19 CFR 151.4 - Time of examination.
Imported merchandise shall not be opened, examined, or inspected until it has been entered under some form of entry for consumption or warehouse, except in the following cases:
(a)Official Government examination and sampling. Authorized employees of the Customs Service, Food and Drug Administration, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Public Health Service, or other Government agency may for official purposes examine or take samples of merchandise for which entry has not been filed, including merchandise being released under a special permit for immediate delivery.
(b)Perishable merchandise, benzenoid chemicals, and merchandise received without an invoice. An application by the importer to examine merchandise, whether or not covered by an entry for transportation in bond or for exportation, may be granted by the port director, under the conditions listed in § 151.5, in the following cases:
(1) Examination of perishable merchandise is desired solely to determine its condition. This is not limited to a single examination, and there is no objection to incidental display to prospective buyers during the examination.
(3) The importer has been unable to obtain the required documents or information to make the necessary entry, and examination of the merchandise is required to obtain information for the preparation of a pro forma invoice to be used in making entry.
(c)Examination of merchandise entered for transportation under bond or for exportation -
(1)Examination, sampling, weighing or emergency operation. As a bona fide incident to exportation or further transportation, the importer of merchandise entered or withdrawn for transportation under bond or for exportation may, upon written application to the port director supported by a valid business reason for the request, be permitted to examine, sample, weigh, or subject his merchandise to an operation required by reason of an emergency, provided that any operation performed on the merchandise does not constitute a manufacture, and that § 151.5 is complied with. For conditions governing transshipment and emergency access to the shipment by the carrier, see § 18.3 of this chapter.
(2)Nonemergency operation. In cases not involving an emergency, an operation not constituting a manufacture may be permitted under the conditions listed in paragraph (c)(1) of this section if neither the protection of the revenue nor the proper conduct of Customs business requires that the operation be done in a Customs bonded warehouse, provided that the importer's written application for such operation is approved by the port director.