Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ Related to USA Customs AMS

What Is AMS?

AMS, or the Automated Manifest System, was created by U.S. Customs (CBP). It is an electronic transmission system, for documentation, to U.S. Customs before cargo arrives in the U.S. It largely for security and efficiency purposes. It mainly coordinates information release between parties involved in international shipments, such as Sea Shipping Lines (SSLs), Airlines, Rail Carriers, etc.

What Is CBP?

CBP, or Customs and Border Protection, is new official name for US Customs. A sub-organization of US DHS (Department of Homeland Security).

What Is Type 86 Entry for E-Commerce Shipments?

On September 28, 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deployed the new Entry Type 86 for entry of Section 321 low-valued shipments through ACE. The entry type is expected to enhance security and safety for imports by offering the agency better visibility into low-value shipments. To qualify for Entry Type 86, the goods must have an aggregate fair retail value of $800 or less in the country of shipment.

Who Is Subject to AMS Transmission?

·       Carrier (mandatory)

·       Freight Forwarder (AMS Deconsolidator)

·       Importer or its Broker (ABI: Automated Broker Interface)

·       Express Consignment Facility

When Do I File With AMS?

AMS must be filed 24 hours or more in advance to its departure from the last foreign port. Suppose you have a shipment coming from Hong Kong, through South Korea, to Seattle. Customs requires that AMS be filed with 24 hours advance to the cargo’s departure from its last foreign port at South Korea.

Who Is Responsible for Air AMS Data Input?

In general, the Carrier is responsible for MAWB Data input, and the Agent (Departure Station) is responsible for HAWB Data input.

What Is the Time Limit for Air AMS And Which Station Is in Charge of Sending Air AMS Data To CBP?

Air AMS Data should be sent no later than 4 hours before arrival of the first station in US territory. For Airlines Cargo, the first departure station will be in charge of sending Air AMS data to CBP.

What Are Penalties and Fines for Each AMS Data Failure or Late AMS Filing?

For each irregularity case per MAWB/HAWB, USD5,000 - USD 10,000 will be imposed to the Carrier. According to US DHS Regulation § 122.48[c][3], the Carrier could seek re-compensation to the Agent. Cases subject to penalty: Omission of Transmission, Inaccurate Transmission, False Report Shipment of US Embargo items.

What are AMS Customs Requirements and Checklist?

        A precise description of cargo, including weight and piece count.

        Port where the cargo is loaded.

        Last foreign port before the vessel departs for the U.S.

        Vessel name, number, country of documentation, Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC), and voyage number.

        Scheduled date of arrival at first U.S. port.

        First foreign port where the carrier takes possession of cargo.

        Hazardous material code.

        Container number.

        Container seal number -serial number of the last seal applied when the container is loaded

Should Forwarders Register to US CBP for Transmission of Air AMS?

Forwarders are not required to register to US CBP, and HAWB could be transmitted in other ways (See Submission of AWB Data to the Carrier). However, AMS Deconsolidator should complete registration process to acquire FIRMS Code from CBP. FIRMS stand for Facilities Information and Resources Management System

What Is the Basic Difference Between AMS And Other Nation's Declaration System?

AMS requires mandatory submission of electronic declarations within 4 hours before the arrival at first US stations. Secondly, the Carrier must transmit both MAWB and HAWB. Thirdly, any mis-input in Data, late or omission of transmission are subject to penalty.

Are There Any Exceptions to The Declaration of Air AMS?

Public aircraft, Private aircraft, Charter Flights operated by US Gov't are exempted from Transmission of Air AMS.

What Are the Cities That Require the Transmission of Air AMS?

All US Mainland cities and ANC, HNL.

Which Regions Are Exempted from Transmission of Air AMS?

Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan), U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Wake Island, Midway Islands and Johnston Atoll.

What Is AMS Deconsolidator?

AMS Deconsolidator is a member of CBP that has acquired FIRMS code, and thus authorized to send House Data directly to CBP System. Carriers has no obligations to send House Data of AMS Deconsolidator. FIRMS stand for Facilities Information and Resources Management System

What Is the Advantage of AMS Deconsolidator Having Authorized to Send House Data Directly to CBP?

AMS Deconsolidators does not have to reveal internal classified information and can also receive prompt reply from CBP.


FAQ Related to USA Customs CBP

By providing house-level air waybill information directly to CBP, an eligible voluntary AMS participant need not disclose to the carrier those data elements of the House Air Waybill related to the shipper and consignee. Many such parties consider this information to be business proprietary information, which it would prefer to report directly to CBP without having to so disclose to the carrier. In addition, voluntary participants would be able to request in-bond authorization at the House Air Waybill level through AMS. Finally, a Container Freight Station (CFS) or Express Consignment Carrier Facility (ECCF) that voluntarily participates in AMS would receive electronic Freight Status Notification (FSN) messages related to CBP processing of entries for cargo located at its facility.

How Could AWB Indicate the Cargo of AMS Deconsolidator?

On 'Handling Information of MAWB', the forwarder should input following data and submit; "HOUSE INFORMATION TRANSMITTED BY (FIRMS CODE)". In the FWB Message, the FIRMS CODE is to be indicated in the OSI line of the message.

Since AMS Deconsolidator Does Not Display HAWB, What Is the Solution to Partial Shipment?

In general, Partial Shipment is prohibited in AMS Deconsolidator. In case of Partial shipment, the Deconsolidator should submit "CUSTOMS Pouch" containing following information to the Carrier (Pouch should be submitted with the AWB) HAWB (CONSOLIDATION) MANIFEST or HAWB Hard Copies Consolidation MFST per pallet: Submit HAWB information on SKID or BUC pallet ex. HAWB AAA22234/35PC-PMC1234KE/21PC, PMC2345KE/14PC

Does Air AMS Apply to The Cargo Via US Whose Final Destination Is Outside of US (Such as Canada)?

Yes. Any flight bound for a destination outside of LAX and EWR is subject to Air AMS based on FROB (Foreign Remaining On Board) regulations.

Does Air AMS Apply to The Cargo Bound for Europe Via US?

Yes. For instance, cargo bound for CPH via ANC & JFK is subject to Air AMS.

Is AMS Filing Required for Cargo That Arrives Aboard an Aircraft, Is Not Unladen And Subsequently Exported from the U.S. Aboard the Same Aircraft?

Yes. Such cargo meets the definition of Foreign Cargo Remaining on Board (FROB). AMS will include a new indicator in the transfer line for purposes of identifying such cargo as FROB. (TRN/R) This indicator will be used for simple and Master Air Waybill records. House Air Waybill records must be reported for consolidated shipments even though the FROB indicator need not be used for the House Air Waybill records. The FROB indicator at the Master Air Waybill level will be applied to all associated House Air Waybills.

What Is the Input Method of The Local Transfer Shipment from The Carrier to Forwarders?

Please Input in MAWB Handling Information as following; LOCAL TRANSFER AT DESTINATION TO WAREHOUSE (FIRMS CODE of the Bonded Warehouse)" FIRMS stands for Facilities Information and Resources Management System

Does the Same Method Apply to Partial Shipment Involving More Than One Bonded Warehouse?

Yes. Same method should be applied with separate FIRMS code for each Bonded Warehouse.

If A Master Air Waybill Record References Split Arrival Information, Must the Carrier Request #65afacand Receive Electronic Authorization for Each Part of The Split Shipment?

Yes. For each portion of the split Master Air Waybill that is transferred to another facility, the carrier must request and receive electronic transfer authorization.

Should AWB Data and System Data Collides With Each Other, Which One Is Valid?

The System Data takes preference to AWB Data since it is sent by EDI.

What Is the Maximum Alphanumeric In HAWB?

12 alphanumeric

Is the AMS Participant Required to Transmit All the Alphanumeric Characters As Printed On The Paper Copy Of The House Air Waybill?

Yes. The AMS participant is required to report the full House Air Waybill identifier as printed on the hard copy document. This includes alpha characters preceding or contained within the house-level shipment identification.

Is the Partial Shipment Prohibited? Split (Partial) Shipment?

Partial Shipment is NOT Prohibited. In the case of Partial shipment, exact piece, Manifest Data,AMS Data of Partial Cargo must be matched. Also, for BUC shipment, AWB must include exact information of cargo in ULD and Document: "Customs Pouch" must be submitted to the Carrier. It is strongly recommended to avoid Partial shipment of HAWB, and large shipments are strongly advised to be divided into seperate MAWB. "Customs Pouch" includes the following documents; * Consolidation List or HAWB copy * Consolidation List per Pallet (Cargo Location required in BUC or Skid)

Is It Possible to Send Partial Shipment to Different Itinerary?

No. The itinerary of the Partial shipment should be identical.

Since the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) Cannot Accommodate Multiple Flight Arrival Information, For Split Shipments How Can A Single Entry Be Filed for A Split Shipment And The Proper Freight Status Notifications Be Sent?

CBP has an existing policy to allow a single entry to be filed for a split shipment provided that the conditions of part 141.57 of the Customs Regulations have been satisfied. If these conditions are satisfied, the entry filer must include additional information on the CBP Form 3461. For purposes of completing boxes 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17 of the CBP 3461, the filer will include the transportation information for the first portion of the split shipment. For the purposes of completing boxes 21, 22 and 23, the filer must enter all air waybills and the quantities for which a single entry or a special permit for immediate delivery are requested. In box 29, the filer will enter the following information for all portions of the split shipment covered by the single entry or special permit for immediate delivery: Carrier Code Flight Number Arrival Date Piece Count for that Arrival. In order to transmit an electronic permit to release for each portion of a split shipment, CBP must post such release to each portion covered by the single entry or special permit for immediate delivery. To effect such release, the importer must provide a copy of the CBP 3461 to CBP with the information noted above. If the release is to occur incrementally, the filer must provide such notification to CBP upon arrival of each portion of the shipment.

In the Case of One Master One House, What Is the Proper Commodity Name?

All Consol must be entered as 'CONSOL' or 'CONSOLIDATION' only. ('CNSL' is not allowed) For HAWB, 'Precise Cargo Description' must be stated.

If A Master Air Waybill Record Has Only A Single House Air Waybill, Is It Possible for The Carrier to Transmit as A Simple Air Waybill?

No. When a master air waybill references only one house air waybill, both the master air waybill and the house air waybill must be reported.

What Is the General Standard for Entering Commodity?

Detailed commodity description is a description of an item that is clear and concise. The description should be in plain language and detailed enough to allow U.S. Customs to identify the size, shape and characteristics of the commodity. Only the commodity description should be included in this field of the EDI transmission. Superfluous information, not relevant to the commodity description i.e., type of packaging, carrier disclaimers, etc., should not be transmitted in the commodity description field.

The following descriptions are not acceptable and may result in “Hold for Examination” or “Hold for More Information” notices. Unacceptable descriptions include: freight of all kinds (FAK); said to contain (STC); shippers load stow and count (SLAC); general merchandise and other similar vague descriptions. A less detailed description will be accepted from the marine carrier if the complete and accurate description is being provided in a supplementary cargo report from the freight forwarder. Ambiguous or equivocal term should not be used.

The following list, provided by U.S. CBP, is a guide to acceptable and unacceptable descriptions. This list is not exhaustive and will continue to expand as acceptable descriptions are further refined.

Not Acceptable



Wearing Apparel

Ladies' Apparel

Men's Apparel




Jewelry (may include watches)


Kitchen Appliances

Industrial Appliances

Heat Pump



New Autoparts

Used Autoparts


Baseball Caps

Blasting Caps

Bottle Caps

Hub Caps

Chemicals, hazardous Chemicals, non-hazardous

Actual Chemical Name (not brand name)

Or U.N. HAZMAT Code Identifier #

Electronic Goods



Consumer Electronics, Telephones

Electronic Toys (can include Gameboys, Game Cubes, Dancing Elmo Doll etc.) Personal/Household Electronics (i.e. PDA's, VCR's, TV's)


Industrial Equipment,

Oil Well Equipment

Automotive Equipment,

Poultry Equipment etc.


Wood Flooring,

Plastic Flooring,


Ceramic Tile,

Marble Flooring



Fish Packaged Rice,

Packaged Grain,

Bulk Grain


Iron Pipes,

Steel Pipes


Iron Building Material,

Steel Building Material

Leather Articles


Leather Handbags

Leather Jackets,



Metal Working Machinery

Cigarette Making Machinery


Sewing Machines

Printing Machines


Plastic Pipes

PVC Pipes

Steel Pipes

Copper Pipes

Plastic Goods

Plastic Kitchenware,

Plastic Houseware,

Industrial Plastics Toys,

New/Used Auto Parts


Polyurethane Threads

Polyurethane Medical Gloves


Personal Effects Household Goods

Rubber Articles

Rubber Hoses



Rubber Conveyor Belts


Welding Rods


Aluminum Rods

Reactor Rods


Plastic Scrap

Aluminum Scrap

Iron Scrap

STC (Said to Contain)

General Cargo FAK (Freight of All Kinds)

"No Description"



Ceramic Tiles

Marble Tiles


Hand Tools

Power Tools

Industrial Tools


Electric Wires

Auto Harness

Coiled Wire (Industrial)



What Is the Proper Method of Entering Shipper and Consignee?

Consol MAWB: The Name & Address of Consolidator/Deconsolidator

Single MAWB & HAWB: Actual Name & Address of SHIPPER/CONSIGNEE ex : Name of the Shipper: Up to 35 alphanumeric (including space)

Street & Address: Up to 35 alphanumeric (including space)

CITY, COUNTRY, TOWNSHIP: Up to 17 alphanumeric (including space)

STATE: Up to 9 alphanumeric (including space) Abbreviation is accepted (ex. California - CA)

COUNTRY CODE: 2 Letters only (number is not acceptable)

Is It Possible to Input Telephone Number and CPO Box?

Input of only telephone number or CPO Box is not allowed. Exact name of the SHPR/CNEE and address must be entered.

Is It Possible to Enter the Name of Forwarder In SHPR/CNEE of HAWB?

Input of mere Forwarder is not allowed. Exact name of the SHPR/CNEE must be entered.

What Is the Proper Number Piece in Sending Air AMS Data?

MAWB must include Total Inner piece (the smallest external packaging unit) as well as SKID Unit and ULD Unit. ex. 1pc 2400kg (1 BUC, 345 Box) * 1pc (345pc) 2400kg ex. 5pc 3500kg (5 Skid, 1 Skid Contains 75Box) * 5pc (375pc) 3500kg

When Reporting the Quantity of Pieces for Cargo Loaded on A Pallet, Unit Load Device (ULD) Or Other Similar Equipment, What Quantity Should Be Reported in Air AMS?

The Final Rule requires that the Air AMS participant report the quantity based on the smallest external packing unit. For example, one pallet loaded with 100 boxes would be reported with a quantity of 100

Should Total HAWB WT And MAWB WT Be Identical?

Both total HAWB WT and MAWB WT must be identical.









Automated Broker Interface, a module of CBP Automated Commercial System


Automated Commercial Environment


Automated Commercial System. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) electronic entry/manifest processing system


Automated Export System


Agent. (Message Line Identifier)




Automated Manifest System. Comprised of Air, Sea/Rail modules of ACS


Arrival detail. (Message Line Identifier)


Air waybill (Message Line Identifier)


Airline Status Notification. (Message Line Identifier)


Air Transport Association of America


Automated Targeting System

B/L or BOL

Bill of Lading


Customs Assigned Number


Customs Automated Manifest Interface Requirements


U.S. Customs and Border Protection


Cargo Control Location. (Message Line Identifier)


Cargo and Conveyance Security


Customs Express Detail (Message Line Identifier).


Code of Federal Regulations or Customs Regulations


Container Freight Station (also known as Deconsolidator)


Customs House Broker


Consignee. (Message Line Identifier)


Container Status Message


Commercial Operations Advisory Committee of the Customs Service


Carriage Return and Line Feed (end-of-line character string)


Customs Shipment Description. (Message Line Identifier)


Container Security Initiative


Customs Status Notification. (Message Line Identifier)


Compliant Transaction


The Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism


Cargo Terminal Operator. FIRMS or carrier code.


Departure. (Message Line Identifier)


Department of Homeland Security


Do Not Load


Express Cargo Clearance Facility


Employer Identification Number


Error Report Flight (Message Line Identifier)


Error. (Message Line Identifier)


Full Container Load


Flight Departure Message. (Message Type)


Freight Error Report. (Message Type)


Facility Information Resource Management System


Flexible Range


Freight Report Change. (Message Type)


Freight Report Inbound. (Message Type)


Foreign Cargo Remaining on Board


Freight Status Condition. (Message Type)


Freight Report Cancellation. (Message Type)


Freight Status Information (Message Type)


Freight Status Notification. (Message Type)


Freight Status Query. (Message Type)


Freight Express Change. (Message Type)


Flexible Timing


Foreign Trade Zone


Flexible Range and Flexible Timing


Freight Express Inbound. (Message Type)


Freight Express Cancellation. (Message Type)


Greenwich Mean Time


General Order.


House Air Waybill


Household Goods/Personal Effects


Harmonized Tariff Schedule/of the United States


Private type of courier express facility (exclusive to operating air courier)


International Air Transportation Association


IATA Cargo Interchange Message Procedures.




International Civil Aviation Organization. Issuer of the Three-Letter Airline Designator


Immediate Exportation or Informal Entry under Customs bond.


Interim Final Rule


Importer of Record Number


Interconnection Security Agreement


International Standards Organization


Immediate Transportation under Customs Bond


Less Than Container Load

Master Air Waybill

Master air waybill for consolidation.


Manifest Discrepancy Report.


Manufacturer Identification Number




Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (2003.7.23)


Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier


Regulatory Impact Analysis


Outer Continental Shelf


Power of Attorney


Permit To Proceed.


Reason For Amendment. (Message Line Identifier)


Roll On-Roll Off


Standard Carrier Alpha Code (not supported by AMS)




Standard Message Identifier.


Transportation and Exportation under Customs bond.




Transportation Security Administration


Text explanation








United States


United States Postal Service


Vessel Operating Carrier