Individual licensed customs brokers will be subject to a new continuing education requirement under a final rule from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. CBP states that it is imposing this requirement because of “the need for key parties involved in importing, exporting, claiming drawback, etc., to keep up to date on training and continuously build and maintain their knowledge of current requirements.” CBP believes this requirement will likely result in “significantly lower rates of penalties, audits, and validation activities.”
Under this rule, individual customs broker license holders will have to complete at least 36 continuing education credits per triennial period, which works out to an hour per month. Two groups of brokers will be exempted from this requirement: those who have voluntarily suspended their license in accordance with 19 CFR 111.52 and those who have not held their license for an entire triennial period at the time the required status report is submitted. In addition, individual brokers reentering the profession following a period of voluntary suspension will be subject to a prorated requirement of one continuing education credit for each complete remaining month until the end of the triennial period.
Brokers will be able to earn continuing education credits for a variety of training or educational activities, whether in-person or online, including the completion of coursework, seminars, webinars, workshops, self-guided activities, symposia, and conventions and, subject to certain limitations and requirements, the preparation and presentation of subject matter as an instructor, discussion leader, or speaker. CBP states that it is “not practical” to issue a more precise definition of education, definitive guidelines, or lists of what constitutes permissible trainings, educational activities, or topics at this time but that it will establish standards and guidelines and provide further updates in the future.
Training or educational activity provided by CBP or any other federal agency that is relevant to customs business will automatically qualify as continuing education credit, but training or educational activity offered by corporations, non-profit organizations, or foreign government agencies will only qualify if it has been approved beforehand by a CBP-selected accreditor.
Brokers will report and certify their compliance with this new requirement when submitting their triennial status reports, beginning with the 2027 reports due between approximately Dec. 15, 2026, and Feb. 28, 2027. However, for the triennial period beginning Feb. 1, 2024, and ending Jan. 31, 2027 – and for that period only – CBP will reduce the number of credits required to be completed by six for approximately every six months that elapse between Feb. 1, 2024, and the date on which brokers may begin completing qualified continuing education activities. That date will be announced in a future CBP notice, and no educational activities or trainings completed before that date will qualify toward the continuing education requirement.
Brokers will also have to maintain for three years records documenting compliance that include specific information, though no specific format will be required.
CBP will be authorized to take disciplinary actions if a broker fails to complete the required number of continuing education credits or certify his or her compliance. These measures will progress from warning letters to suspension and revocation of the broker’s license.