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  4. Vessel Entrance and Clearance System (VECS)

Vessel Entrance and Clearance System (VECS)

The Vessel Entrance and Clearance System (VECS) will be a complete digitization and automation of the Entrance and Clearance process. VECS will allow vessel masters, operators, and agents to submit certain vessel entry and clearance data and requests to CBP electronically, instead of submitting paper forms, as currently required by CBP regulations. Specifically, this VECS will allow participants to submit the data required on CBP Forms 26, 226, 1300, 1302, 1303, 1304, and 3171 electronically through VECS prior to arrival or departure from designated ports.

The Maritime Forms Automation VECS Test Federal Register Notice (FRN) will be the “VECS Pilot” and will outline the particulars of the pilot. VECS started on February 21, 2023, at a single, low traffic port for initial testing of the live system and has expanded to the ports listed below. CBP will continue to add ports until all seaports across the country are on the pilot. As ports are added to the pilot, CBP HQ will work with local Field Offices and Ports to coordinate training for both CBP field personnel and vessel agents. The pilot is expected to run for 2 years in order to get all ports and vessel agencies onboard and to allow time for regulatory updates.

VECS Deployed Ports

West Coast Code
Los Angeles, CA 2704
Long Beach, CA 2709
Port Hueneme, CA 2713
San Diego, CA 2501
Honolulu, HI 3201
Hilo, HI 3202
Kahului, HI 3203
Kono, HI 3206
Nawiliwili-Port Allen, HI 3204
Oakland, CA 2811
San Francisco, CA 2809
Eureka, CA 2802
Stockton, CA 2810
Sacramento, CA 2816
Juneau, AK 3101
Ketchikan, AK 3102
Stika, AK 3115
Skagway, AK 3103
Wrangell, AK 3105
Dalton Cache, AK 3106
Anchorage, AK 3126
Faribanks, AK 3111
Nome, AK 3128
Dutch Harbor, AK 3129
Portland, OR 2904
Astoria, OR 2901
Coos Bay, OR 2903
Newport, OR 2902
Longview, WA 2905
Vancouver, WA 2908

 

Great Lakes Code
Ogdensburg, NY 0701
Buffalo-Niagara Falls 0901
Rochester, NY 0903
Oswego, NY 0904
Albany, NY 1002
Duluth, MN 3510
Milwaukee, WI 3701
Marinette, WI 3702
Green Bay, WI 3703
Detroit, MI 3801
Port Huron, MI 3802
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 3803
Saginaw/Bay City, MI 3804
Battle Creek, MI 3805
Grand Rapids, MI 3806
Escanaba, MI 3808
Marquette, MI 3809
Muskegon, MI 3815
Rogers City, MI 3818
De Tour, MI 3819
Mackinaw City, MI 3820
Presque Isle, MI 3842
Alpena, MI 3843
Chicago, IL 3901
Cleveland, OH 4101
Toledo, OH 4105
Erie, PA 4106
Ashtabula/Conneaut 4122

 

The Gulf Code
Gulfport, MS 1902
Pascagoula, MS 1903
Mobile, AL 1901
Pensacola, FL 1819
Panama City, FL 1818
Morgan City, LA 2001
New Orleans, LA 2002
Baton Rouge, LA 2004
Gramercy, LA 2010
Lake Charles, LA 2017

 

Southeast Code
Savannah, GA 1703
Brunswick, GA 1701
Jacksonville, FL 1803
Fernandina Beach, FL 1805
St. Petersburg, FL 1814
Port Canaveral, FL 1816
Port Manatee, FL 1821
Fort Myers, FL 1822
St. Augustine, FL 1889
Miami Seaport, FL 5201
Key West, FL 5202
Port Everglades, FL 5203
West Palm Beach, FL 5204
Fort Pierce, FL 5205

 

New England Code
Providence, RI 0502
Boston, MA 0401
Newport, RI 0501
New Haven, CT 0412
New London, CT 0413
Bridgeport, CT 0410
New Bedford, MA 0405
Fall River, MA 0407
Salem, MA 0408
Rockland, ME 0121
Portsmouth, NH 0131
Portland, ME 0101
Eastport, ME 0103
Bar Harbor, ME 0112
Searsport, ME 0152
Bangor, ME 0102
Belfast, ME 0132

 

East Coast Code
New York, NY 1001
Philadelphia, PA 1101
Chester, PA 1102
Wilmington, DE 1103
Baltimore, MD 1303
Norfolk, VA 1401
Richmond, VA 1404
Wilmington, NC 1501
Beaufort-Morehead City, NC 1511
Charleston, SC 1601
Georgetown, SC 1602
Tampa, FL 1801
Newark, NJ 4601
Perth Amboy, NJ 4602

 

Coming Soon Code
Seattle, WA 3001
Tacoma, WA 3002
Aberdeen, WA 3003
Everett, WA 3006
Port Angeles, WA 3007
Anacortes, WA 3010
Bellingham, WA 3005
Friday Harbor, WA 3014
Point Roberts, WA 3017
Port Townsend, WA 3008
International Falls, MN 3604
San Jan, PR 4909
Fajardo, PR 4904
Mayaguez, PR 4907
Ponce, PR 4908
St. Thomas, USVI 5101
St. John, USVI 5102
St. Croix, USVI 5104
Frederiksted, USVI 5105

Training

CBP is providing training to CBP field personnel AND to vessel agencies at each port as we expand. CBP is also providing training materials to vessel agents and will have local or regional CBP subject matter experts to help with any questions. After the initial training, it will be up to vessel agencies to train any new vessel agents, or ones who could not attend the training, utilizing the training materials provided and the local/regional subject matter experts.

Video Lesson 1 – Vessel Agent Login Coming Soon

Video Lesson 2 – VECS Layout

Video Lesson 3 - Arrival Report

Video Lesson 4 - Entrance

Electronic vs. Paper Filings

Since VECS is a pilot and regulations still allow for paper filing, CBP will not require each entrance and clearance to be filed through VECS, but it is strongly encouraged. One of the reasons for this is that VECS is going to be an ever-growing system with new capabilities as the pilot expands and not all ports will be on the pilot in the early days. Some ports, or some filings, will still require paper until all ports and all functions are added.

Vessel Operators and Vessel Agents should begin uploading their vessel certificates to DIS. Even if your port is not yet part of the pilot, beginning the process of uploading the vessel certificates will reduce the burden of this requirement later when CBP initiates the pilot in your port.

Please see the linked instructions below for submitting vessel certificates to DIS.

Submission of vessel certificates to DIS for VECS

Vessel Agency Account

The Vessel Agency Account Federal Register Notice (FRN) will announce the new Vessel Agency Account type within ACE. The Vessel Agency account will allow vessel agents to log in to a web portal within ACE and be passed over to VECS. Each vessel agency will need to have a vessel agency top account within ACE, and each vessel agent will need to have their own user account/profile to access VECS. Anyone who wishes to participate in the pilot must sign up for and have a Vessel Agency Account in ACE. This will be spelled out in both FRNs. As soon as the Vessel Agency Account FRN is published (or soon thereafter) you will have the ability to sign up and there will not be a cutoff date. For more information about ACE Portal accounts and getting started with ACE, please visit the Getting Started with CBP Automated Systems page.

Creating a Vessel Agency Account

What you will need:

  • ACE Top Account (Company level account)
  • Vessel Agency sub-Account (sub-entity level specific to type of service)
  • User Accounts (for each vessel agent)
  • Get to the “Launch VECS” Button
  1. Do you have an ACE Top Account?

    YES? – skip to Step 2 below

    NO? – fill out the ACE Secure Data Portal Application hyperlinked to https://www.cbp.gov/document/guidance/ace-secure-data-portal-account-application

    • Complete the following:
    • Account Information (Agency Information)
    • Part 2f – Vessel Agency (EIN, TID/TIN, SSN or Importer #)
    • Account Owner Designation (Management/Responsible Party)
    • Point of Contact for the Account
    • Authorization and Acknowledgement
    • Submit the application to ACEAPPLICATIONS@cbp.dhs.gov and CC: OFO-MANIFESTBRANCH@cbp.dhs.gov - Note: This process could take 1-2 weeks.
  2. Create your Vessel Agency Sub-Account

    Follow the steps in Topic 2 of the Quick Reference Guide: Vessel Agency Account Type.

  3. Create a New User

    Follow the steps in Topic 3 from the above guide.

  4. Associate Users to Your Account

    Follow the steps in Topic 4 from the above guide.

  5. Get to the "Launch VECS" Button

    Login to your ACE Account. Note: This process could take 1-2 weeks.

Image of the log in screen to Log in to your ACE Portal Account
Log in to you ACE Portal Account
Image of the log in screen to log into your ACE account
​​​​Log in to your ACE Portal Account.

Please contact OFO-MANIFESTBRANCH@cbp.dhs.gov with any issues.

Image of the webpage with the references tab highlighted on the top of the page
Click on References
Image of the webpage that has the link for the Legacy ACE highlighted
Click on Legacy ACE

 

image of the ACE portal with the Accounts Selector highlighted
Click on Accounts
image of the ACE portal with the Vessel Agency Account Selection highlighted
Select Vessel Agency from the dropdown and click "Go"
image of the ACE portal with the Expand top account highligted
Click to expand the [+] next to the Top Account name in the bottom left.
image of the ACE portal with the Vessel Agency sub-account hyperlink highlighted
Click on the vessel agency sub-account hyperlink
image of the ACE portal with the Launch VECS button highlighted
Check for and click the "Launch VECS" button on the right side of the page.

For any questions on vessel certificate submission, please contact OFO-MANIFESTBRANCH@cbp.dhs.gov.

 
Last Modified: Apr 19, 2024