All You Need to Know When Filing through AES

If your company exports goods, than you should know that according to the U.S. Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR) it is necessary to file your export information electronically through AES, the Automated Export System. It is important to follow the requirement and to do it right otherwise  the consequences of filing incorrectly can be costly.

If the process of filing through AES is new to you, or if you need a refresher, please see the information below:

What is AES?

On April 5, 2014, the Automated Export System (AES) was re-engineered and incorporated into the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) trade processing system.  AES capabilities allow the electronic filing of export information and ocean manifest information directly to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

AES is the system U.S. exporters use to electronically declare their international exports, known as Electronic Export Information (EEI), to the Census Bureau to help compile U.S. export and trade statistics. It is also used by other government agencies for trade enforcement purposes.

What are the benefits of AES?

AES has advantages for everyone no matter who you are: exporter, carrier, freight forwarder, port authority, service center, non-vessel operating common carrier, consolidator

  • Ensure Export Compliance –  AES, with its sophisticated editing system – and your subsequent corrections, ensures your compliance with current U.S. export reporting requirements. The system returns an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) as confirmation that you successfully filed your export documentation.
  • Correct Errors as They Occur – AES provides immediate feedback to the filer when data is omitted or incorrect. AES allows you to correct errors at any point in time.
  • Decrease Your Costs –  AES eliminates the cost of corrections with up-front data edits and eliminates the costly delays of paper handling and duplicate reporting.
  • Eliminate Paper Review of Licenses Against Shipments – The interface with the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security and the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls electronically validates data on export shipments against previously approved licenses and transmits the transaction to the appropriate Partnership Agency.
  • Keep in Step With the Global Shift to EDI –  AES is in line with the NAFTA and GATT agreements. AES export certification could start the 60-day clock for presentation of evidence of duty payment to another NAFTA country. This will make it easier to do business in multiple countries.
  • Provide a Tool for Evaluating and Measuring Potential Markets –  Accurate and timely export statistics from accurate trade data will help your business stay ahead in the global trade market.

When do I need to apply for Electronic Export Information (EEI)?

As a general rule, if your company exports goods valued at more than $2,500 per Schedule B number to anywhere other than Canada or goods that require an export license, the EEI should be filed. A single carrier is an individual vessel, plane, truck, or rail car, not a steamship line or airline.

There are instances when the EEI is not required. Some examples of when the EEI does not have to be prepared by an exporter and filed by the carrier are as follows:

Exporters sending shipments in which the ultimate destination is Canada, as long as the goods are not licensed or contain rough or uncut diamonds, or shipments to U.S. possessions (i.e. Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Midway Island, Wake Island and American Samoa). However, if the shipments ultimate destination is the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico the EEI must be filed.

Please watch the U.S. Census Bureau video for a more complete description of when you must file.

Who can submit an Electronic Export Information (EEI)?

The U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI), often the exporter or manufacturer, can file an Electronic Export Information (EEI) or they can delegate it to an Authorized agent to file on behalf of the USPPI.

What do I need to start electronic filing?

  • Step 1 – File Letter of Intent to Census.

Upon receipt of the letter, a CBP Client Representative and a Census Client Representative will be assigned to serve as your technical advisor during development, testing and implementation.

  • Step 2 – Choose Interface Method

The following implementation methods are available for interfacing with AES:

  1. Create your own AES program.
  2. Purchase AES-certified software from a vendor.
  3. Use a paid AES service center.
  4. Use AESDirect or any of its enhancements free of charge
  • Step 3 – Certification
    There is an initial two-part communication test to ascertain whether your system is capable of both transmitting data to and receiving data from AES. You must demonstrate specific system application capabilities successfully as a prerequisite to certification for AES. The CBP and Census client representatives provide support during testing and make the determination to whether or not you qualify for certification.

What is Letter of Intent (LOI)?

The Letter of Intent (LOI) is a written statement of a company’s desire to participate in the AES, and implies the development or purchase of a software solution by your company, which conforms to the AES data formats.

The Letter of Intent (LOI) provides basic company profile information and sets forth a commitment to develop, maintain and adhere to CBP and Census performance requirements and operational standards. The LOI may be submitted online.

Does AES require a DUNS number? 

“DUNS” (the Data Universal Number System) is a registered trademark of The Dun and Bradstreet Corporation.

AES requires an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and allows the reporting of the DUNS number as one of several ways to identify a party in an export transaction

If you don’t have the DUNS number, please visit the Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. website or call 1-800-333-0505 for more information if you wish to register with them, but AES does not require a DUNS number for AES filing. There is no charge to obtain a unique nine-digit D & B DUNS number for your company.


If you have any questions, please call a toll-free AES Hotline at 1-800-549-0595 or visit CBP Web site


The source:

CBP Web site

United States Census Bureau Web site

16 Terms You Need to Know When Filing through AES