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  4. Frequently Asked Questions on 97H Shipment Holds

Frequently Asked Questions on 97H Shipment Holds

Welcome to the AES 97H Holds FAQ page. To see the answer to one of the questions listed below, click the arrow next to that question. If you don't see your question, please feel free to reach out to one of the support resources listed on our ACE Support page.


Only U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers (CBPO) can issue. Only the Electronic Export Information (EEI) filer will receive the notification. There is no Secondary Notify Party concept in the Automated Export System Trade Interface Requirements (AESTIR). Depending on the initial EEI filing, 97H and 97R will be transmitted by either email (AESDirect) or EDI message (for EDI submissions).

No, 97H is optional and will be sent to EEI filer at the discretion of the CBPO initiating the hold. Notification will most likely be determined based on the type of merchandise. The CBPO may opt to send a 97H message if they want to notify the EEI filer to stop the shipment at time of export. Other inspection actions, such as non-intrusive exams or a request to provide additional documentation or information, could also be a 97H.

It varies, as holds are at the CBPOs’ discretion based on various factors and information at the time they are issued. Some examples could be, but are not limited to: physical exams of used/new vehicles, Intellectual Property Rights and/or trademark, in bond freight, or vague descriptions of cargo. Holds are typically used to prevent cargo from departing or requesting documents to verify information for other government agencies’ licensing/permit requirements.

This is difficult to calculate, but EEI filers should expect to receive the 97H hold at the same rate as previous hold notifications. For example, if an EEI filer receives an average of ten phone calls/emails from their local CBP office, they can expect to receive the same average of 97H hold messages. It’s important to remember that this is a manually generated hold, so enforcement can depend on current workload and staffing. This functionality simply allows notification to be done through the Automated Export System (AES) rather than by phone or email.

The expectation is that the EEI filer should contact CBP via the contact information provided in the hold and request further information.

EEI filers should contact the phone number provided in the 97H hold and request further instructions, but the location will typically be the port of export in the EEI.

The location to make the shipment available to CBP is determined by the port that issued the hold or where it is operationally feasible to occur for CBP. For example, if a 97H hold is placed by the Port of Houston and the goods are located in New York, CBP may choose to attempt to have the hold resolved at a port in New York or have the goods returned to the Port of Houston.

Contact the phone number in the 97H, advise that goods were exported with the date and location of export, advise if there is a next port of call, and await further instructions from CBP. If the cargo has been delivered at its destination, provide the date of release and any other information requested by the holding officer. The port that issued the hold will determine if they wish to issue a request for redelivery.

The EEI filer is often no longer in possession of the goods, but as the agent for the USPPI, it is their responsibility to contact the carrier to reconcile the active hold. Contact the CBPO and gather the information provided, then relay the information to the carrier or advise the CBPO that the cargo is located at the terminal. Most likely, the goods will be examined at the terminal. This would have to be coordinated by the CBPO and the carrier. To assist with locating the cargo, provide as much information to CBP (e.g., Bill of Lading Number/Air Waybill Number and carrier name) to resolve the issue. If goods have not arrived at the terminal but are en route, then provide those details to CBP and the carrier.

No other agencies can place holds on EEI filings.

The EEI filer receives 97H “Shipment on Hold Contact CBP xxx-xxx-xxxx.”


97H “Shipment on Hold Contact CBP xxx-xxx-xxxx” and 97R “Shipment Released”.

97H is triggered only by CBPOs, so only after the EEI is submitted can 97H hold message be received by the EEI filer.

Yes, EEI on hold can be updated. The AES also captures and displays all updates to the EEI in the Export Cargo User Interface.

The phone number will be entered by the initiating CBPO when the hold is placed. Instructions have been provided to the CBPO that the phone number entered be to the CBPO’s office.

Continue to try and contact CBP at the number provided. CBPO guidance ensures that there should be phone coverage during business hours.

AES delivers messages one of two ways, either by email or by electronic data interface (EDI). How messages are sent to EEI filers depends on how the EEI was filed. If the EEI filer submitted via AESDirect, all messages will be sent by email. Email responses will always be delivered to the email address(es) entered in Step 1 Shipment information section when filling the EEI. The EEI filer must ensure email address(es) must be valid and checked regularly for responses.

Yes, as with the introduction of any new messages, third party software vendors and service providers need to program to accept and display the new message.

The severity for 97H is informational.


Last Modified: Aug 18, 2023