Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)


By the end of 2016, the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) will become U.S. Customs’ Single Window - the primary system through which the trade community will report imports and exports and the government will determine admissibility.

ACE will replace CBP’s legacy system, the Automated Commercial System (ACS), for trade processing. Through ACE as the Single Window, manual processes will be streamlined and automated, paper will be eliminated, and the international trade community will be able to more easily and efficiently comply with U.S. laws and regulations.

It is important to clarify that importers do not file their customs entries directly in ACE.

The ACE Secure Data Portal does not have entry and entry summary filing capabilities, nor are there plans for building such capabilities.

Rather, the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) continues to be the only approved method available for filing entry and entry summaries in ACE. ACE-certified ABI software is available through a CBP-approved software vendor, such as CustomsNow™.


Mandatory use of ACE for:

Many transactions, including those related to warehouses.

Mandatory use of ACE for:

All electronic protests (e-Protests).

Mandatory use of ACE for:

Transmission of all remaining electronic portions of the CBP cargo process will be required in ACE. This requirement includes:

  • Duty Deferrals
  • Drawback
  • Reconciliation
  • Statements (with associated collections functions)
  • Liquidation

Mandatory use of ACE for:

Full implementation of the Single Window via ACE.


  • Electronic Post Summary Corrections (replace paper Post Entry Amendment Process)
  • Cargo release/Simplified Entry
  • Electronic Census Overrides in ACE reduce electronic invoice transmissions
  • Remote Location Filing (RLF) for Type 03 entry summaries
  • Split shipment processing
  • Partner Government Agency (PGA) message set
  • Document Imaging System (DIS)
  • Elimination of paper entry summaries
  • ACE Cargo Manifest Entry Release Query
  • More data available including expanded AD/CVD query
  • Enhanced reporting capabilities
  • Faster CBP response
  • Decreased courier and administrative costs


As published in US Customs’ “ACEopedia”, real users are talking about the tangible, significant economic benefits they now realize by using ACE for trade processing:

  • “This system makes it more secure to transfer goods. We can track what is in the shipment, where it is now, and where it is going. Drivers, no longer waiting a day for their shipment to arrive, can get on the road, and businesses are thrilled not to have to pay for their accommodations during layovers anymore. Fast delivery leads to fresher produce, which is the major import from the southern border, and quick arrival to markets leads to better business and buyer gratification.”
    – Jose Santana, President, J.D. Transport
  • “I use the reports feature extensively. It is extremely valuable to us. I am able to view the value for each of the Importer of Record numbers and the number of imports. The individual importers can see the number of compliance reviews by CBP and the compliance rate, including the reason for discrepancies, even down to the port level.”
    – Don Huber, Customs Manager, GE
  • “If the cash flow advantage alone in not enough to entice importers to take advantage of the ACE Secure Data Portal, access to payment information and reporting tools is a signification bonus for importers who have no on-line access to import data stored within the Automated Commercial System (ACS).”
    – Ronald Schoof, Global Trade Compliance Manager, Caterpillar Inc.
  • “Drivers are saving on average three to four hours per day, per driver, which increases their overall earnings.”
    – Bart Smith, President, Olmstead Transportation</li>
  • “The e-Manifest process offers faster, more predictable processing of shipments. We’ve been processing e-Manifests with 100 percent success. The drivers really like the system and the time it saves them.”
    – Jevon Jamieson, ABF Freight System Inc.
  • “We’ve benefited from ACE Periodic Payment, which streamlines the flow of goods by eliminating the need to pay duties and taxes on a transaction-by-transaction basis.”
    – Eric Dalby, Global Trade Services Specialist, Kellwood Global NY
  • 01 - Consumption
  • 02 - Consumption ‑ Quota/Visa
  • 03 - Consumption - Antidumping/Countervailing Duty
  • 06 - Consumption ‑ Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ)
  • 07 - Consumption ‑ Antidumping/Countervailing Duty and Quota/Visa Combination
  • 11 - Informal
  • 12 - Informal ‑ Quota/Visa (other than textiles)
  • 21 - Warehouse
  • 22 - Re‑Warehouse
  • 23 - Temporary Importation Bond (TIB)
  • 31 - Warehouse Withdrawal Consumption
  • 32 - Warehouse Withdrawal ‑ Quota
  • 34 - Warehouse Withdrawal Antidumping/Countervailing Duty
  • 38 - Warehouse Withdrawal ‑ Antidumping/Countervailing Duty & Quota/Visa Combination
  • 51 - Defense Contract Administration Service Region (DCASR)
  • 52 - Government ‑ Dutiable

All PGA requirements at time of entry or entry summary filing will also be met through ACE, unless covered by any of the four exemptions below:

  1. Data provided by trade filers who are required or elect to file entirely in paper
  2. Data currently provided to agencies in paper forms, when those agencies have received concurrence from the Administration for the continued use of specific paper documents
  3. Data required by agencies that have not completed regulatory amendments to authorize the collection of data electronically
  4. Electronic submissions of supplemental information filed directly with a PGA, until technical capabilities are available to file such information in ACE via the Document Image System (DIS) or otherwise (which shall occur no later than the December 2016 deadline).

Hybrid submissions, those that are a combination of electronically submitted information via ACE and paper forms, will only be allowed for those PGAs who have received Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) approval to continue to request supplemental information via paper. For all other submissions, if the filer is not able to submit all information electronically, the entire submission, including entry, entry summary and PGA information, will have to be filed via paper. CBP and the PGAs will continue to provide additional information on exemptions (b) through (d) as soon as it is available for public release.

The following PGAs have been identified as having requirements at the time of entry/entry summary that must be accounted for in order to the meet the November 1, 2015 filing deadline. A list of the PGA Forms that will be required on November 1st and the mechanism through which they must be submitted is now available here.

Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
Enforcement and Compliance (E&C)

Defense Contracts Management Agency (DCMA)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC)

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade (TTB)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Effective November 1, 2015, ACE will become CBP’s official system of record for all electronically transmitted entry and corresponding entry summary data.

Benefits of paying duties via Periodic Monthly Statement (PMS)

Many importers may not be aware of the advantages of paying duties and fees to US Customs via the Periodic Monthly Statement (PMS) feature in ACE.

  • Improved cash flow – payments of duties and fees are deferred until the 15th day of the following month, offering up to a 45 day interest-free float on this cash
  • Facilitates receiving of imports shipments into inventory sooner if not obligated to pay duties and fees until following month
  • Ease and predictability
    Payments are collected once a month instead of on a transaction-by-transaction basis, reducing administrative costs
    At month end, running a simple report will indicate what payments will be due the next month.
    Gain visibility to the duty in real time in ACE
    Eliminates need to receive daily statements from every broker at every