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Customs Broker License Examination (CBLE)

Customs Broker License Examination (CBLE)

About the Exam

The purpose of the broker license examination is to “determine the individual’s knowledge of Customs and related laws, regulations and procedures, bookkeeping, accounting, and all other appropriate matters, necessary to render valuable service to importers and exporters.” (19 CFR 111.13(a)).

  • The Customs Broker License Examination consists of 80 multiple-choice questions. A score of 75 percent is required to pass. The examination lasts 4.5 hours. (Exam topics typically include: Entry; Classification; Trade Agreements; Valuation; Broker Compliance; Power of Attorney; Marking; Drawback; Bonds; Foreign Trade Zones/Bonded Warehouse; Warehouse Entries; Intellectual Property Rights; Fines, Penalties and Forfeiters; and other subjects pertinent to a broker's duties.)
  • Applicants may bring the reference materials noted below and any other pertinent reference materials to the examination. The use of any other versions of the listed references other than those recommended is at the applicant’s own risk.
  • All references listed below will be available electronically. Examinees have the option to bring in their own reference materials or use the electronic versions provided in the exam. Electronic references are a newer feature of the exam, and we are continually improving their performance to meet the user requirements.
    • Due to the size of some of the reference documents, it is important to use the search tool judiciously to avoid any lags and impact your total exam time. 
      1. Avoid searching single letter or single digit, such as “a” and “1”. Retrieving a large quantity of search results will affect the search performance. This will cause prolonged search times up to several minutes which will be deducted from your exam timer. 
      2. Avoid searching very common and frequently occurring words, such as “to,” “and,” “the,” “US,” " and “Chapter.” This might cause a noticeably longer search time for returning results that could result in losing from a few seconds to a few minutes on your exam timer.
      3. DO search on precise and pointed phrases and words that will yield the most optimal results. You may use complex words and phrases derived from the exam question or relevant to the topic at hand.
  • Applicants will not be provided with a test booklet. The exam is an electronic delivery. The exam will be posted on cbp.gov/trade/broker within two business days after the exam.
  • Examinee’s answer keys will be printed and provided upon exiting the exam on exam day.

Applicants may bring their own reference materials. All below listed reference material is provided electronically as an option. See the sample exam to explore how the electronic reference material will function.

  • Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (2020 Basic Edition) HTSUS)
  • Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations (19 CFR 2020 Revised as of April 1, 2020) Parts 1 to 199 (19 CFR 1-140) (19 CFR 141-199)
  • *ACE Entry Summary Instructions Version 2.​4a (ACE ES)
  • Right to Make Entry Directive 3530-002A (RTME)
  • ACE Entry Summary Business Rules and Process Document (Version 10, Section 1 through 12 only) (ACE BRPD)

*REFERENCE CHANGE: In an effort to align the broker exam and reference materials with real world processing, CBP has added the ACE Entry Summary Instructions to replace the Instructions for the Preparation of a 7501 as one of the five reference materials effective for the October 2021 exam.

Examinees may use any written reference material; however, use of any electronic device during the exam (e.g., laptop, iPad / Nook / Kindle, smart phone, personal digital assistant, smart watch, etc.) is strictly prohibited. Furthermore:

  • Examinees are required to bring their own writing instrument, and scrap paper if needed, as they will not be supplied. Pearson Vue will provide an erasable board and pen.
  • Cell phones must be turned off and put in the lockers provided. Laptops, iPads, smart watches, and any other electronic devices are prohibited in the examination room.
  • Any applicant caught cheating will be removed from the exam.
  • See ‘Candidate Rules of Agreement’ for more info.
  • Pearson VUE requires a face mask covering your nose and mouth for all candidates. CBLE candidates without a mask will be turned away on exam day. CBP will not provide a refund for candidates turned away due to non-compliance.
  • If you have any questions, please email brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov. Please visit the following COVID-19 Update Page regularly and prior to heading to the exam to review COVID-related state and local requirements.
  • Examinees will be allowed to bring in 1 rolling crate (see exam day set up below) OR 1 suitcase into the exam room not to exceed 16"H X 18.5"W X 15"D. All other storage containers will remain outside. No exception.

Day of Exam

The Fall 2021 Customs Broker License Examination is scheduled on October 21st, 2021 at 8:30a.m. local time. Registrants who do not provide an approved form of identification: (U.S. Driver’s License, U.S. State Issued ID Card, U.S. Passport, U.S. Military ID, U.S. Government Issued Visa, U.S. Territory ID (Puerto Rico, Guam, Etc.)) AND citizenship (U.S. Passport, Birth Certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of U.S. Citizenship, Official Military Service Award, or State, Federal or Local Government ID Card) will NOT be allowed to sit for the exam. Your name must match on both forms of identification. All submitted documents (both identification and citizenship paperwork) must be current and unexpired. Expired IDs are not acceptable, this includes expired passports. There will be no exceptions and no refunds will be given.

Please note that an original marriage or divorce certificate can be provided to corroborate a name change between the two forms of ID presented. No photocopies, scans, or facsimiles of any documentation will be accepted.

Please bring the required documentation and allocate sufficient time for travel to the examination site, as NO exceptions will be made for traffic delays, late trains, or similar incidences. Once the test administrators have closed the doors to the examination room, registrants will not be permitted into the examination room and will not be allowed to sit for the exam. There will be no exceptions and no refunds will be given if you are turned away for insufficient identification or late arrival.

Important Information

Reasonable modifications: CBLE candidates will have the opportunity to request reasonable modifications based on disability needs only during the registration period from August 23, 2021 through September 21, 2021 for the Fall 2021 CBLE. CBP will inform applicants of their reasonable modification (RM) determination and communicate approvals appropriately for the exam location selection in the Pearson VUE system. Approved candidates will receive an Authorization to Test email containing the appropriate RMinformation and will be contacted by Pearson VUE with their testing location. Registrants seeking a modification should request it at the time of CBLE registration. Further RM information required can be found on brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov, SUBJECT: “Reasonable Accommodation Request, Broker Exam,” early within the registration process, with appropriate information relating to their RA request. RA information required can be found on cbp.gov/trade/broker.

Withdrawals: While the Pearson VUE scheduling system may allow you to cancel your appointment, please be aware that any withdrawal request must be submitted through the eCBP portal. In order to receive a refund of the CBLE registration fee, the request MUST be submitted through eCBP and received by 8:30 am ET, October 19, 2021. If you withdraw directly in the Pearson VUE scheduling system without a withdrawal submission through eCBP, you will NOT be reimbursed your CBLE registration fees.

CBP invites the public to submit questions for possible use in future customs broker examinations. See Guidelines for writing questions for the customs broker examination. Please submit your questions to brokermanagement@cbp.dhs.gov. The SUBJECT line must read: Future Exam Questions.

Last updated 2021-08-18