Do I Need a License to Import to The United States of America?

Do I Need a License to Import to The United States of America

Do I Need a License to Import to The United States of America?

Importing products is unfortunately not as simple as learning one set of protocols and applying them across the 195 independent countries in the world. In fact, import protocol tends to differ vastly across different continents, meaning what may be common practice when importing to the UK, may be completely different in China. Therefore, over the next few months we will be looking at a range of different information about importing to different countries, and where better to start than the biggest importer in the world — the United States of America.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does not require any license to import; however, you might need a permit from other government agencies dependant on the product or products you are planning on importing.

The United States allows any individual or any company to import. You can import with a federal tax ID number or a social security number but certain products may require an additional license.

An additional license is required when other federal government agencies have an interest in the product you are importing. Federal agencies like the Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).

It is in your best interest to contact the U.S Customs before importing. If you need a license from any other government agency, the U.S. Customs can advise you. U.S. Customs will always check at the time of entry if you need approval from any other government agencies or any other bureau. The goods you are importing will not be released from customs if any other agency has not approved the entry.



The item you are importing might have some form of restriction placed upon it or it might need special documentation or a special marking on the packaging.

Even a simple product you have been importing for many years might not be permitted into the U.S and entry may be denied by local government agencies for a reason you didn’t think of.

Other agencies may require licensing, special documents or permits. Based on the imported products and their use, other federal agencies might need to be notified. The items you are importing might be banned or might have been placed on a restricted list.

Some common items that may require licenses or permits are:

Food products, plant, animal and dairy products, prescription medications, trademarked articles such as name-brand shoes, handbags, luggage, golf clubs and toys, as well as copyrighted material such as CDs, DVDs and tapes.


The most common government agencies you might need a license prior to import:



The FDA is responsible for protecting public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nations food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA also provides accurate, science-based health information to the public.

Main Address:

10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993


1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332)



The Fish and Wildlife Service works to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats.

Main Address:

1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Phone Number:




The Department of Agriculture provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues.

Main Address:

1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Phone Number:



Need Help?

Does all of the above sound a bit worrying? Thankfully, Uneek Group has you covered. At Uneek Group we have unprecedented experience in importing and freight forwarding.

[email protected] / +44 (0) 20 8984 0425

Uneek Forwarding is part of the Uneek Group Ltd

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