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HQ 114290

March 18, 1998

BON-1-02-RR:IT:EC 114290 GEV


Deborah A. Briner
Avalon Risk Management, Inc.
1300 E. Woodfield Road
Suite 512
Schaumburg, Illinois 60173

RE: Bonds; Facsimile Signatures; Principal; Attorney-in-Fact

Dear Ms. Briner:

This is in response to your letter dated March 11, 1998, requesting a ruling regarding the use of facsimile signatures of your broker clients on U.S. Customs Service bonds. Our ruling on this matter is set forth below.


As Managing General Agent, Avalon Risk Management, Inc. ("Avalon") issues and/or distributes all Customs bonds for Aegis Security Insurance Company, Surety Code 032. In that capacity Avalon often prints bonds in its office for their customhouse broker (CHB) clients using tractor-fed forms, a database program and a dot-matrix printer. Once printed, a bond is sent to the CHB for signature and returned to Avalon for filing with the U.S. Customs Service.

Several of Avalon's CHB clients have asked if Avalon would scan their signatures into the computer to be automatically printed on the bond with the other information, thus alleviating some of the time and expense involved in the filing process. Any signature used in this way would be that of the principal or a licensed CHB holding a valid power-of-attorney for the principal and would be submitted to Customs for approval.


Whether a principal or its attorney-in-fact may execute a U.S. Customs Service bond by means of a facsimile signature.


Since 1978 the U.S. Customs Service has upheld the use of facsimile signatures on computer-generated entry forms. See T.D. 78-317 (holding that a facsimile signature may be used on a transportation entry); C.S.D. 79-94 (holding that a Customs bond may be executed by means of a facsimile signature and discussing the general meaning of "to sign" or "signature" at some length); C.S.D. 79-363 (holding that facsimile signatures are acceptable for the certification of a Notice of Exportation); and Customs ruling letter 219147, dated December 5, 1986 (stating that facsimile signatures may be used on entry documentation).

Furthermore, it should be noted that Customs policy on the acceptance of entry documents (i.e., all Customs documents that may be submitted with a signature) with facsimile signatures applies equally to legal persons (e.g., corporate brokerage firms) and individuals. Although no distinction has been made between signatures of natural or legal persons, it is necessary that the power of attorney match the facsimile signature being used by the broker on the documents. Examples of facsimile signatures include, but are not limited to, typewritten, computer generated, lithograph printed, perforated, embossed, stamped and engraved signatures. (Headquarters Instruction Notice 1182021, dated July 15, 1991)

Accordingly, Avalon's CHB clients may have their signatures scanned into a computer to be automatically printed on Customs bonds as discussed above.


A principal or its attorney-in-fact may execute a U.S. Customs Service bond by means of a facsimile signature.


Jerry Laderberg

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