What Is Section 321 Type 86

Introduction :

As a consumer, global e-commerce trade company, or military service person that needs to import cargo into the United States, usually by land, air or sea, you understand the challenges in clearing customs. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) take every precaution to ensure cargo is legally and safely transported across US ports of entry. For merchandise to cross borders and clear customs, the CBP import process including Importer Security Filing (ISF) and Form 7501 submission can be lengthy and confusing, which is why most importers hire an experienced CBP-licensed shipping broker to handle the process for them.

Most cargo being shipped to the United States is subject to fees, duty taxes, and import laws—but there is good news for shipping cargo that is valued at less than $800—the CBP calls this a Section 321 shipment. Not only that, a new Entry Type 86 was put into test form in 2019 that would allow self-filing options and duty-free shipments, by importers/shippers or by licensed customs brokers, making the customs clearing process easier and less costly than ever before.

What Is a Section 321 Shipment?

The CBP establishes regulations and governance for US imported goods--to clear customs and border protection at the border. They identify both formal and informal entries for shipping. Formal entries are defined as high-value goods (often commercial or resalable items) over $2,500. Informal shipping entries are defined as lower-value goods (often for personal or commercial use) between $801- $2,500. When an informal shipment is valued at $0 - $800 – these shipments are entered as Section 321 shipping types. Informal shipping entries do not require a surety bond and may or may not require an Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) manifest submission. A Section 321 shipment may NOT be part of many lots from a single order, and there is a one-shipment-per-day limit. Note that some exceptions apply on Section 321 shipments, and the CBP can refuse a shipment if it is identified as high risk.

In August 2019, an entry type was put into test form that would further improve the Section 321 shipping type. If you ship lower-value shipments that are subject to Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) regulated good requirements, a Section 321 – Entry Type 86 filing is a favorable choice for clearing goods without the need to pay duties or taxes. This type of filing for lower-valued shipments is less complex and much faster than an 11-informal entry. The CBP and PGAs benefit as well in the de minimis entry process—the US import and admission of articles, free of importation taxes on good under valued at $800 or less.

Note: There are exceptions for Entry Type 86 including some PGA-controlled merchandise, some alcohol and tobacco products, goods subject to antidumping and countervailing duties, and goods subject to quotas. These may not be qualified to file under Entry Type 86.

Benefits of Section 321 – Entry Type 86

There are many benefits and a more seamless process for importers and global e-commerce shippers as well as CBP and PGAs, in a Section 321 – Entry Type 86 for goods valued between $0-$800:

  • Simplified self-filing or broker-supported CBP entry process for informal shipments
  • Tax-free options for cargo equal to or less than $800; minimal or no fees
  • Rely on state-of-the-art software, APIs and real-time data analytics
  • Faster, more efficient customs clearance processing
  • Minimized ACE eManifest requirements on Section 321 – Type 86 goods
  • Increased trader efficiencies through the Automated Broker Interface (ABI)
  • Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) real-time reporting on shipments
  • Added security, protection and trade law compliancy
Requirements For a Section 321 Shipment

A Section 321 shipment comes with a number of requirements by carriers including a shipment control number (SCN). This type of entry does create an entry number for the carrier, but instead a driver shows the Section 321 paperwork to a customs officer at the border. The entry process is handled electronically in the truck Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) eManifest. Carrier requirements:

  • Country of origin of goods
  • Shipper’s name, address, and country
  • Consignee name and address
  • Detailed description of the goods and a statement that identifies the cargo as Section 321
  • Quantity of goods
  • Shipping weight of goods
  • Value of goods (less than or equal to $800)

Whether you select a licensed broker or self-file your customs entry forms, the CBP offers these resources to simplify the Section 321 process: ACE Truck eManifest, ACE Air eManifest, Data Pilot for supplementary data, and the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) system for Type 86 informal entries

How To Get Started With Section 321 – Entry Type 86 Shipments

If you need help clearing goods with US Customs, finding a reputable shipping broker like Strix is necessary. The customs clearing process does not have to be daunting. The Strix team of licensed brokers is experienced in the entry and customs clearing process. Whether you decide to self-file using state-of-the-art software or rely on Strix licensed brokers, the company offers support for both self-filing and brokerage services for your Section 321- Entry Type 86 shipments. Eliminate lag times that could impact your business. Rely on the efficiency, security, and simplicity in importing your valuable e-commerce cargo. Contact a Strix expert for seamless customs clearance of your goods and merchandise into the United States.

The Strix Difference

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Brokerage Services

Full-service Customs House Broker and Certified ACE vendor for all entry forms and customs compliancy documentation. Guide importers to succeed in the global marketplace through nationwide customs clearance, importer security filing, and classification services.


Guide companies and individuals for fast and seamless clearance of goods entering the US. Customer service centric, technology-focused, and ready to help customers pass their goods to the US.

Strix Your Way

Place your shipping containers, freight, and valuable cargo in good hands with Strix. Whether you decide to file using leading technology or partner with a customs house broker to do the entry forms for you, we take your possessions seriously.