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User Fee, Transponder, and Decal Information

User Fee Decal and Transponder Information

On April 7, 1986, President Ronald Reagan signed the Consolidate Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) (P.L. 99-272), which authorizes the U.S. Customs Service to collect user fees for various services. The law initially established processing fees for air and sea passengers, commercial trucks, rail cars, private vessels, dutiable mail packages, and Customs broker permits. The collection of the COBRA fees for Customs services began on July 7, 1986. The User Fee was established to offset inspection costs that were previously funded solely by general taxpayer revenue. For more information please see 19 U.S.C. § 58c Fees For Certain Customs Services.

By law, an agency shall collect a claim of the United States Government for money arising out of its activities, 31 U.S.C. § 3711(a)(1). The Federal Claims Collection Standards (31 C.F.R. Parts 900-904), state that "Federal agencies shall aggressively collect all debts arising out of activities of, or referred or transferred for collection services to, that agency. Collection activities shall be undertaken promptly with follow-up action taken as necessary." 31 C.F.R. § 901.1(a).

How to Apply for a User Fee Decal/Transponder

You can apply online for a User Fee Decal/Transponder on the Decal and Transponder Online Procurement System (DTOPS) website.

If you do not have an online account, please follow the directions below:

  • Go to the DTOPS website (DTOPS)
  • Click Register
  • Complete the required fields, click Next
  • Choose five security questions, click Next
  • The User ID will be displayed, click Login
  • Enter the assigned User ID and the password you created
  • Link the account if you purchased a User Fee the previous year: Please refer to your receipt to obtain the Account ID Number and the Decal/Transponder number.

You can also apply by sending in a paper application. You can find the applications on cbp.gov

  • Click on Forms on the left side of the page
  • All CBP forms are in numerical order
  • A aircraft decal form is form number 339A
  • A vessel decal form is form number 339V
  • A commercial vehicle transponder form is form number 339C

User Fee Payment Required
Payment of the User Fee is required if:

  • You operate a vehicle for commercial purposes that enters the United States.
  • You operate a private vessel that is 30 feet or more in length that enters the United States.
  • In order to qualify as a private vessel requiring a decal, the vessel cannot carry passengers who pay a fare.

  • You operate an aircraft, which is non-commercial and enters the United States.

There is more detailed information related to the requirements of the User Fee in the Code of Federal Regulations: 19 CFR 24.22.

Cost of Annual User Fee
Costs of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) User Fees are as follows:

  • Private Aircraft Decal: $27.50 (U.S.) per calendar year*
  • Private Vessel Decal (30 feet or more in length): $27.50 (U.S.) per calendar year*
  • Commercial Vehicle User Fee:
    • $205.00 total
    • $100.00 - U.S. CBP
    • $105.00 Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)**

APHIS is responsible for protecting U.S. crops and livestock from pests and diseases and for monitoring and promoting wildlife management and animal welfare. The current proposal published in the Federal Register on February 26, 2007 indicates the removal of Canada's exemption from the APHIS Fee for Commercial Vehicles is scheduled for June 1, 2007.

The User Fee will not be pro-rated for purchases made mid-year.

The User Fee year begins January 1st and ends December 31st. Therefore, all User Fees expire December 31st and are eligible for renewal.

* The User Fee for Private Aircraft and Vessels (30 Feet or over) increased 10% on April 1, 2007 pursuant to the notice published in the Federal Register on Friday, January 26, 2007.

* Vehicles that do not have an annual User Fee will be required to pay a per crossing fee each time the vehicle enters the United States. If the vehicle's User Fee is not renewed, the transponder will continue to transmit information at the port. However, a per-crossing fee will be charged.

  • Commercial Vehicle Per Crossing Fee
    • $5.50 - U.S. CBP
    • $5.25 Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)**

(Federal Register)

Updating Account and Conveyance Information

Please use the online system to change or update account and conveyance information. Update requests that may be made online will no longer be accepted via email, fax or postal mail.

If you have an online account, please log into the account and complete the update.

  • Account Administrators must update the Account information
    • Address
    • Contact Numbers
    • Account/Contact Names
    • May Add Users to the Account

  • Account Administrators and Account Users may update Conveyance information.
    • Commercial Vehicle
      • License Plate Number
      • Cab Number
      • Color
    • Aircrafts and Vessels
      • Unable to Update Conveyance Information Online

  • The Help Desk must update the following if the conveyance registration has been submitted.
    • Commercial Vehicle
      • VIN
      • Make
      • Model
      • Model Year
    • Aircraft
      • Tail Number
    • Vessel
      • Vessel Name
      • Vessel Hull ID
      • USCG Number
      • Local Registration Number

Questions should be directed to the User Fee Help Desk at (317) 298-1245 or via email at decals@dhs.gov. The fax number is (317) 290-3219.

Commercial Vehicle Information
The transponder, also known as a User Fee, is a sticker that contains a Radio-frequency identification chip (RFID technology) that transmits information about a vehicle and border crossing User Fee payment status.

User Fees are valid for the calendar year only. Transponders have a life span of up to 10 years and remain with the vehicle, even if sold.

Transponders will require replacement when damaged or lost. They also require deactivation from one's fleet when the vehicle is sold. However, transponders are associated with the vehicle's VIN and must remain with the vehicle to which it was assigned.

Vehicle with Transponder

If a vehicle had previously been issued a transponder and the application indicated it was on the vehicle, a new one will not be issued. Once payment for the User Fee has been received, the expiration date on the transponder will be extended to the end of the calendar year for which the User Fee was paid.

If the renewal fee is not paid, the transponder will continue to transmit information at the port. However, a per-crossing fee will be charged.

Vehicle without Transponder

If a vehicle has never been issued a transponder or the application indicated the vehicle's assigned transponder is no longer on the vehicle; a new transponder will be issued once payment for the User Fee has been received. If a transponder is required and is not received with the paperwork, place a replacement order online on the DTOPS website or call or email the User Fee Help Desk at (317) 298-1245 or decals@dhs.gov. (DTOPS)

Placement of Transponder
Before installing a transponder, thorough cleaning is recommended of the inside of the windshield surface with a high quality glass cleaner that does not leave residue. The transponder is to be placed horizontally on the inside lower left of the truck's windshield at least 2-1/2 inches away from the metallic frame but within a band 4-1/2 inches from the bottom of the windshield and at least 3 inches from any other windshield mounted transponder. Transponders CANNOT be affixed to the wing-windows. Areas with glass curvature should be avoided.

The transponder has one side that is printed with the unique identifying alpha/numeric number. The other side of the transponder is coated with an adhesive. The transponder may be placed on the windshield, adhesive to the glass, so that the printed information is readable from the driver's position. Once applied to the windshield, the transponder is not removable. The transponder should remain on the vehicle for the life of the transponder. Any attempt to remove the transponder after application will render it inoperable.

The transponder should never be placed in a vertical position or in a location where it would obstruct the vision of the driver.

Transponder Replacement

If the issued transponder is non-operational, damaged, or lost, you may request a replacement transponder. To receive a replacement transponder you may place an order on the DTOPS website or fax or mail a request to the decal/transponder program administrator:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Attn: DTOPS Program Administrator
6650 Telecom Drive, Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46278
Fax: (317) 290-3219

Vehicle Transfers
If a new vehicle joins a fleet and another company has paid the User Fee for the year, choose to transfer that transponder/vehicle to your transportation company. Transfers may only be completed using your online account. A transponder may not be switched between vehicles.

User Fee Exchange for Vehicle
Because a transponder is assigned to a specific conveyance, it cannot be removed and attached to another conveyance. CBP will exchange a User Fee for a different conveyance if a written request is postmarked no later than 30 calendar days after it was issued. The request must also be made prior to a transfer of the renewed conveyance to another company. Only valid requests will be granted.

The following documentation must be submitted for transponder exchanges:

  • Unused/Used transponder.
  • Itemized receipt that was sent to you with the transponder.
  • New application for the vehicle that will be assigned the replacement transponder. New Payment is no longer required.
  • Signed statement with a brief explanation of the circumstances that required the exchange, including a contact name and telephone number.

* The exception to the 30-day rule: If you purchased a transponder prior to January 1st, it may be exchanged through January 31st of the renewal year.

Mail this information to:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
ATTN: DTOPS Program Administrator
6650 Telecom Drive, Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46278

Change/Update Vehicle Information - See Above Information

Stolen Transponder
Stolen transponders must be reported to CBP. Email decals@dhs.gov or call (317) 298-1245, Monday through Friday 8:00am to 4:00pm EST.

A replacement transponder may be obtained or the per-crossing fee will be required to be paid each time the vehicle enters the U.S.

Customers may be able to report the loss of the User Fee to their insurance company; check with your insurance provider for guidance.

Newly Approved C-TPAT Carriers
Newly approved C-TPAT carriers must update their FAST vehicle information in their online account.

To add a C-TPAT FAST approved carried identification:

  • Log into your DTOPS account
  • Click Manage Conveyance Inventory
  • Select Commercial Vehicle and click Next
  • Click on the VIN to which you want to add the C-TPAT FAST ID
  • Enter the C-TPAT FAST ID and click Update

FAST Account Changes

For address verification or changes, email: Industry.partnership@dhs.gov.

ACE Support Contact Information
Establishing an ACE Account: acenow@dhs.gov.

ACE Help Desk: (866) 530-4172

  • Select Option 1 (Ace Support)

Decal Information
Decals are stickers that are placed on all private aircraft and private vessels (30 feet or more in length) as proof that the User Fee for entry into the U.S. has been paid for the calendar year. Any arriving vessel or aircraft that does not have an annual decal is required to pay a non-refundable per arrival User Fee of $27.50, and complete an application, which will be forwarded to the processing center. The application will be processed, and a decal will be mailed from the processing center.

Placement of Decals - Private Aircraft or Private Vessels

The User Fee decal for private aircraft and private vessels is to be affixed on the outside of the conveyance within 18 inches of the normal boarding area, where it is visible when doors/hatches are open.

If difficulty is experienced in removing the decal backing, move your thumb repeatedly across a corner of the decal. Attempt each corner.

Decal Replacement
When a vessel or aircraft decal has been damaged due to repair or repainting, the following documents must be submitted no later than 6 months after the decal was issued to obtain a replacement decal:

  • A copy of the itemized receipt that was sent to you with the decal number assigned.
  • A copy of the paid repair or painting bill, signed by the company that performed the work, as well as the company's name and address on the signed invoice or letterhead.
  • If your conveyance is a/an:
    • Vessel: identify the vessel name
    • Aircraft: identify the tail number
  • A signed statement with a brief explanation of the circumstances that required the repair or repainting, as well as a contact name and telephone number.

Mail this information to:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
ATTN: DTOPS Program Administrator
6650 Telecom Drive, Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46278

Decal Exchange

Because a decal is assigned to a specific conveyance, it cannot be transferred. CBP will exchange an unused decal for a different conveyance if a written request is postmarked no later than 30 calendar days from which it was issued.*

The following documentation must be submitted for decal exchanges:

  • Unused decal.
  • Itemized receipt that was issued to you with the decal.
  • New application (CF339V or CF339A) for the vessel or aircraft that will be assigned the replacement decal. New Payment is no longer required.
  • Signed statement with a brief explanation of the circumstances that required the exchange, with a contact name and telephone number.

* The exception to the 30-day rule: If you purchased a transponder prior to January 1st, it may be exchanged through January 31st of the renewal year.

Mail this information to:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
ATTN: DTOPS Program Administrator
6650 Telecom Drive, Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46278

Tail Number Change

The following documentation must be submitted to make a change to a tail number:

  • Copy of the new registration
  • Official documentation stating the new and old tail number
  • Signed statement requesting the tail number change and decal number

Fax this information to: (317) 290-3219 or mail to:

Customs and Border Protection
ATTN: DTOPS Program Administrator
6650 Telecom Dr. Suite 100
Indianapolis, IN 46278