The Automated Manifest System (AMS) is the system used by US customs for submitting documents they require for processing shipments coming into the US. Introduced in 2004, this system requires airline carriers and ocean carriers to submit within prescribed time limits, precise details of cargo arriving at US ports and airports. In practice, the freight forwarder, rather than the carrier, typically complete AMS filing.
There are two points at which shipment details must be filed:
- Cargo reporting is required before loading: Under 10+2 regulations, carriers must submit Importer Security Filing (ISF), along with two other documents, at least 24 hours before the shipment is loaded on the ship or plane used for the main transit. In cases where the goods are in-transit, the carrier is required to enter 5 ISF data elements.
- Conveyance report is required before arrival: Forwarders submit customs entry lodgement before the ship arrives in port, from information collected from the ocean manifest (House Bill of Lading) and Commercial Invoice.