Automated Manifest System (AMS)

The Automated Manifest System (AMS) is the system used by US customs to process documents required for shipments entering the US. Introduced in 2004, it mandates airline and ocean carriers to submit precise cargo details within specified timeframes for shipments arriving at US ports and airports. Typically, freight forwarders complete the AMS filing instead of carriers.

There are two filing points:

Cargo reporting before loading: Carriers must submit an Importer Security Filing (ISF) and two other documents at least 24 hours before loading cargo onto the ship or plane. If goods are in transit, carriers must provide 5 ISF data elements.

Conveyance report before arrival: Forwarders submit customs entry information before the ship arrives, using details from the ocean manifest (House Bill of Lading) and Commercial Invoice.