What is AMS?

The Automated Manifest System (AMS) of the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) is a combination of a cargo release notification system and an imported goods inventory regulation system. A critical component of the Automated Commercial System (ACS), it works with other components such as the National In-bond Control Program, the Cargo Selectivity System, and the Automated Broker Interface system of the ACS to ease clearance and movement of goods.

The Automated Manifest System is intended to make it easier to file shipping documentation before cargo arrives in the US, thus speeding the flow of goods. This reduces paperwork for Customs and carriers, as it eliminates in-bond documentation and paper manifests. Participants in AMS get a range of benefits that include shorter holding time for cargo, better communication and greater control.


AMS Air manifests have to be electronically filed with the CBP 4 hours before the arrival of the inbound carrier. The master air waybill record also needs to be transmitted for all non-consolidated shipments. Carriers with consolidated shipments have to electronically transmit all information required that appertains to the master waybill and associated house airwaybills unless the information has already been submitted by another party.

If an inbound carrier decides to transport merchandise reported in a single consolidated air waybill on two or more aircraft as a split shipment, they will have to submit additional information for every house air waybill in the consolidation. Unless detailed house shipment data has been furnished to the CBP by another party, the carrier will need to provide that information. The CBP has to receive the information no later than four hours before the carrier arrives in the US. For aircraft departing from foreign locations close to the United States, the  CBP has to receive the cargo data no later than when the plane departs for the US.

Who Is Eligible to File AMS Air?

AMS Air is open to airlines, warehouses (CFS), deconsolidators, CBP ABI entry filers (customs brokers), and service centers. Any deconsolidator or entry filer with type 1, 2, or 3 Customs bond type can send AMS eManifests to CBP.

It is up to the incoming air carrier to transmit the documentation for the Master Air Waybill. Once the carrier sends the eManifest to CBP, the ACE system will send the Freight Status Notification (FSN) to the deconsolidator. Participants without the technical capacity to transmit eManifest data to CBP can make use of Service Centers such as Customs City Global Solutions to transmit their AMS data.

AMS Ocean

AMS Ocean manifests have to be filed electronically with the CBP before the arrival of goods in US ports of entry. Participants also need to have the necessary bonds (FMC bond & International Carrier Bond) and have a SCAC code.

Manifest Documentation Required

Participating carriers, service bureaus, NVOCC, and port authorities will need to send the required eManifests to CBP. Once the CBP receives the manifest, it will update the record with entry, examination and release information. The information is then sent to the originators of the eManifest and if provided, the Secondary Notify Party (SNP) will also receive the status of the ocean bill of lading such as “Bill on File”, “ISF Match” & “MVOCC Match”.

Formal and informal entries have to be submitted electronically through the Automated Broker Interface (ABI). These submissions will then be automatically processed through the Cargo Selectivity System. Once the data is processed, it will then be automatically forwarded to the broker and carrier.

The AMS Ocean manifest makes it possible for the CBP to place or remove holds on entire manifests, bills of lading or specific containers. Typically, the carrier cannot release goods to the importer until they receive notifications from ACE, even though the goods may be processed and released by CBP.

With an AMS Ocean manifest, cargo can be moved under bond without payment of duty or tax. The CBP may issue a Permit to Transfer (PTT) that allows the goods to move within the port for examination or devanning. Nonetheless, goods moved under PTT must still clear with CBP. ACE also allows the movement of cargo under bond for shipments going to a port different than the port of discharge. In-bond movements may be initiated by a CBP officer, broker, NVOCC or a carrier transmitting a manifest.

Who is Eligible for AMS OCEAN?

Clients that are allowed to take part in AMS Ocean include;

  1. Second Notify Party (SNP)
  2. Ocean Carriers
  3. Service bureaus
  4. Vendors
  5. Non-Vessel Operating Common Carriers (NVOCC)
  6. Port Authorities

To be allowed as a client on the AMS Ocean system the participant will have to:

  1. Write a letter of intent (LOI) or complete a respondent checklist
  2. Establish a communication protocol (VAN, Service Center)
  3. Procure equipment or software (Customs City Global Solutions)
  4. Test in the Certification Environment
  5. Encrypt and successfully send data to the CBP

AMS Rail

Rail carriers need to electronically submit waybill information to the CBP before the arrival of cargo at a US port of entry. The rail carrier usually transmits a “consist” of containers and bills in standing car order. The CBP can then review the waybills and determine if the cargo needs to be released immediately on arrival, or warrant examination.

Secondary Notify Party (SNP) Rail carriers can declare up to two additional AMS Rail stakeholders in a waybill that will then receive notifications in real-time. Carriers can then update waybills with export and arrival data for cargo moving on master in-bond permissions. They can also request Permits to Transfer (PTT) to allow for movements of cargo inside the port.

Paperless Master In-bond (MIB) Reporting

Rail carriers with a paperless MIB designation can transmit in-bond data and transmit bills of lading and get electronic authorization to move shipments under bond to paperless destination ports without needing to prepare a Record of InBond Movement and CF-7512.  Paperless reporting is allowed for Immediate Export (IE), Transportation and Exportation (T&E), and Immediate Transportation (IT). Participants can also update the movements with export and arrival data electronically.

Truck AMS

Truck AMS documentation may be sent electronically to the CBP using either EDIFACT OR ANSI X12. The messages include:

  1. Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS)
  2. Intangibles
  3. In-Bond
  4. US Goods Returned (CF-3311)
  5. Section 321
  6. Personal Effects (CF-3299)
  7. In-Bond (IT, T&E & IE)
  8. Free of Duty (CF-7523)
  9. Goods Astray

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