In today’s world, nearly everything can be done remotely. Thanks to the technology behind the Internet of Things (IoT), we have the ability to submit, store, and share information from just about anywhere. Even everyday tasks like starting a car, controlling the AC, checking security cameras, or shopping can be done remotely. Information like this can be sent from one device or location to another in just a few minutes, all at the click of a button!

In addition to helping provide an increased level of convenience and efficiency in our lives, the technology behind telecommunications allows information to be sent without the need for printing materials or postage mail! This paperless option not only allows information to be delivered in half the time, but it also saves money (and helps the environment) by eliminating the need for paper.

Paperless and Remote Filing Options

In the freight forwarding and shipping industry, this type of technology offers both suppliers and customers a better experience and a reduced risk of complications that may result in delays or added costs.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency recognizes how remote and paperless filing and communication systems can help streamline everything from packing and shipping to the inspection process. In 2009, CPB implemented the regulations that would shape what is known as the Remote Location Filing (RLF) program. This works in conjunction with the Electronic Invoice Program (EIP) which allows Licensed US Customs Brokers with a valid national permit to electronically submit and transmit data in accordance with their rules and regulations.

What Are Some Benefits of the EIP and RLF Program?

The CBP offers two programs to help submit and file electronic data in place of paper documents required for goods to enter into a location other than arrival or examination port. While these programs are subject to the same level of scrutiny and review as regular filings, it helps to provide a more convenient option for imports and exports. The Electronic Invoice Program (EIP) allows users to submit trade documents electronically in lieu of paper filing. Remote Location Filing (RLF) operates on the EIP system and allows users to (as the name suggests) remotely file data, so you do not have to physically be in the location as the entry or examination site.

The appeal behind the RLF program extends to a number of reasons. Most notably is its ability to allow brokers to file paperwork electronically for certain entry types, without being in the physical location as the shipment’s declared port of entry or examination.

This means that a Customs Broker in Miami, FL that is certified, can electronically submit Customs Entry, along with the required documents (Bill of Lading, Certificate of Origin, or Pro Forma Invoice, etc.) for a shipment entering the US via New York, NY – without ever having to leave their office!

RLF Eligibility Requirements are defined by the CBP. In order to apply for RLF use, you must meet the following stipulations:

  1. Users have two options for submitting ACE entries. Either as a “two-step process” that requires a cargo release and separate entry summary, or a summary certified for ACE cargo release.
  2. The only entry types that are eligible are 01, 02, 03, 06 (including weekly FTZ), 07, 11, 12, 21, 22, 23, 31, 32, 34, 38, 51, and 52.
  3. A Customs Broker must be licensed with a valid national permit, as outlined in 19 C.F.R. § 111.19(f) (please note, individuals filing as the importer of record for their own transactions don’t have to worry about this).
  4. Users must submit all necessary Invoices, such as pro forma invoices, using the Document Image System (DIS).
  5. The eBond test is required for users submitting single transaction bonds.
  6. Participants can file RLF entries at any port of entry.
  7. Partner Government Agency (PGA) pilots testing areas, such as the PGA message set or DIS uploads, may be eligible for RLF for pilot PGA forms and locations. Ineligible PGA forms for RLF processing include the Department of State’s DS-1504 and DS-2031. Users cannot process these forms via RLF.

Additionally, some other reasons why remote filing is a great option for importers and exports include:

  • It helps to save money on paper, ink, and other printing materials.
  • The process is faster, with near-immediate delivery of your documents to the required port of entry.
  • You can submit paperwork in advance, allowing extra time to review and potentially correct any errors.
  • You don’t have to worry about illegible handwriting or damaged paperwork, meaning less misinterpretation or miscommunication issues with CBP agents.
  • The paperwork can be processed and reviewed before the shipment arrives at its port of entry, streamlining the inspection process and cutting down on port wait times.

Getting Started With Paperless Programs

At Promptus LLC, we hold a valid national permit that allows our certified US Customs Brokers to electronically file paperwork and take advantage of the RLF program. To learn more about what types of shipments are eligible for this service or how to enroll in a paperless shipping plan, call our office today at 1-877-776-6799. Our team of experts has offered 15 years of experience in the logistics industry, and we offer full-scale freight forwarding services to clients all over the world.