What is VACIS exam in US import customs clearance
Tuesday, April 15, 2014     Category : Import US

What is VACIS exam in US import customs clearance


An appeal to CBP not to charge VACIS exam fee under goods not detected contraband.


Container Security Initiative (CSI exam) examination 





What is VACIS Exam?


Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System VACIS exam is one of the holds by US customs for importing goods. The system was introduced by U.S. Customs Service, Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Department of Defense to inspect the cargo through law energy radio graphic images.


This system was introduced after 09/11 terrorist attacks to protect from illegal drugs, guns or currency. It is an x-ray system using gamma rays imaging to verify the contents inside the package or container without breaking the package seal. This x-ray examination is done either at pier (docks) or at port premises. VACIS equipment is used as mobile service also to use on road ,rail or any inland locations. Normally, VACIS exam is decided by Customs Border Protection (CBP) before arrival of cargo at port of discharge. Authorities at Terminal make arrangements for CBP to inspect the cargo after 48 hours of its arrival. VACIS can be decided on random, suspected or actual law violators. If contraband is found detected, the cargo or the container will be moved to Container Examination Station (CES) for thorough VACIS exam. Initially, the cargo will be scanned whole, and examination is carried out with the images obtained. If not satisfied by CBP, each packages will be unloaded and scan thoroughly.


What is VACIS exam in US import customs clearance  1 If a consignment is selected for VACIS by CBP, charges of VACIS exam has to be paid by the importer. In some cases, although CBP released the import shipment , the private companies whom the CBP had authorized for handling arrangements for inspection, may not release the goods unless they receives their charges. Apart from VACIS exam, there may have additional storage charges or demurrage charges to shipping carriers due to delay in taking delivery.


Here the point is, why the importer needs to pay VACIS exam fee for the goods not detected contraband. My appeal to CBP is not to charge any amount if not detected any contraband . The charges of VACIS examination has to be absorbed by the US government in such cases. Am I right ?  Discuss.  Also read - Who can inspect import cargo in US?   What is USDA hold under US import clearance of goods?


Do you have more thoughts on VACIS Exam?  Comment below:


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Roy G. Says :
Friday, May 17, 2013
It is a good idea to examine incoming containers. HOWEVER this is part of customs and border patrol's duties. It should be covered by the import duties that we the importer pays all the time. Any extra should be the responsibility of the government. It is grossly unfair to in effect fine the importer for doing nothing wrong. Further, to make us pay storage fees for not clearing that which we may not clear??? How does this make any sense. One container was sent for xray and I was required to overnight courier my payment for the cost. The following day I was informed that the xray machine had been out of service and that I had to send another check for transporting the thing again - and again by courier. It starts to smell like theft to me!
admin Says :
Friday, May 31, 2013
Request all to take up this matter with CBP, in turn government of US.
Nick M Says :
Thursday, June 13, 2013
CBP does not actually charge for the examinations. The private companies that are contracted by CBP are the companies that charge for their services. The exam is taking place, under the instruction of CBP, whether they find contraband or not and need to be paid. The US Gov't will not "absorb" this cost, as it also would mean the average tax payer is absorbing costs for your import. That is not really fair. Code of Federal Regulations (Ch. 19, 151.6) specifically states that CBP has the right to examine cargo and that the importer is responsible to bear the costs associated. It is the responsibility of the importer to know and understand these rules. I recommend you speak with a licensed Customs Broker.
Amir S Says :
Monday, June 17, 2013
I think its not fair to charge to importer, if there is nothing with the goods he is importing gov. should raise the import duty little bit or do something that is the way they can distribute the charges among all importers and no body will suffer
Josh C Says :
Monday, June 24, 2013
These exams and holds are fairly ridiculous. 1. My company imports containers of granite and marble, and over the past year, approximately 1/4 of our containers have been held and examined by Customs. It is amazing how our containers have been randomly chosen 25% of the time! Oh, and they have not found our goods to be contraband any of those times. 2. Since I am paying for them to conduct these exams, I would like to receive a copy of the conclusions they come to, as they must file some sort of report explaining why and what they have done. 3. Nick M, you say that "CBP does not actually charge for the examinations," but rather it is the "private companies that charge for their services." I do not dispute that fact. However, you also say: "The exam is taking place, under the instruction of CBP, whether they find contraband or not and need to be paid." Based on what you wrote, then, the CBP orders for its own exams and these exams must, then, be paid by someone other than CBP. Who is "charging" me, then—the Code of Federal Regulations? 4. Just because there is a rule, law, or code with which people do not agree does not mean that these same people do not know or understand the rule, law, or code, it generally means that they believe it to be unfair or unjust or arbitrary and / or capricious, or, as in this case, retarded (in the literal sense of the term as described by Merriam-Webster).
Alice Says :
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
I totally support Josh C's comment on this subject. If no contraband found, why should importer suffer???
Reza T Says :
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I also totally support Josh C's comments. I paid over $2000 for CET exam recently! It is absolutely unfair to charge the importer if no contraband found. It's like the court charge the suspect for all expenses even after the verdict is "Not Guilty"!
Tammy S Says :
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Just an idea. I know these exams are costly and causes delays for everyone but what if every import container goes through VACIS/NII exams and is charged whether or not there is contraband detected? Would that make it more fair for everyone? Just like the airport, everyone goes through the security checkpoint and your air fare includes the security fees. Would that be a solution? But I think the cost of a VACIS exam is too high. I don't know how much it cost to operate a VACIS machine, but I think it should be a fair amount where it doesn't cause a financial burden to businesses.
Lech L Says :
Saturday, November 16, 2013
What about damaged goods because of the exam? Did anyone had to deal with it? They opened one of the crates and didn't repack it properly, which caused lots of damage to product. Who pays for it? Where do they find those people? No respect for someone's property - not enough brain to hoard goats I think makes them land the government position...
Charlie Says :
Friday, November 29, 2013
I agree with Josh as well. I was just forced to pay $3,500 for two flexi-containers (bulk, non-haz chemical) to enter x-ray and physical exams. There is no reason these containers should have been flagged, as high volumes are imported into the U.S. every week - so I'm assuming this was at "random". I'm guessing the private companies who handle the transportation and private warehousing (where the physical exam takes place) absolutely love this because they get to charge an non-negotiable rate. It almost seems like there is collusion going on at the Long Beach port. These are very unfair random fines and it seems like it's happening more and more lately - just another hidden government tax I guess. I get why these exams need to take place when needed, but the charges are way to high and punish importers for no good reason!
Peter Osborn Says :
Saturday, November 30, 2013
I wonder if it will make a strong case against the Government if I decided to sue. My container was put on customs hold even though its for export and is leaving the USA for Africa.
Jill Nolde Says :
Sunday, January 05, 2014
As a new importer, your comments have made me feel a lot better. I "only" lost $120 dollars when they cut into a leather motorcycle suit that we imported from Pakistan. I understand that things from Pakistan should probably come under more scrutiny, but it was from a large leather company and don't they have drug sniffing dogs for that? Then, to make sure that we couldn't repair it, they wrote in ink on the leg. They also had the nerve to charge us storage because the New Orleans port is "understaffed" (per our broker.) He also advised us to not question anything or they would make our lives hell. It does feel like government extortion! Being a new business on a shoestring, I guess I'll take the broker's advice. Thanks for helping me vent!
imran Says :
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Can't they do the exam little faster. My shipment came in on the 31st of Dec and not it is 8th Jan. and we don't now when will the shipment be available for pick up. Not only we paying for exams fees but also loosing the money because we don't have the goods.
Bose Says :
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Josh C comment was valid one. They can do the exam faster and release containers without any delay.
Sabrina L Says :
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Does anyone know if the samples in the container will pass the exam? Did not show the samples on the documents. Importing vinyl planks, but put 4 chairs in it, and some ceramic tiles.
Donna Conyers Says :
Thursday, March 06, 2014
Where can I find the listing of customs and usda holds. such as: 1-H, 2-H, 4-H - holds 1-I, 2-I, 4-I - clearance etc. Donna

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