Applying for FTZ Designation of Your Facility

As the federally approved Grantee for FTZ #26, Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone (GFTZ) works as a partner organization to Georgia companies and communities to aid in the FTZ application and implementation process. We can help you determine if the program is right for you and if so, facilitate the overall process until you are up and running as an FTZ participant.

In general, the application process follows these steps:

  • Sponsorship of the Grantee
  • Application to the FTZ Board (U.S. Department of Commerce)
  • Activation of the facility (local U.S. Customs in Atlanta)
  • Normal processing time is less than 6 months with potential faster processing on a case-by-case basis.

Step 1: Statement of Need for FTZ Services

Submit a written request to Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone (GFTZ) including:

  • Name of company and facility address
  • Nature of operation
  • Reason for requesting FTZ designation
  • Acknowledgement that an Operating Agreement between your company and GFTZ must be fully executed prior to submission of FTZ Application / Request to the federal FTZ Board
  • Acknowledgement of the terms of the current FTZ #26 Fee Schedule

Step 2: Federal Application for “Usage-Driven” FTZ Application

Upon GFTZ’s concurrence of the need for FTZ services, please provide the following information to GFTZ for inclusion in an Application for a “Usage-Driven” FTZ site to the FTZ Board (FTZB), U.S. Department of Commerce:

  1. Evidence of “Site Ownership”. Documentation demonstrating the right to use the site such as a signed letter from the proposed FTZ operator on its letterhead attesting to its right to use the property – OR – a concurrence letter from the actual property owner affirming the desire for FTZ designation.
  2. Confirmation that FTZ designation or the use of FTZ procedures is not a requirement or precondition for future activity or construction at the site.
  3. Clear copy of the appropriate legal description for the proposed site’s land.
  4. Clear and detailed site plan (survey/schematic) showing existing and planned structures.

Based on information provided by the applicant, and the demonstrated need for FTZ services at the proposed site, and the positive impact to the local economy that FTZ services will create, GFTZ will support the effort to obtain FTZ designation.

Step 3: Production Notification

If the proposed FTZ site does not involve production activities, proceed to STEP 4.

If the proposed FTZ site involves “production” activities, additional information is required by the FTZ Board.  Production is defined as: “Activity involving the substantial transformation of a foreign article resulting in a new and different article having a different name, character, and use, or activity involving a change in the condition of the article which results in a change in the customs classification of the article or in its eligibility for entry for consumption.” (15 CFR 400.2(o)).  Information and guidelines for Production Notifications and Applications is available on the FTZ website at http://ia.ita.doc.gov/ftzpage/info/toolbox.html .

*PRODUCTION APPLICATIONS are necessary if the FTZ Board determines during the standard notification process that the more extensive application process is warranted based on issues or concerns that arise. The FTZ Board’s regulations delineate a general time frame of 12 months to process a production application. The specific processing time for a given application will depend on a range of factors, including whether a public hearing or industry survey is conducted and any specific industry or policy issues that arise during the processing of the case.

Step 4: Activation by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (USCBP)

Upon approval of FTZ site designation from the FTZ Board, the operator must then request FTZ “Activation” from local USCBP.  FTZ procedures cannot begin at a facility until it is Activated by USCBP. Typically, a company contracts with a third party FTZ specialist (attorney, consultant, etc.) for assistance with Activation related compliance.  Requirements for Activation include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Letter on company letterhead signed by a company officer requesting the need for FTZ activation.
  • Letter from Georgia Foreign-Trade Zone supporting the activation request.
  • Qualifications, character, and experience of an operator, principle officers, and/or key employees that are responsible for the zone are of critical importance. The activation request must therefore include completed background investigation forms on company officers and key FTZ personnel including any employee that has access or could cause changes to the inventory and recordkeeping system.
  • A blueprint of the area to be activated.
  • A gauge table, when appropriate, showing the capacity in metric units of any tank certified to be correct by the operator of the tank.
  • A “Procedures Manual” describing the FTZ inventory control and recordkeeping system that will be used in the applicant’s facility.

Review of Activation Request by USCBP

  • As a condition of approval of the request, the Port Director will order an inquiry by a Customs officer into the security, suitability, and fitness of the facility to receive merchandise in zone status. The surveying officer may prepare a survey report addressing Customs physical and procedural standards. (Cargo Security Survey)
  • The Port Director in making a decision whether to approve the request may consider other factors. (Examples: sell of firm to another party prior to approval; demonstration of inability or unwillingness to comply with the law, regulations or grant conditions).

Decision on Request by USCBP

  • The Port Director shall promptly notify the applicant in writing of the decision to approve or deny the request to activate. If denied, the notification will state the grounds for denial. The decision of the Port Director will be the final CBP administrative determination in the matter.
  • On approval of the request, an FTZ Operator’s Bond shall be executed on CBP Form 301, containing the bond conditions of Section 19 CFR 113.73.
  • Upon the Port Director’s approval of the request and acceptance of the executed bond, the zone site will be considered activated and merchandise may be admitted to the zone in zone status.

Timing

Usage-Driven Site Designation: GFTZ will work with the applicant to complete and submit the Application as quickly as possible. In most instances, the FTZ Board will process this type of application within 30 days of receipt.

Production Notification*: The standard time for the FTZ Board to make a decision on a production notification is 120 days from submission of a complete notification.

Activation: Local U.S. Customs (Port of Atlanta) will typically process an Activation request within 90 days from submission of a complete Activation Request.

* Production notification and site designation application can be submitted and processed concurrently.