Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CBP Announces Changes to Broker Exam

In today's Federal Register, U.S. Customs and Border Protection ("CBP") announced a proposal to amend the CBP regulations concerning the customs broker's examination provisions. Specifically, this document proposes to transition to a computer automated customs broker examination, increase the examination fee to cover the increased cost of delivering the exam, and adjust the dates of the examination to account for the fiscal year transition period and payment schedule requirements.

Here are some of the changes proposed:

  • Transition from paper exam to electronic Exam,
  • The exam will be moved from the first Monday of April and October to the fourth Monday of April and October,
  • The fee for taking the exam will double, from $200 to $390, and
  • A never used provision for a special exam outside of the regularly scheduled semi-annual exams will be eliminated.


To allow for greater flexibility in test administration and for the transition from a paper and pencil format to computer automated exams, CBP proposes to remove the word ``written'' before examination in paragraph (a)(4) (19 CFR 111.11(a)(4)). The automated examination will be held at private testing centers and administered by professional proctors. These spaces will each be equipped with computers programed to accommodate the examination while blocking web access. Examinees are only permitted access to those resources allowed to be brought into the examination as listed on Examination automation presents many benefits for both the applicant as well as CBP. First, automation will provide faster notification of test scores to the examinee. In addition, CBP expects examination automation to help standardize the testing environment and equipment for all examinees across the country. For CBP, automation decreases the staff and administrative resources necessary to conduct the examination.

The regulations currently provide that examinations will be given on the first Monday in April and October. In the past few years, CBP has started the new fiscal year operating under a Continuing Resolution passed by the U.S. Congress. This fiscal uncertainty has created a logistical challenge in meeting the payment schedule required by the OPM. To allow more time between the start of the fiscal year and the October examination, CBP proposes to adjust the examination dates to the fourth Monday in April and October.

The current examination fee is $200. (19 CFR 111.13(b).) As part of the review of the customs brokers regulations, CBP conducted a fee study and determined that a fee of $390 is necessary to recover the costs associated with administering the customs broker license examination. A fee study documenting the proposed fee change, entitled ``Customs Broker License Examination Fee Study,'' has been included in the docket of this rulemaking (Docket No. USCBP-2016-0059). The examination fee has remained at $200 since 2000 and has not been adjusted to account for inflation. In addition, the cost to deliver the examination is expected to increase. CBP has relied upon port staff to administer the examination using mainly government facilities and a few hotel sites. With automated examinations, CBP will need to hire proctors and reserve testing centers. As a result, CBP proposes to increase the examination fee from $200 to $390.

Comments must be received on or before November 14, 2016.

See the Federal Register notice HERE

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