How To Become a Customs Broker


There are two (2) ways of becoming a customs broker. Let us first look at the way we partly know as follow;-

When a person apply to a customs broker or a company to be employed as an apprentice customs clerk, the said broker or company would register the apprentice with the customs brokers board and an apprentice customs clerk licence would be given to the clerk and after three months the person would be eligible to sit a Grade I Examination.

Whenever you pass this examination and pay for your licence, a period of another three months must past before you can qualify to sit the Grade II Examination. If you are successful in this examination you would yet again allow for another three months to elapse before you qualify to sit the Grade III Examination. If you are successful with this examination then this becomes the end of the road for examination for customs clerks,

From the day you receive your licence be it Grade I, Grade ll or Grade Ill you can go to the customs clerk and customs brokers association for a letter of recommendation as mentioned in Section No. 9 of the Act. The association must give this letter without delay if possible “immediately”…
In this matter the association is acting as an agent of the customs broker’s board and I may add here that the clerk does not necessarily have to be a member of the association.

Having received this letter of recommendation, you can now apply to the customs broker’s board for a customs broker’s licence. Now here is where the wicket would tend to get sticky. A Grade I would have to show exceptional reasons why he should be granted a customs brokers licence.

I have plenty of ideas which I would not explain at this point in time. Too much free information can be dangerous!

On the other hand the Grade II would also have to satisfy the board with good reasons why you should be granted a customs brokers licence. Again I say too much free information can be dangerous!

However, for a Grade III the board must grant the broker’s licence subject to Section Nos. 8, 9 and section16 of the Act.

People always ask the question of, what is the difference between a grade II customs clerk and a grade III customs clerk!

Well as you can see a grade III has a 99% chance of obtaining a broker’s license while a grade II has a 45% chance of obtaining the same.


Now let us look at the other way of becoming a customs broker. A person apply to a customs broker to be recruited as an apprentice customs broker, if the customs broker agrees with this recruitment business he would register you with the board under Section 15 of the regulation.

The board would issue to him an “apprentice customs broker’s license”. With this license you would not be allowed to sit any customs clerk examination be it grade I, II or Ill. However, after three months of obtaining the apprentice customs broker’s license you would be qualified to sit a customs broker’s examination. Please note that only a customs broker can do the recruitment.

For example the members of the armed forces who come for a two year training program can only be registered as an apprentice customs broker because they are not seeking employment. On the other hand a customs clerk apprentice is an employee of a company or broker.

Remember, a person cannot hold two (2) licences. How then can you ask a Grade III to sit a customs broker examination since he does not hold a customs broker apprentice licence? Customs brokers have not recruited nor registered with the board any person to be an apprentice broker. Therefore, the board cannot prepare a customs broker examination.

The customs broker examination has not been properly defined in the regulation. At this point in time I can only conclude that the nature and scope mentioned in Section 18 (a) of the Act cannot exceed that which is mentioned in regulation 7.

I would now conclude with a suggestion to level the playing field between customs clerks and apprentice broker to say that Section 8 (1) in the regulation should read as follows:-

Customs brokers’ license shall be in the form set out as Form 4 in the first Schedule – indicating that the holder is competent in all matters relating to the importation and exportation of goods and boarding of ships.



6. An applicant for a license may not be accepted as a candidate for an examination unless he first satisfies the Board that he has not less than three months experience of the duties of a customs broker or a customs clerk, as the case may be.15. Where a customs broker recruits an apprentice or where an employer of customs clerks employs any person to be trained as a customs clerk, he shall register with the Board the names of such apprentice or trainee within seven days of the date of such recruitment or the commencement of such employment, as the case may be.

16. A person registered with the Board under regulation 15 may not sign customs warrants but may transact other business at customs for and on behalf of the person to whom he is apprenticed and by whom he is employed and such person shall be held liable for the acts or omissions of the apprentice or trainee acting within the scope of his apprenticeship or employment.

17. Apprentices and trainees shall undergo a course of training and shall be under competent supervision to enable them to qualify for a customs broker’s or customs clerk’s license within a period of three years of the date of their recruitment or employment.

The three documents that I produced to you thus far; I now declare them as my campaign manifesto towards becoming your next President of the Customs Clerks and Brokers Association. But this will not work well without your full co-operation.

Money talks: I say it again money talks. I now make an urgent appeal for an increase in membership fees as follows:-

Apprentice – $100.00 per annum
Grade I – $200.00 per annum
Grade II – $300.00 per annum
Grade III and Brokers – $500.00 per annum.

Money would be needed for the rental of an office in the city of Port of Spain to carry out the association’s business. It would be a good idea to also have a branch office in San Fernando. Talk to Lee Chung for help!


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  1. Very informative.

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