So you’re thinking about becoming a customs broker? Huh? Have you lost your mind? Do you even know what a customs broker does? Well, keep on reading.

To begin with, you’ll have a hard time giving yourself a title. Your license might state you as one thing yet the proper regulations will state you as another. You could just shorten it by simply saying you’re in the import/export business, but that’s giving off a broad impression and implying something cryptic about your way of life.

On the other hand, you won’t be the life of the party. Try this at your next social gathering. Introduce yourself as a broker in the import/export field. Watch friends twiddle their thumbs, look out into space and turn the conversation back to them and how hard the economy is. Within a couple of minutes, you’ll see yourself talking about international regulations by quickly tying up their concerns with what you do. Honestly, I now create alternate personas for myself and tell them I act for a living, I’m a sponsored artist, just released prison, or I work in the fast food industry. I know this is misleading but it’s so much fun.

On the other hand, your friends and associates will misunderstand your line of work and begin to ask you for advice or tips centered on investing.

If I’m having a hard time persuading you from your own career path I should still do everything I can to help you understand anyway.

Are you eligible?
Before you even think about becoming a broker, you have to know if you’re even eligible in the first place. The current regulations require that you must:
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Not be employed by the federal government
  • Be of sound moral character
You also have to submit an application to the U.S. Customers and Border Protection, completing an exam and going through an extensive background check. The fee for all of this is only $200. Check out the details for yourself by clicking this link.

Be ready
Some people believe that their experience within an existing brokerage firm is enough to complete the exam. Unfortunately, the test doesn’t care about your system of entry and only about how well you know custom regulations.

Clearly, if you want to be ready, you have to read and, yep, thoroughly understand all the documentation. If you don’t have it in you to do this simple task, save yourself the $200 exam fee and go back to your day job. This is, probably, where most people give up. You will continue to fill in the blank spots of international trade by studying for the exam.

Just like most of the federal regulations, the research will get your adrenaline pumping. Yep, I know it’s a grueling process. To fight the boredom you should stand up and read until you feel like falling asleep. On a lighter note, try to leave little treats within the pages to reward yourself for your hard work.
I would suggest you index your CFR19 and HTSUS materials. It should help you along your way during your test.

If you have the resources, register for a course before you tackle the real exam. The study courses will help you center on key points and will ease your understanding of the regulations.

Go nuts with it
Look at some examples of previous exams along with their answers by visiting this link.
Download everything you can and take the time to test yourself. You might believe four hours is enough to take the practice test, but I guarantee the time will go by in seconds.

The answers to each exam will cover the regulations. Notice how much key areas pop up throughout the exams. You should also notice that the test is organized to see how much you know stuff including, entry, classification and warehouse. If you know the key areas of the test by heart, you should be able to pass the test with ease.

Keep fighting
Although you only need to pass with a score of 75, you may possibly fail on your first try. Never give up. Keep fighting and take the exam again.

After you become a licensed broker, you are part of 10,000+ people who must maintain their status. You’ll start to see that your qualifications will give you credibility with clients, associates and employers, and of course with Customers.

Sure, if this line of work isn’t your thing there’s always real estate…