PAPS – Pre-Arrival Processing System

US Customs has made PAPS manditory for any company (or individual) transporting commercial goods into the United States.

How it works

Each carrier will attach a label to the commerical invoice and the ACE manifest. For the shipment to be cleared a PAPS barcode label will need to be affixed to the commerical invoice(s) and the second (matching) PAPS barcode label will need to be affixed to your ACE manifest. Fill out the Filer Code for the US Customs Broker that will be clearing the goods and then fax the barcoded invoice(s) to the appropriate US Customs Broker. This US Customs Broker will prepares and files the release of commercial goods with US Customs.

When faxing US Customs make sure your invoice includes a fax cover sheet with:

  • Your contact name and phone number in case of any issues with the fax and/or shipment.
  • Total number of pages that were faxed.
  • Estimated time of arrival of your shipment.

Make sure that when faxing that the commerical invoice(s) and a copy of all other relivant documents received from the shipper. The US Customs brokers usually require 1 to 2 hours to process shipment once the fax is received, so the more time you give the US Customs broker the better chance your documents will be processed.

After the processing is complete, the information will be sent electronically to US Customs. The carrier can then proceed to the border with the bar-coded invoice(s) and manifest. Upon arrival at the primary line the carrier will hand all documents to the US Customs officer. The carriers CF7533 manifest should be on top and the commerical invoice(s) should follow in the order they appear on the manifest.

The US Customs inspector will scan the barcodes and retrieves the release information that should already be entered by the Customs Broker. The entry will be given a “CLEAR” or “INSPECT” tag. If the shipment is “CLEARED” then it will be released and the driver can proceed into the United States. Otherwise, the driver will be directed for further inspection and/or processing.