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ACE Manifest Requirements

Learn what's required in order to cross commercially into the U.S.

ACE Timeline

December 1993 - President Clinton signs Customs Modernization Act of 1993 into law, which lays the framework and funding to modernize electronic customs data.

April 2001 - U.S. Customs Service starts modernization of operational processes and develops new technology infrastructure intended to streamline import/export operations for all transportation modes.

February 2002 - The Customs Electronic Systems Action Council (CESAC) starts research and pilot programs intended to create a prototype framework for electronic-data-exchange (EDI) processing.

April 2003 - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced the first phase of their web portal design.

June 2004 - CBP's ACE Portal expands to include 150 importers and customs broker accounts, allowing specific customs data to be transmitted via EDI.

January 2005 - CBP's ACE Portal expands testing to include non C-TPAT participants, and increases usage to nearly 500 private participants and other Participating Government Agencies (PGAs).

October 2005 - Northern and southern U.S. ports of entry start accepting truck manifests through ACE.

November 2006 - Period of informed ACE manifest compliance begins for trucks crossing into the U.S.

April 2007 - CBP makes ACE manifest mandatory for trucks crossing into the United States.

ACE Manifest Requirements

The Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) is U.S. Customs and Border Protection's electronic manifest program. It is intended to facilitate trade while strengthening border security. Since 2007, highway carriers have had to comply with ACE Manifest requirements when bringing goods into the United States by filing an ACE Manifest at least one hour prior to arrival at the border. For more information on ACE guidelines, refer to the following ACE Manifest Training Resources from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

ACE Program Overview

ACE is the backbone of CBP's trade processing and risk management activities and provides a single, centralized access point to connect CBP, Partner Government Agencies (PGAs) and the trade community.

ACE Requirements for Trucks

Under ACE Manifest regulations trucks must ensure that BOTH the ACE Manifest and the entry number by the customs broker (for PAPS shipments) are on file with CBP for at least one hour prior to the driver's arrival at the border. Failure to do so could result in delays at the border, refused entry into the U.S. and/or an penalty action.

For more information on CBP Penalties Program:

ACE Manifest Arrival Requirements

ACE Manifest leadsheet printed from BorderConnect

When arriving at the border in the United States, the driver must present customs paperwork (ie customs invoice and/or Bill of Lading) with a legible trip number or shipment control number. Although CBP officers capture the trip information from the truck licence plate, a PAPS barcode and/or barcoded ACE lead sheet can expedite the border processing time and also helps the officer to bring up the ACE Manifest in their system.

The officer will then verify the information is correct, and it is their discretion to move the driver to secondary inspection or not for further verification. CBP officers do not stamp paperwork upon release of the shipment, and the only way to prove that a shipment was released with CBP is to use a signed proof of delivery document.

ACE Manifest lead sheets can be generated from within BorderConnect, either from the manifest or as a set ahead of time. The carrier can also design and produce their own lead sheets.

Shipment Release Types Required for ACE Manifest

The following shipment types are used for goods entering United States via highway carrier:

PAPS - default shipment type for commercial goods entering the U.S., allows pre-clearance of goods.
In-Bond - allows for inland movement of goods that are not considered 'released' by CBP.
Section 321 - allows for import of goods valued under 800 USD.
IIT - used for empty racks and containers that cross the border in international transportation.
ATA Carnet -type of temporary import.
BRASS - type of pre-clearance, can only be used by FAST-approved drivers. (phasing out)
Personal Shipment - used when non-commercial goods are transported by highway carriers.
Free of Duty - used for duty free merchandise not exceeding 2000 USD in value.
Returned American Products - type of informal entry that allows for the release of shipments of products of the United States being returned.
Goods Astray - used for the return to the U.S. of refused or undeliverable shipments or goods brought into Canada accidentally.
International Mail - used to report shipments of mail moving from a foreign postal service to the U.S. Postal Service.
Intangibles - used for the release of certain specific commodities including business records and articles returned from space.

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