International Mail

New Shipping Requirements

Effective September 30, 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau is requiring mandatory filing of export information through the Automated Export System (AES) or through AESDirect for all international shipments where a Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) was previously required. This require­ment was published on June 2, 2008 (Federal Register, June 2, 2008, Volume 73, Number 106, pages 31547–31590, codified at 15 C.F.R. Part 30) as an amendment to the Foreign Trade Regulations (FTR). The regulation impacts all companies, including the U.S. Postal Ser­vice®, that accept outbound international shipments containing goods.

This regulation mandates that Electronic Export Infor­mation (EEI) be filed when any type of goods (per Schedule B Export Codes at is valued at more than $2,500 or requires an export license under U.S. law. The EEI must be filed through the Census Bureau’s AES or AESDirect web­site by the mailer or authorized agent (USPS never acts as an authorized agent). This information was formerly filed in hardcopy on Commerce Form 7525-V, Shipper’s Export Declaration. Paper copies of the SED will no longer be accepted by the U.S. Postal Service. Postal employees will direct customers to the Census Bureau’s websites and hotline phone number identified at the end of this article.

When the mailer or authorized agent has filed the EEI, AES will provide an alphanumeric Internal Transaction Number (ITN), which confirms that EEI was successfully filed. Mailpieces presented to the Postal Service™ must bear the Proof of Filing Citation (PFC), which consists of the letters “AES” followed by the ITN. If the AES is unavailable at the time of filing, the mailer or authorized agent must provide an AES Downtime Citation, instead of the PFC, which consists of the letters “AESDOWN,” the user’s identification number, and the date. Customers must legibly write the PFC or EEI on the applicable Cus­toms form without obstructing the barcode on the label. On PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN 22 Sender’s Declaration, customers may write the number anywhere on the ‘green’ portion of the form; and on the PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note CP 72, they may write it at the top of the form or in any clear space. USPS® is in the process of redesigning both Customs forms to accommodate the electronic export information filing number.

To file through AESDirect, go to For additional information on elec­tronic filing, refer to the Census Bureau’s website at or call the toll-free information hotline at 800-549-0595.