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How to Import Cosmetics into the U.S. Under FDA Regulations

Importing Cosmetics to the U.S. Under the FDA

Here’s how to generally approach commercial imports to the U.S. for cosmetics for resale. Cosmetics, for the purposes of this section, refer to soap, lotion, shampoo, medical and dental instruments, makeup, or other similar items. 

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulations

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all the commercial imports of cosmetics before they are cleared by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  

This means that the FDA ultimately decides which cosmetics are allowed to come through and which aren’t. So to avoid any delays or issues, make sure you’re totally compliant with the FDA regulations.

In order to import cosmetics to the U.S. for resale, a formal entry must be filed with CBP along with:

  • an entry summary;
  • bill of lading;
  • CBP Form 301; and 
  • either a bill of sale or a commercial invoice.  

This list of documents needs to be submitted within 5 business days of the goods arriving to the CBP by either the importer or their customs broker. 

It is important to note that CBP doesn’t notify you when your goods have arrived. So the earlier you can get the paperwork done, the better. If the papers have not been submitted after 15 business days, the goods are transferred for storage to a General Order warehouse and you’ll be responsible for storage fees as well. If the papers are still not submitted after 60 days in the warehouse, the products will be sold in a public auction. 

Please refer to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule to find Harmonized Tariff codes and duty rates for your products. Chapter 34 covers cosmetics, and Chapter 90 covers medical instruments and tools. 


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