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Glossary

Customs Exam

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Your shipment may be selected for a customs exam upon import into the U.S..

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What is a Customs exam? 

A Customs exam is either an X-ray, Tail Gate, or Intensive exam.

How does Customs select shipments for exams?

CBP (Customs Border Protection) selects shipments for examination based on a targeting system that applies a score to each shipment. If the score is over a certain number, it triggers further review and possibly an exam. 

CBP keeps the specifics of the targeting system confidential, but certain factors tend to affect exam selection. For example, first-time importers are inspected at a much higher frequency than importers who have an established record shipping into the country.

Where does Customs get information about my shipment?

CBP collects data from sources including: 

Based on the data and subsequent targeting score CBP may then put a variety of holds on the shipment for further action before it can be released or possibly detained for an X-ray, Tail Gate, or Intensive exam.

Learn More

Related Help Articles

Customs Exams: What to Expect

Types of Customs Holds and Exams: In Detail

Related Glossary Terms

X-Ray Exam 

Tail Gate Exam 

Intensive Exam 

Resources

Cargo Examination - CBP

Automated Targeting System - CBP

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