In 2010, the ACE Business Office started the process of eBond implementation, and in 2013 CBP secured funding to support an eBond environment in ACE. eBond provides an electronic mechanism for the submission of virtually all Customs Bond types on the CBP 301 bond form and requires a surety or surety agent to transmit the bond in ACE via EDI. eBond is used for various downstream processes for which a bond is required, such as to secure an entry, ISF transaction, or other importation or trade-related activities covered by the CBP 301 bond form. On January 3, 2015, eBond was successfully deployed in ACE, and surety agents have transmitted thousands of eBond transactions to CBP expeditiously. Continuous bonds that previously took several business days to process with CBP are now on file in seconds, saving valuable time for all parties to the transaction.
Use of an electronic single transaction bond (STB) depends on the entry filing scenario used by the customs broker. The following chart illustrates when an electronic single transaction bond must be submitted prior to the entry being filed in ACE:
For ACE Cargo Releases followed by ACE Entry Summaries, or ACE Entry Summaries certified for ACE Cargo Release, an eSTB has been required since January 3, 2015 – and only in these two scenarios. ACE will implement validations on all eSTB transactions. If no bond is found on file in ACE, that entry transaction will be rejected. Currently, only 01, 03, 06, 11, and 23 entry types can be filed in ACE. Effective 3/31/16 (per current scheduling) entry types 51 and 52 can also be accommodated in ACE for eBond.
For all other STB scenarios listed above, eBond will not be required until all entries must be filed in ACE sometime during the summer of 2016, or the latest by 12/31/16. Paper processing of these STBs continues until then. Please refer to CSMS# 15-000113 – Clarification on Electronic Single Transaction Bond usage in ACE eBond for further clarification.
It should be noted that ACE Entry Summaries certified for ACS Cargo Release do provide for an STB to be emailed to ACE_STB@cbp.dhs.gov. Please refer to the ACE Entry Summary Business Rules or the following CSMS message CSMS# 10-000060 for further clarification.
In ACE, CBP requires that the surety or surety agent approve and transmit the eBond to CBP based on data elements provided by the importer and/or customs broker who requests the bond. While many sureties continue to maintain their proprietary bond filing software, many are also working with ABI vendors certified for ACE to provide an integrated eBond solution to transmit data elements electronically to approve and transmit an eBond to CBP via EDI exchange.
ABI vendors who have customs broker clients interested in eBond integration are encouraged to review the Implementation Guide Broker-Surety Connection for Single Transaction Bonds. This documentation was created by an industry working group to standardize the message sets and protocol between ABI vendors and surety companies for the purposes of filing eSTBs. The overall intention of this integration is to cut down on processing times for shared customs broker clients, and several sureties have agreed to use this standard protocol to mitigate the need for custom development for each surety / ABI vendor combination. The implementation guide includes the workflow, data elements, and communication protocol. The Surety Agent Contact Information section of the implementation guide provides a list of participating surety agencies and contact information for each company. Please contact those individuals listed with any questions about the implementation guide or to get started testing once initial programming is complete.
More information on eBond, ACE, and ABI/surety integration can be found here.