The Electronic Export Information or (EEI) is the electronic version and replacement of the paper Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED). The EEI contains all pertinent export data of an international shipment transaction. Data from EEI filings help the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ensure compliance with export regulations and the Census Bureau to calculate trade statistics.
What is EEI Filing?
Electronic export information filing is required for most export shipments under Schedule B number, which are valued at more than $2,500 and sent from the same exporter to the same recipient on the same day. This applies to shipments from the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands to foreign destinations and shipments from the U.S. or Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The following shipments also require EEI filing regardless of value:
· Shipments that require an export license or permit
· Shipments subject to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR)
· Shipments sent to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria
· Shipments containing rough diamonds
The following shipments are exempt from EEI filing:
· Shipments from the U.S. to Canada, unless the shipment or merchandise is subject to ITAR, is rough diamonds, or requires an export license or permit
· Shipments to American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Howland Islands and Wake Island
· Shipments from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the U.S. or Puerto Rico
Before shipping merchandise out of the U.S., the exporter should get the Schedule B number for the article they plan to ship. The Schedule B number is used to identify the goods being exported. If the shipment contains container or baggage along with the goods valued at over $2,500, the exporter must file the EEI and provide the International Transaction Number (ITN). The ITN is the receipt of confirmation that the EEI has been accepted in Automated Export System (AES) and serves as the proof of filing. The ITN should be included in the bills of lading and Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) to let the forwarder and CBP know that you’ve filed EEI.
If you or the U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) is sending the goods through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), you need to file EEI only if the entire shipment is valued over $2,500 under Schedule B or it requires an export license. In this case, the ITN or exemption citation should be sent to the post office. If shipping through a forwarder, you have different filing options: self-filing through ACE (free of charge), providing the forwarder with a Power of Attorney (POA) to file EEI on your behalf (fees apply), or providing your company’s printed EEI or commercial invoice (requires POA).
EEI Filing and Automated Export System (AES)
EEI data must be filed through AES whenever an AES filing is required. Previously, exporters or freight forwarders used the Census Bureau’s AESDirect website to file EEI. When the legacy AESDirect system was retired in April 2016, the new AES was added to the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) operated by CBP. The transition to ACE is part of the government’s efforts to streamline import and export processing and facilitate compliance using a single window for all transactions.
In general, it is the responsibility of the USPPI or the exporter to file EEI through AESDirect. The USPPI can also give authorization to their freight forwarder or another party to prepare and file EEI on their behalf. For routed export transactions, it is the Foreign Principal Party in Interest (FPPI) or ultimate consignee that must provide written authorization or Power of Attorney to submit the EEI to the USPPI OR a U.S. Authorized Agent.
EEI Filing and Tracking: Required Information
The following information is required when filing EEI (Detailed EEI requirements can be found on the U.S. Census Bureau and AES websites):
· U.S. Principal Party in Interest "EIN" or Employer Identification Number/Tax ID (if the shipper is a corporation)
· Social Security number (if the shipper is an individual)
· Parties to Transaction (to indicate whether the sender or recipient is unrelated or subsidiaries of the same company)
· Transportation Reference Number or International Air Waybill
· Ultimate Consignee or end user of the shipment is required (if the ultimate consignee is different from the consignee on the air waybill)
· Country of Ultimate Destination
· Domestic or Foreign or Military in AES (whether the merchandise is a domestic or foreign commodity)
· Schedule B Number (6-digit Commodity Classification Number in AES)
· Value or selling price/cost
· License No. (License Number/Citation in AES)
· Export Control Classification Number - ECCN (required for commodities shipped under an export license or license exception symbol)
In addition to the above, specific and conditional data may be required to be included in AESDirect filings for certain export transactions. The information you need ultimately depends on the shipment type, the merchandise being exported, and the party you are shipping to.
The Automated Export System (AES)
The AES used to be the platform where exporters filed EEI to the Census Bureau. In spring 2016, the legacy AES was migrated to ACE, which is operated by CBP. Exporters that file EEI or any electronic data must now use ACE. By December 31, 2016, CBP and other agencies will use ACE as the primary platform for receiving required data for clearance of export shipments and release of import shipments. While the platform has transitioned from AES to ACE, EEI is still considered AES filings that are regulated primarily by Foreign Trade Regulations.
If you are an importer, you probably already use ACE for import filings to CBP and other government agencies. If you are an exporter, you must register for an ACE account using the ACE Exporter Account application. Registration is easy and takes only a few minutes. Make sure to create a main account first and add to the main account the Employer Identification Number/s (EIN) that you want to use. For exporters and importers/exporters that use third party software to connect to ACE, you can simply add an exporter account to the existing ACE account.
EEI Filing Options
Exporters can use the ACE Portal, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), or a third-party solution to file export data directly to CBP. Exporters that use ACE benefit from advance validation of the Internal Transaction Number (ITN), advance notification of holds before loading, automatic closing out of in-bond transactions with one departure message, and Remote Location Filing (RLF) for all ACE entry summaries.
Exporters have multiple EDI filing options under the new ACE AESDirect: EDI bulk upload, AES direct transmission via Virtual Private Network (VPN), AESDirect transmission via VAN (Value-Added Network), and AESDirect Transmission via a certified third-party service provider such as CrimsonLogic.
EDI Bulk Upload
Exporters can upload bulk files in Automated Export System Trade Interface Requirements (AESTIR) or X12 format from their computer to the AESDirect portal for processing. Users can view and edit batch EEI filings in the system and receive ITNs via email. This option requires an ACE exporter account.
AESDirect VPN Transmission
Once the legacy AES system is moved to ACE, exporters can no longer file EEI to AESDirect via VPN. During the transition period, exporters can use the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) approved VPN client. This option requires an Interconnection Security Agreement (ISA) and Letter of Intent (LOI) to have a CBP client representative start the connectivity process with DHS and test your connection with CBP. However, to send EEI via VPN, you must also have your own software or purchase software from a vendor.
AESDirect VAN Transmission
Exporters that use value-added networks to connect to AESDirect exchange information with CBP via secure connections such as HTTPs, FTP, and VPN. VANs also convert data and messages to be compatible with CPB systems. To use AESDirect transmission via VAN, you need a Letter of Intent to have a CBP client representative start the connectivity process with DHS and test your connection with CBP. However, testing can be time consuming. ISA is not required
AESDirect Transmission via Service Provider or Service Center
Instead of establishing a direct VPN or VAN connection with CBP, some firms prefer to partner with a service provider for an indirect connection. A service provider acts on the behalf of the exporter to send EEI and other data to CBP via ACE AESDirect using their own network connection. The client pays a fee for this service. This option requires a Letter of Intent (LOI) to have a CBP client representative start the connectivity process with DHS and test your connection with CBP. ISA is not required.
Web-Based EEI Filing and Tracking
CrimsonLogic’s Global eTrade Services (GeTS) is a CBP certified service provider offering leading Automated Export System (AES) software for exporters. The software allows web-based EEI filing directly to CBP and receipt of Internal Transaction Numbers (ITN). With the web-based interface, users can quickly enter EEI details, confirm an ITN, and produce supporting documentation. When preparing EEI, mandatory entry fields are highlighted, so you don’t miss anything. Also, unlike other filing options, GeTS AES features 24/7 customer support, a secure corporate account, multiple plans and connectivity options, report generation, and advanced integration options.
GeTS AES software also lets you track real-time status reports and ITN notifications. Optimize time savings and minimize errors with the GeTS AES XML integration with industry standard real-time messaging capabilities. Multiple subscription options are available: choose the web service for the on-the-go EEI filing; the fax service for EEI processing via fax or email; or software integration with existing in-house systems for seamless EEI filing. Visit our website to learn more.