayed cargo, and further inspections.

The ISF Filing information must be submitted electronically to the CBP prior to the deadline, and consists of the following 10 bits of information:

  • Seller
  • Buyer
  • Importer or record number or FTZ applicant identification number
  • Consignee number
  • Manufacturer or supplier 
  • Ship to party
  • Country of Origin 
  • Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States number (HTSUS) 
  • Container stuffing location 
  • Consolidator

If you need help submitting the ISF Filing, our team is here to help you. Even if your goods have already left the foreign port of departure, we can work with you to get the filing submitted in order to avoid any fines or delays. 

Secure a Customs Bond

Secure a Customs Bond

If you’re new to the world of importing, eventually you’re going to hear about a customs bond. Along with the required import documents discussed above, a customs bond is one of the most crucial elements when it comes to importing. A customs bond is a document that acts as a guarantee to CBP that duties and fees associated with an import will be paid. CBP requires a customs bond for all commercial imports at $2,500 or more, as well as shipments containing goods subject to requirements of Partner Government Agencies.

In the case of tea, because it’s subject to FDA regulations, a customs bond is always required. Tea imports that aren’t covered by a customs bond will be detained until a bond is acquired and attached to the shipment.

There are two types of standard customs import bonds- single entry and continuous. Single entry bonds are used to cover one-time import shipments. As you might expect, continuous bonds, also known as annual bonds, cover all import shipments for one year from the effective date. The decision of which type of customs import bond to obtain comes down to how often you’re going to import goods into the U.S. If you’re going to have multiple imports into the U.S. within a year, a continuous bond is the best choice. One-time import should opt for a single entry bond. 

At USA Customs Clearance, we specialize in offering continuous customs bonds for just $245. This affordable rate allows you to import goods without breaking the bank. Additionally, our hassle-free application and purchase process ensures you’ll get your bond quickly and without frustrating challenges along the way. 

Get Help Importing Tea to the U.S.

Clearly, there are a lot of important details to keep track of when you are importing tea to the U.S. Any mistake or oversight can result in a wide range of frustrating issues including fines, shipping delays and missed deadlines. To avoid these pitfalls and more, USA Customs Clearance is here to help you.

Our team of experienced Licensed Customs Brokers have the answers you need to all of your importing questions. Regardless of whether you’re brand new to importing or come with some experience, our service is tailored to your level. Even better, thanks to our sister company R+L Global Logistics, we can handle all of your logistics needs.

Our supply chain services include:

  • Domestic and international transportation
  • Warehousing
  • Order fulfillment
  • Intermodal 
  • Temperature controlled warehousing and transportation
  • And more 

When you’re ready to begin importing tea into the U.S. consulting with our Licensed Customs Brokers to get the guidance and support you need. 

Work with a specialist to make importing and exporting to the USA a hassle-free process.

Get the details you need with our import consulting services.

Consult With An Expert >


To usa tea importing

Tea is getting more and more popular in America, according to the statistics published by Tea Association of USA, so it’s a good time to jump into the tea business. There are so many teas available. You can buy tea from a domestic wholesaler or from the origin directly for some real benefits. Although it’s a little complex to deal with importing business, here is some guidance to help you make the task easier.


There is no import license, customs duty or VAT (value added tax) needed for tea importation. All you have to do is register with the FDA and make sure the imported teas meet the food regulations. It’s best to hire a forwarding agency and customs broker or it will be a time- and energy-consuming job.

Be aware of the Prior Notice to FDA before shipment: there is a “US BORDER CUSTOMS & PROTECTION ISF REQUIRED INFORMATION” form that needs to be filled out.

The Chinese tea supplier should offer you the documents for customs clearance, such as the commercial invoice and packing list.

You can avoid most of this paperwork if you just order a small quantity. (More detailed information can be found in Appendix I: Avoiding complicated paperwork on small tea orders.)

1. Form a company

Forming a business is the first step to be a tea importer. In the United States, the form of tea business typically depends on state law; it is best to consult your accountant or tax attorney.

Taking on a corporate form or any other form requires filings with the state authorities and it’s best to register your trade name with local authorities for protection.

2. Register with FDA as an importer

According to the the Bioterrorism Act, any facilities engaged in manufacturing, processing, or holding food for consumption in the United States should be registered with the FDA.

Here is an online registration instruction for registering as a tea importer once you login the FDA Industry System. Your supplier should be registered here as well.

3. Sign a contract with Chinese tea supplier

There are many good teas and tea suppliers in China. (There are some tips in Appendix II: Finding the right Chinese tea supplier.) Once you confirm the teas you want and all the terms with the supplier, you can sign a formal contract. or more commonly, use a Proforma Invoice (P/I).

In China, the supplier should meet 2 requirements for tea exporting: the first is the tea should come from a government registered plantation; the second is to get a phytosanitary certificate from the CIQ, or your teas will not have the rights to be inspected.

The HTS (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) for tea is 0902. Green tea is 090210, black tea is 090230. (There is no specific code for Oolong and Puerh because the U.S. Customs considers Oolong and Puerh tea leaves to be fermented or partially-fermented black tea(090240)).

There is a detailed reply from U.S. Customs and Border Protection - The tariff classification of Green, White, Oolong and Black Tea from China

Normally, tea itself is duty-free under the United States HTS. However, imported tea loses duty-free status when it is merely an additive to another beverage or dietary supplement.

The supplier should provide you the packing list and invoice for Customs clearance.

4. Third party certification required by FDA

According to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), all food importing (including tea) must offer a third party testing to ensure the foreign food facilities comply with U.S. food safety standards. SGS, Eurofins could be your choice of analysis lab.

5. Prior notice to FDA before shipping and ISF(10+2)

Pursuant to the Bioterrorism Act, tea importers/supplier are required to give the FDA advance notice of shipments before import into the USA. Here is the step–by-step guide for Prior Notice. You can do it by yourself or provide your Registration Number and let your supplier do it for you.

And under the new rule, before merchandise arriving by vessel can be imported into the United States, the “Importer Security Filing (ISF) Importer,” or their agent must electronically submit certain advance cargo information to CBP in the form of an Importer Security Filing. This requirement only applies to cargo arriving in the United States by ocean vessel; it does not apply to cargo arriving by other modes of transportation.

Entities that want to become Importer Security Filing filers using either AMS or ABI should call 571-468-5500 to be assigned a Client Representative.

6. Hire a broker to do Customs Clearance

International trade business can be pretty complicated, especially with Customs. You will lose if you are not familiar with what the Customs regulations, so it’s better to hire a Customs broker. Sometimes the broker can be a forwarding agency too, that also can do the Prior Notice for you.

You can also choose “DDP” terms, which means the supplier will offer you a door-to-door price. In this case, all you need to do is pay one sum directly to your Chinese supplier. It will take care of everything including shipping, insurance, and Customs clearance and deliver the teas to your warehouse. That’s the easiest way for you.

7. Get your tea and enjoy it

Once you get the tea and prepare to sell it, you should be sure your label meet the labeling regulation.


While the regular postal service will save you some money, it takes a longer time. The EMS will cost more, but it only takes about five days to receive the shipment. Normally a professional exporter gets a big discount from EMS.

Be sure to remind the shipper to mark the tea as tea gift or sample and claim the value under 200 USD.

You also can search for suppliers on the internet. Sure, it’s convenient although you’d better double check the information you find.

Or you can email to the author - Mr. Daniel Hong who is an expert of China tea as well as tea tour organizer, the company he founded -Hong China Tea Company- can help you with the exporting and logistics.

You can make a trial order to test the supplier and all procedures. Any questions, ask in the tea forum like Linkedin groups - Tea Enthusiasts and Entrepreneurs. Most of the tea men are quite willing to help others.

Import Export License

Fast Customs Clearance

Tea demand in the USA is rising in recent years. The United States ranked top tea imported country of value $488.4 million in 2019. Global purchased of imported tea value at $5.7 billion. Tea importation is regulated by U.S. Customs and Border of Protection (CBP), and the FDA. There is no restriction on the importation but the proper filing of the documents to these governments is critical to import the goods into the U.S. We will guide you on how to clear tea into the U.S.

There is no import license required to import tea into the U.S. but the importation of tea into the U.S. of commerce requires importers to comply with FDA and CBP regulation.FDA foresees any food products including teas importing into the USA that meets FDA standards, such as prior FDA filing, proper labeling of detailed commodity, manufacture information, and Country of Origin.CBP foresees varies of things such as make sure goods are properly classified HTS code, for tea harmonized tariff schedule code (0902), all documents filed and collect a correct duty of the merchants. Failure to comply with FDA and CBP regulation may result in a fine or rejection of the shipment. We recommend consulting with a licensed customs broker to assist with your importation.

Requirements for importing tea into the U.S.

  1. FDA registration of food facilities – According to FDA regulation, all foreign food facilities are required to register their facility with FDA if they are importing foods and food products into the U.S.

  2. Prior notice filing – Prior notice filing assurance FDA to have enough time to prepare inspection upon cargo arrival if needed.

  3. Commercial invoice and packing list –Description of the commodities, quantities, and values.

  4. Bill of lading – Document that contains shipping detail of the goods

  5. Labeling – This should include country of origin, supplier or manufacture information, and also nutrition labeling.

  6. ISF filing – Shipments importing to the U.S. by sea will require ISF filing 24 hours before shipment departure from the last foreign port

  7. Certificate of Origin – This document can minimize MPF if the origin country has a trade agreement with the U.S.

Tea import for personal use

According to USDA, Travelers are permitted to bring without restriction any quantity of products composed solely often leaves (Camellia sinensis: includes black tea, green tea, oolong, dark tea, white tea, yellow tea). As with all agricultural products, you must declare the product at entry. Goods value over $2,500.00 will require filing formal entry with CBP at the time of entry.

Top Importer countries of tea in 2019

United States – $488.4 million

Russia - $425.7 million

United Kingdom – $356.5 million

Saudi Arabia - $236.6 million

Iran – $234.1 million

Top exporter countries of tea in 2019

China – $2.03 billion

Kenya - $1.11 billion

India – $813.75 million

Poland – $255.21 million

Germany – 250.12 million

Is there a tariff duty to import tea?

No, tea is duty-free. However, customs collect MPF and HMF.

MPF is 0.3464% x value of the goods (min: $27.23, Max:528.33) collected by CBP.

HMF is 0.125$ x value of the goods collected by CBP.

Need a hand?

We are a full-service customs brokerage firm that can help you clear your goods through customs faster and seamlessly.

Contact us below for free consultation: Fast Customs Clearance

Email: [email protected]


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