Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual > 5 Nonpostal Export Regulations > 520 Foreign Trade Regulations — U.S. Census Bureau > 524 Internal Transaction Number (ITN)
U.S. Census Bureau regulations require electronic filing of export information through the Automated Export System (AES) or Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) AESDirect system for certain outbound international shipments of goods. Before mailing, a customer subject to this filing requirement is responsible for presenting an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) or AES Downtime Citation (see 525) as evidence of compliance.
An ITN is the number assigned to a shipment confirming that the AES accepted the Electronic Export Information (EEI) and has it on file. Every AES shipment must have a unique ITN. For the purposes of AES filing, a shipment is all goods (regardless of the number of packages) tendered to the United States Postal Service on the same day from one U.S. Principal Party in Interest (USPPI) to one addressee. As noted in 15 CFR 30.1(c), the Foreign Trade Regulations define the USPPI as “the person or legal entity in the United States that receives the primary benefit, monetary or otherwise, from the export transaction.”
Electronic filing of export information is required when any of the following applies:
- The value of any type of goods is over $2,500, unless an AES Exemption applies (see 526). For this purpose, value is measured according to all goods within the same Schedule B number or Harmonized Tariff Schedule number that is mailed from the same sender to the same recipient on the same day. (Schedule B is available at census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b/index.html. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule is available at hts.usitc.gov.) The following three examples illustrate the value criterion:
- Example 1: An insured Priority Mail International package contains one mechanical watch (Schedule B item number 9101.11.0000) valued at $2,400, and one electronic watch (Schedule B item number 9101.91.0000) valued at $2,400. The total value of goods to be mailed is $4,800, but because the mechanical watch and electronic watch are in different Schedule B groups, no group of items within the same Schedule B number is valued at more than $2,500. Consequently, electronic filing and an ITN is not required. Rather, AES Exemption “NOEEI 30.37(a)” applies, assuming that none of the separate requirements in 524.21b–g apply.
- Example 2: An insured Priority Mail International package contains two mechanical watches (Schedule B item number 9101.11.0000), each of which is valued at $1,300, for a total value of $2,600. These two items are in the same Schedule B number, and the value of all items within the same Schedule B number is more than $2,500. Consequently, electronic filing and an ITN is required (unless an exemption applies).
- Example 3: Person A sends two insured Priority Mail International packages to Person B on the same day. The first package contains one mechanical watch valued at $1,300, and the second package contains an identical watch, also valued at $1,300. The total value of goods within the same Schedule B number is $2,600, which is more than $2,500. Consequently, electronic filing and an ITN is required (unless an exemption applies).
- The shipment is destined to Iran, Sudan, or Syria and does not qualify for the “foreign libraries” exemption described in 526.2e (for example, the shipment contains goods other than exempt items, or the shipment contains exempt items but is not being sent to a library or similar institution).
- The shipment contains goods, is destined to Cuba or North Korea, and does not qualify for the exemption for shipments to foreign libraries (see 526.2e) or the exemption for gift parcels and humanitarian donations as defined by 15 CFR § 740.12.
- The shipment qualifies as a “gift parcel or humanitarian donation” and is destined for the Crimea region of Ukraine, but requires a specific license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control. (See 510 for more information.)
- The item requires an export license under U.S. law. (See 510, 530, 540, 560, and 590 for additional information.)
- The item is authorized by an exemption under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, 22 CFR Parts 123-126. (See 540 for additional information.)
- The shipment involves a party designated on the BIS Unverified List, which is available at bis.doc.gov/index.php/policy-guidance/lists-of-parties-of-concern/unverified-list.
Note: The countries in 524.21b and c are those identified in Country Groups E:1 and E:2 in the Export Administration Regulations, 15 CFR Part 740, Supplement No. 1.
ACE AESDirect requires each mailer to have an employer identification number (EIN) and an ACE Exporter Account. Therefore, a first-time filer must complete the following steps:
- Obtain an EIN from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) at
Note: A mailer does not have to be an employer to apply for an EIN.
- Set up an ACE Exporter Account on the Customs and Border Protection Web site at cbp.gov/trade/automated/getting-started/portal-applying. Under “Applying for an Account,” in Step 3, select the option for “Exporters: Apply here” to complete and submit the online form.
Note: For account verification purposes, the “Shared Secret Value” is the “User ID.”
A customer who has obtained an EIN and has established an ACE Exporter Account must complete the following steps:
- Log into the customer’s existing ACE Exporter Account at ace.cbp.dhs.gov.
- Use the following information when completing the EEI fields:
- The “Port of Export” code for shipping through the Postal Service is “8000.”
- The “Mode of Transport” is “Mail.”
- Leave the carrier as “SCAC/IATA,” and leave the conveyance name fields blank.
- Complete the remaining data fields and file EEI. For more information about filing EEI, refer to the ACE AESDirect User Guide at census.gov/foreign-trade/aes/aesdirect/AESDirect-User-Guide.pdf.
After the customer files the EEI, the AES will send a response message indicating the status of the shipment by e-mail or through the ACE Shipment Manager. A successful filing will receive an ITN as confirmation that the AES has accepted the EEI. A rejected filing will receive a rejection statement.
When completing the customs form(s), the mailer must include the ITN as described in 527. The ITN is unique for every AES shipment and is applicable for multiple packages sent from one USPPI to one addressee when the mailer tenders the packages to the United States Postal Service on the same day (see 524.1).
Note: If the AES is not functioning, call the U.S. Census Bureau’s toll-free information hotline at 800-549-0595, option 1. For more information on electronic filing, use option 3.