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Andrea Garfia

What is a customs agent?

- The customs agent represents importers and exporters before the SAT, in order to carry out the clearance of their merchandise and verify their customs logistics.

What is a customs agent?

In accordance with the Customs Law, the Customs Agent is defined as: "The Natural Person authorized by the Tax Administration Service through a Patent, to promote the clearance of merchandise on behalf of others under the different regimes provided for in this law." In other words, the customs agent is the expert in customs logistics that legally represents importers and exporters before customs, in order to carry out the clearance of their merchandise, in such a way that they can prove the payment of taxes and compliance with non-tariff regulations and restrictions. Thus achieving that the goods can be imported or exported in an agile, legal, economic and safe way.

The customs agent represents the importers and exporters before the SAT, in order to carry out the dispatch of their merchandise and verify the customs logistics of the same. A customs agent must comply with the requirements indicated in article 159 of the Customs Law, for this, it is necessary that they wait for a call to be published in the Official Gazette of the Federation, and once said requirements are met, the The aforementioned authority grants it through the issuance of the agreement with which its issuance is authorized, before the assigned customs office that had been requested. In order for a customs agent to initiate the customs logistics procedures in foreign trade, they must have the order conferred so that they act as their consignees or agents and can carry out their operations (Association of customs agents of the port of Veracruz, s.f ).

What are the duties of a customs broker?

His functions go beyond just the import and export of merchandise, his ** main objective is to provide advice on foreign trade ** with expert information that helps prevent errors, reduce time and, above all, costs.

Among its main functions are:

Preparation of the customs declaration:

The customs petition is a tax document created in a format approved by the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, where it is declared:

  1. The type and quantity of merchandise.
  2. The data that facilitates the identification of the merchandise.
  3. The origin, value and tax base of the merchandise.
  4. Compliance with non-tariff restrictions and regulations.
  5. The customs section or entry customs office and the dispatch section.
  6. The type of operation.
  7. The customs regime.
  8. And some other information and documents that must be incorporated into the petition.

The customs declaration is a very important document in foreign trade, because it protects the stay and legal possession of merchandise of foreign origin.

Payment of Contributions

Article 53 of the customs law establishes that the customs agency and agents are responsible for the payment of taxes on foreign trade or other concepts that occur related to imports where customs clearance intervenes. The payment of contributions is determined in relation to the tax base.

Type of Customs Regime

All merchandise that enters the national territory can be destined to the following customs regimes:

  1. Definitive import.
  2. Temporary import: a) To return abroad under the same conditions; b) To elaborate, transform, or repair in export or maquila programs.
  3. Fiscal deposit.
  4. Transit of merchandise: a) Internal, b) International.
  5. Transformation, elaboration or repair in a controlled area.

Hiring an experienced customs broker offers great advantages, mainly having legal support during the import or export process; sending the merchandise in a timely manner with the aim of achieving customer satisfaction.

Some companies do not consider it essential to have their services and be themselves the ones in charge of carrying out all the logistics management; however, what they are not contemplating are the training and certifications necessary to obtain the license as a customs broker, which may imply time and high logistics costs.

In addition, international air and sea transport regulations are renewed year after year and become stricter, hence the need for industries to have a customs agent (SEKO, 2022).

Article 159 of the Customs Law tells us that to obtain the customs agent license it is required:

  1. Being Mexican by birth in full exercise of their rights. Reformed fraction DOF 30-12-1996
  2. Not having been sentenced by an enforceable sentence for an intentional crime and in the case of having been a customs agent or proxy, his patent or authorization had not been cancelled. Reformed fraction DOF 30-12-1996, [_30-12-2002_](http://dof.
  3. Enjoy a good personal reputation.
  4. Not be a public servant, except in the case of positions of popular election, nor a military man in active service. Reformed fraction DOF 30-12-1996
  5. Not be related by consanguinity in a straight line without limitation of degree and collateral up to the fourth degree, nor by affinity, with the customs administrator of the patent affiliation.
  6. Have a professional degree or its equivalent in terms of the law of the matter.
  7. Have experience in customs matters of more than three years.
  8. Show proof of registration in the Federal Taxpayer Registry.
  9. Pass the knowledge test carried out by the customs authority and a psychotechnical test. Reformed fraction DOF 31-12-1998

Covered the requirements, the Secretariat will grant the patent to the interested party within a period not exceeding four months. The patent is personal and non-transferable.

The Secretariat may issue, at the request of the interested party, customs agent patents that legitimize its holder to promote only the dispatch of merchandise whose tariff fractions are expressly authorized. To obtain said patent, the requirements referred to in this article must be met.

Obligations of a Customs Agent

In summary, a customs agent must be in charge of the declaration of the merchandise, the name and tax address of the recipient or sender of the merchandise; register the corresponding keys before the Federal Taxpayers Registry, as well as describe (in different documents) the nature and characteristics of the merchandise and other data related to the foreign trade operation that is carried out.

The above is done through:

  • Prepare, sign and submit merchandise declarations.
  • Keep records of the procedures carried out.
  • Keep updated in relation to technological, scientific and industrial advances, legislation, valuation, etc.
  • Correctly classify the goods in the tariff nomenclature. -Verify the identification data of the consignee of the merchandise, or his representative, in accordance with what is established by the customs administration.
  • Allocate the restricted merchandise with the documentation required by Mexican regulations.
  • Allocate the merchandise to the regime, type of dispatch or modality of the regime that corresponds, with the required documents according to the customs regime, in accordance with current regulations.
  • Have the required documentation prior to customs clearance.
  • Attest before customs for the correct declaration of quantity, quality and value of the merchandise.
  • Communicate to the customs administration any anomaly that could represent with the other actors in the logistics chain; documentation or merchandise from customs clearance.
  • Allow any inspection, control and investigation carried out by the customs administration.
  • Contribute to the protection of the environment, health and intellectual property.
  • Have strategic alliances with the private sector that allow it to prevent and detect any fraud, piracy or arms trafficking, among other crimes.

Customs Broker.

The customs agency is the legal figure, through which a moral person, made up of at least one [customs agent**]( -customs/),** may carry out the clearance of foreign trade merchandise in the name and on behalf of the importer or exporter, based on the terms and conditions that the [Customs Law] itself (https://www. establishes.

This process is done through the granting of an authorization that for that purpose is issued by the Tax Administration Service, different from the patent of the customs agent.

The functions performed by customs agencies go beyond the import and export of merchandise, since their main objective is to advise on foreign trade issues with expert information to prevent errors, reduce time and costs. All the functions carried out by a customs agency are essential to achieve the success of companies that have an international commercialization project.

Finally, it is important to emphasize that the functions of the customs agent are vital for the success of companies with international projection, since they act as intermediaries between the regulatory authorities and monitor compliance with the legal framework.

Customs agents or agencies depend, for example, on the adequate transmission, veracity and accuracy of the data and information provided to the authority, the determination of the customs regime of the merchandise, its correct tariff classification, as well as ensuring compliance. of the other obligations regarding regulations and non-tariff restrictions.

In summary, they can apply intelligent solutions to achieve the success of their clients' foreign trade operations (Cargo and Logistics, 2020).


    Asociación de agentes aduanales del puerto de Veracruz. (s.f). “Beneficios del agente aduanal”. Disponible en: Fecha de consulta: 03 de mayo del 2022

    Cargo y Logistica. (2020). “¿Para que sirve una agencia aduanal?”. Disponible en: Fecha de consulta: 03 de mayo del 2022.

    SEKO. (2022). “¿Qué es un agente aduanal y cuáles son sus funciones”?. Disponible en: Fecha de consulta: 03 de mayo del 2022.

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Garfia, Andrea. “¿Qué es un agente aduanal?.” CEMERI, 12 sept. 2022,