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Understanding the Fees You May Encounter When Importing Goods

Uncovering the fees that you may encounter when importing goods.

User fees are determined based on the type of entry (formal or informal) and the mode of transportation (plane, boat, mail) used to bring the goods into the U.S. Two common fees are the Merchandise Processing Fee and the Harbor Maintenance Fee.

Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) 

Formal and informal entries are subject to a MPF. 

For formal entries, the “ad valorem” tax rate is determined by the value of the merchandise. The MPF is 0.3464% of the value of the merchandise, with a minimum charge of $25 and a maximum of $485. The value of the merchandise does not include duties, freight, or insurance charges. 

For informal entries, the MPF is a flat rate. The rate can range between $2 and $9 per shipment. 

Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF) 

Goods imported via ship are subject to a HMF. The fee is 0.125% of the value of goods you’re importing via ship. If your goods are mailed or transported via air, they’re not charged for a HMF. 

Keep in mind: goods traveling on a ship can be charged both an HMF and MPF. 


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