CBP New Orleans is providing temporary vessel entrance and clearance procedures via email. Complete instructions are in the Southern Currents link at the top of this post.
IMPORTANT!!! – Agents should do everything possible ensure all forms are correctly filled out and complete!!!
Creating pdf files from documents:
Most vessels should have the capability of making a scan copy of their documents and email them to the agent.
If that capability does not exist; there is no need to go to a communal office space.
If you can take a picture, you can create a pdf document!
We have tested several alternatives and recommend using the Adobe Scan app on your smartphone or tablet.
It is free to download and use, and creates PDF documents from any photo that you can then email to yourself.
It works with photos you take while using the app AND photos already stored in your mobile device.
It also keeps your completed scans in the app until you choose to delete them.
There are many scanning app alternatives available, and as long as your files ultimately end up in .pdf format you can use any one you prefer.
If you want to go with our recommendation, the Adobe Scan app icon looks like this:
Update 03/28/20: CBP New Orleans is reporting the electronic submission of documents for Entry and Clearance is working. They also report the biggest issue is agents calling to check on when their E&C will be processed. Agents are reminded the Marine Desk hours have not changed. Electronic (emails) submissions received after hours will not be processed until the next day. Please be patient and let’s make this process work.
Update 03/28/20-2: From CBP: Please be advised that the CBP Marine Division hours have not changed. While agents are able to email entrance and clearance packages ANYTIME, employees are working between 0730 – 1600 hours Sunday – Saturday. – I.e. if you email a package at 2000 hours it WILL NOT be processed until the next business day, and likely not within the first hour.
Please be patient. Continuous calls to the Marine Division asking for updates on an Entrance and Clearance packages WILL cause delays for everyone.
Some agents are asking questions about timelines; nothing has changed EXCEPT that an agent has the temporary option to email the entrance / clearance package to CBP instead of physically bringing the material into the office.
Remember: You have 48 hours to complete formal entrance on a vessel AFTER arrival in port.
If you wait until the last minute, or forget to email the formal entrance package to CBP outside of marine division business hours, we cannot accommodate you and the formal entrance on the vessel is late. For most vessels, if the agent completes the entrance package upon arrival and submits it to CBP, there is ample time to complete formal entrance within 24 hours without any issues.
My advice to vessel agents is to use the temporary email procedures if they choose; but do NOT overthink the process, double check your work before you hit send, and do not wait. As a maritime community I am thankful that trade is moving in our area. Stay safe and take care.
423 Canal Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
US Customs and Border Protection