Agents,The below trade notice provides instructions on how to upload Vessel Documents in the Document Imaging System.
The intent of this program is to eliminate the need for agents to produce original vessels documents when entering and clearing a vessel.

The steps are:

  1. The agent enters the vessel documents in the Document Imaging System (DIS).
  2. If this was the initial entry of those specific documents; then the agent must still present the original documents to CBP.
  3. CBP will validate the original documents match those entered into the DIS by the agent.
  4. After validation by CBP, agents will no longer have to provide CBP with original documents when entering or clearing that vessel.
    A couple of things to note:
    1. This pilot program is only available in New Orleans, Mobile and Gulfport.  Original documents must be provided when entering vessels in Morgan City, Gramercy, Baton Rouge, and Lake Charles.
    2. During the testing stage, the agent will not have access to VECS, therefore they will not be able to see the vessel document certification and won’t know if the documents have already been entered and validated in DIS. So, unless the agent has serviced the specific vessel before and personally completed the DIS process; the agent will have to go through the validation process for the vessel. LAMA is still working with CBP on the details of this program.

SUBJECT:  Uploading Vessel Documents into the CBP Document Imaging System

Southern Currents 19-021

Vessel agents now have the ability to upload vessel documents into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection [CBP] Document Imaging System [DIS].  Once a vessel document is stored in the DIS, CBP Officers are able to view electronic copies of vessel documents at the time of entrance and clearance without the need for the original documents to be presented at a CBP Office.

Please find attached the procedures to upload a vessel document into the DIS.

After a vessel agent uploads a document into the DIS, the vessel agent will present the original document to CBP for a CBP Officer to validate that the document is in the DIS.  Once the vessel document is validated by a CBP Officer, the vessel agent is no longer required to present that document to CBP when entering or clearing the vessel, until the document is no longer valid or associated with the vessel, i.e. expired vessel document/registry or vessel name change.

The ability for CBP Officers to verify vessel documents electronically is a critical part of automating CBP vessel entrances and clearances later this year. 

This pilot is only available in New Orleans, Mobile and Gulfport.  Vessel agents must continue to provide original documents when entering and clearing vessels in Morgan City, Gramercy, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles.

Vessel Agents are encouraged to begin uploading vessel documents into the DIS, have the documents validated by CBP New Orleans, and enter and clear vessels without having to transport documents to the Customhouse.

Questions, comments or concerns about this pilot should be directed to CBP Trade Supervisor Frank Foster at (504) 670-2057 or via email at

Mark S. Choina
Port Director, Acting
Port of New Orleans
New Orleans Field Office
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
(504) 670-2287  Office