Continuous Bond

What Is a Continuous Bond?

A continuous bond is a financial guarantee commonly used in international trade that renews automatically until it is canceled. Continuous bonds do not expire as long as the client makes the required payment for each renewal.

This can be contrasted with traditional (term) bonds that feature an expiration or maturity date.

How Continuous Bonds Work

Continuous bonds are used as customs bonds, airport security bonds, importer security filing bonds, and intellectual property rights bonds.

A continuous bond can be used for an annual period and covers the ongoing shipment of imports within that year. There are three parties involved in this bond—the surety company that issues the bond, the principal (importer) who is required to file the bond, and the CBP.

The continuous bond is automatically renewed every year if it is not canceled unless it is terminated by one of the three parties involved. This bond is an option for importers who bring goods into the U.S. on a frequent or regular basis. Furthermore, the bond can be used by multiple customs brokers in cases in which an importer uses different trade brokers in different U.S. markets.         

The opposite of a continuous bond is a term bond, single entry bond, or single transaction bond. A single transaction bond covers only one import shipment. This bond covers only the entry or transaction for which it was written and it is filed at the specific port where the entry will be made. A bond that is not continuous may be renewed using a continuation certificate.

Key Takeaways

  • Continuous bonds are financial agreements with legally binding terms that renew automatically for an unspecified period of time.
  • Continuous bonds are often seen in international trade and commerce, covering ongoing shipments received at ports of entry.
  • The $50,000 continuous import bond is the most common instance found in the United States, which requires up to 10 days to be put in place.

Examples of Continuous Bonds

In the United States, any number of insurance or surety companies may sell continuous bonds under standardized terms established by the government. The Revenue Division of the U.S. CBP agency approves continuous bond submissions. Information stated on the bond and rider (if applicable) should include the bond amount, principal name, importer name, importer number, and CBP-assigned number. The bond can be used at any port of entry.

The $50,000 continuous import bond is the most common in the U.S. and requires up to 10 days to be put in place. The continuous import bond is a type of customs bond—a bond that guarantees the U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) that the importer will make good on its payment.

If the importer fails to make its payments, the CBP can file a claim against the bond from the surety company that guaranteed payment. In most cases, the amount of the bond must be at least 10% of the total duties and taxes paid to CBP annually at a minimum of $50,000. This means that the duties, taxes, fines, and penalties that the surety company will cover within each one-year bond term is $50,000.

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