How to Find a Consignee Number

by William Adkins - Updated September 26, 2017
customs declaration

U.S. Customs and Border Protection regulations require that all shipments valued at $2,000 or more entering the United States be identified by an Ultimate Consignee Number. Smaller shipments may be identified only by the consignee’s name and address. For nonprofit entities and for-profit businesses, the Ultimate Consignee Number is the employer identification number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service. Social Security numbers serves as Ultimate Consignee Numbers for individuals. FedEx suggests placing the Ultimate Consignee Number on the invoice that accompanies the merchandise, so that's a good place to look for it.

Ultimate Consignee Numbers

Determine who the Ultimate Consignee is according to the CBP definition. When you find that out, you'll need to find the Ultimate Consignee's identification number. When the merchandise has been purchased from the seller, the buyer is the Ultimate Consignee. If the shipment has not been sold at the time of entry into the United States, the Ultimate Consignee is the entity or individual to whom the shipper consigns the merchandise. When there is no sale or consignee, the Ultimate Consignee becomes the organization or individual that is the proprietor of the address where the shipment is to be delivered. When the Ultimate Consignee is an individual, you must contact her and request her Social Security number to use as the consignee number. You can usually do the same for organizations. However, if that isn’t convenient, you can obtain EINs for publicly traded corporations from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR online database. For nonprofits, the Small Business Administration suggests using the Guide Star online database. If the Ultimate Consignee is a privately held company, you may have to use a fee-based data service to find its EIN.

About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, William Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about small business, finance and economics issues for publishers like Chron Small Business and Bizfluent.com. Adkins holds master's degrees in history of business and labor and in sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.

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