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Electronic Vessel Manifest Confidentiality

Confidential Treatment of Vessel Manifest Data

While U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cannot guarantee that the identity of parties to importation and exportation will never be published, CBP strives to afford confidentiality based on the information furnished.

Regarding disclosure of vessel manifest information, “members of the public shall not be permitted to examine vessel manifests. However, they may request and obtain from Customs, information from vessel manifests” (19 C.F.R. § 103.31).

Anticipating this type of request, “an importer or consignee may request confidential treatment of its name and address contained in inward manifests … [and] of the name and address of the shipper or shippers to such importer or consignee” (19 C.F.R. § 103.31).

Similarly, shippers may request confidential treatment of the shipper’s name and address contained in an outward manifest.

For more information, see Information on Vessel Manifests and Summary Statistical Reports, 19 C.F.R. § 103.31.

Requesting Confidential Treatment of Vessel Manifest Data

Currently, ocean carriers, importers, consignees and shippers utilizing ocean transportation may submit an electronic vessel manifest confidentiality request through the following methods:

Once received, CBP processes the confidentiality request according to the information provided. For confidentiality to be effective, the name provided must exactly match the importer/consignee name as it is entered electronically in the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) by the trade or their carrier/filing party. It is the responsibility of the requesting entity to verify that they are providing an accurate request.

The granting of confidentiality will be valid for two (2) years from the date the request is processed and covers all ports of entry. Renewal requests should be made at least 60-90 days prior to expiration of the current approval.

There is no fee associated with the request for confidentiality. 

Additional Information for Vessel Manifest Confidentiality Requests via Mail/Email

There is no prescribed format for requesting confidentiality via mail/email, and requestors should follow guidance found in 19 C.F.R. § 103.31 when preparing to submit a request.

Once received, CBP will send an acknowledgement letter (via the method in which the request was received) to the requestor confirming that confidentiality has been granted (or renewed) and confirming the date the confidentiality becomes effective. For these submissions, please be sure to include the U.S. mailing address and U.S. EIN.

Last modified: 
May 26, 2020