New Online Application Process

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has recently deployed an automated online application for submitting electronic vessel manifest confidentiality requests. This enhancement enables ocean carriers, importers, exporters and consignees transporting via ocean to manage their own confidentiality requests electronically via an online application. Prior to the Confidentiality Online Application, shippers would send in a letter or email to CBP. CBP would then reply with a confirmation for data protection 60 to 90 days from submission.  The new online process allows CBP to process requests within 24 hours and takes just a minute to fill out. You will receive an automated response that CBP has received the request.

manifest confidentiality

Check ACE Portal to ensure name matches

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 filing party.

How long does my data stay protected?

Data confidentiality will remain in place for two years from the date the request is processed. The confidentiality request only covers ocean shipments and will not retroactively omit past history. Renewal requests should be made at least 60-90 days prior to expiration of the current approval, so Scarbrough suggests setting up a reminder for 18 months from the most recent process date.

What if I have more than one request?

To make for a more seamless process, multiple requests can be submitted via .csv upload. To download the .csv template, click here. To view .csv instructions, click here.

Do it yourself or hire a professional

If an organization wishes to submit this information itself, there is no fee. However, Scarbrough does provide the service to submit a confidentiality request on behalf of an importer or exporter for a flat fee of $300 USD per request. Scarbrough will require a power of attorney to submit information to CBP on the organization’s behalf along with the following information:

  • Requester Name (Your First & Last Name or Scarbrough)
  • Title
  • Relationship to the named entity (self or Scarbrough)
  • Company Name
  • Company EIN/Tax ID Number
  • Phone Number
  • Email address
  • Address, City, State, Zip
  • Manifest Type (Import & Export, Import, or Export)
  • Entity Name & all variants of that name

Hire Scarbrough to do this for me

What if I don’t like new technology?

If an organization still wants to submit the confidentiality request via paper or email, the organization can send it to:

Vessel Manifest Confidentiality
Program Office #1354
1801 N. Beauregard St.
DHS, VA 20598-1354


No specific format is required for mailing a paper letter or submitting an email, but you can view an old source we put together to walk you through this. You can download this letter to CBP as a template.

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.

Why does any of this matter?

Did you know that your ocean bill of lading manifest information is available for public review?  There are companies that actually data mine this information daily and provide it to your competitors, customers, logistics firms, and anyone else that is willing to pay for it. Did you know you can protect this data?  At Scarbrough, we value your confidentiality and will help secure future data from the public. The rules may be accessed here or via the Freedom of Information Act. Basically, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is required to make available the following AMS Manifest Data Elements to the public.  However, U.S. companies have the right to request that their private company information is indeed kept private.

Key Points to Remember

This request does not omit information that is already out there.  Any data element that pulls up on the internet from past shipments will continue to exist. Once an organization has its confidentiality in place, it will take care of any future ocean shipments and keep the data confidential from the public.  Public information is unavailable on air shipments.

About Scarbrough

The Scarbrough Group of Companies, headquartered in Kansas City with local presence in every major port in the world, is a complete international and domestic supply chain service provider, offering U.S., Mexican, and Canadian Customs brokerage, Import & Export Transportation Solutions, Domestic brokerage and asset-based trucking, Warehouse fulfillment and distribution services, Trade Compliance Consulting, Large Equipment and Project Cargo moves, as well as Parcel Audit Savings.  Scarbrough is widely known for its trade experts, training, personalized customer service, customized solutions, and data analytics tools.  Since 1984, Scarbrough has continued to satisfy its clients by following its motto on a daily basis: “It is our job to make your job easier.”  Moreover, our team of experts is available at your disposal.  We offer free consultations on any topic from supply chain optimization and duty savings opportunities to the basics, helping to guide new importers and exporters as they jump into the world of global trade.  Contact us now.