Update (October 8, 2013):

U. S. Customs and Border Protection will begin enforcement of the requirement to manifest and enter residual cargo beginning November 25, 2013.

In July 2009, U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a ruling requiring all containers (all modes of transportation) to begin filing entry for any residue remaining at the time of entry into the United States.  This was quite a reversal of previous rulings, which had allowed for instruments of international traffic which contain a residue of material be entered as empty.

This led to a great many questions and concerns from industry, and Customs and the trade community have worked hard over the past few years to come to an equitable and workable solution to the problems.

CBP is now set to implement an operational test of this rule, and a new version of the FAQ?s will be published by U.S. Customs as they prepare to launch the pilot.

U.S. Customs has provided a link to the webinar that was conducted for the trade community on April 16, 2013.  A link to that webinar can be found here:

Webinar: Manifesting and Entry of Residue Found in Instruments of International Traffic

At the time of the ruling, CBP determined that the trade community needed additional time to fully understand and comply with the ruling?s requirements, and thus the ruling has been in an ?informed compliance? stage for the past 24 months. While there have been a few ?false starts? in this mandate, and CBP still has not scheduled a set date for the pilot, CBP now states that full enforcement of this ruling is expected to begin during this fiscal year.

The first step in this process will be publication of a Federal Register notice, at which point the test will proceed in 30 days, with an informed compliance period of 60 days, and enforced compliance after that time.  U.S. Customs notes that once that test begins, all companies will be mandated to comply with the new requirements.  The following is a brief highlight of the requirements:

  • All Instruments of International Traffic containing residual chemicals, cargo, goods, etc. that are destined to the United States must be manifested and entered in compliance with U. S. Customs laws;
  • If qualified, shipments containing residual goods can be entered as American Goods Returned (AGR);
  • No additional bonding will be required.  Most shipments will be released under Section 321, providing that the value of the residue is less than or equal to $200 in order to qualify;
  • The manifest record is required to be retained by the carrier for a period of five years;
  • Percentages vary depending on the mode of transportation - rail = 7% or less, truck & ocean = 3% or less, and air = 5% or less;
  • The weight of residue will be required for all modes of transportation


We note that the webinar, linked above, is an excellent and the most current source of information regarding this issue.

We encourage you to use the short remaining time before enforcement to understand how these regulations will affect your firm, and to make the necessary adjustments within your organization to assure compliance before the enforcement date.

As always, Pacific Customs Brokers stands ready to assist you in this matter. If you have any questions about manifesting and entry of residue found in instruments of international traffic into the USA, please contact our Border Pro eManifest Team at 855.542.6644  or via email at emanifest@borderpro.ca. We also welcome your questions in our comments section below.

Additional Resources:

  1. Federal Register Volume 78, Number 166 - Announcement of Test Concerning Manifesting and Entry of Residue Found in Instruments of International Traffic (IITs)
  2. Information Regarding Manifesting and Entry of Residue Found in Instruments of International Traffic (IITs)


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While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.