[ALERT] Customs Border Patrol Requiring Social Security Cards for Trophy Imports

Customs & Border Protection is adding another requirement for all importation of trophies to the United States; a copy of your valid Social Security Card.  The July 2019 issue of the Safari Times reported that some hunters who were initially asked for this requirement for the very first time hesitated to provide such information for fear of identification theft and feel that this is an overstretch by the government. A few initial reactions from hunters to this new rule were: (1) they don’t see any reason or any point in doing this requirement and (2) they are at risk because what CBP is asking for is very sensitive information.

Why did the CBP add another requirement?

CBP is assuring hunters that all information submitted to them will be treated properly and that the reason they are asking for this info is to counter identification theft not promote it. CBP came up with this new rule in order to solve the problems and issues they encountered in the past when individuals or import brokers were permitted to fill out import records files and provide a Social Security or a company employer identification number and contact information without the need to attach any supporting documents whatsoever. Years ago, when technology wasn’t all the rage, everything was done on paper forms. Years later, CBP digitally entered all gathered information on the Automated Broker Interface (ABI). That’s when they discovered a large number of illegal importations were done and went undetected because of false information and IDs submitted along with fake contact information.

In order to overcome this issue, in 2014, then President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order implementing the restructuring of the processes on import and export for America’s businesses. As a result of that, all trades were to be processed through a “Single Window.” As a next step, in 2016 the government launched the new system called Automated Change Environment (ACE). ACE is now the primary system where the international trade community submits all of their documents containing their import and export data. The government assesses all entries/trades and determines its admissibility via ACE. But ACE isn’t just for the CBP; people can also see real time data from other government agencies on ACE. There are a total of 47 government agencies sharing real time data on ACE including the Department of Agriculture. ACE was able to automate 250 government forms, helping the government shift to the digital age faster.

Like most big projects, ACE was implemented in different phases. The most recent phase happened in March 2019. During that phase, the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) was officially shut down by the CBP. All accounts from the ABI were converted and installed in ACE. Once that happened, CBP was able to sift through all the data properly. Accounts that had (1) duplicate records, and (2) unverifiable Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number were automatically voided by the CBP. Other accounts voided were those (1) specifically requested by the importer, the authorized agent with special power-of-attorney, or the local CBP Officer, (2) that could not be contacted by the CBP via U.S. Postal Service as the CBP receives undeliverable mail, and (3) who failed to respond to CBP’s requests that were sent to the listed name and address on record.

What do you do if your import record was voided?

Only during attempting to import a trophy from abroad with a hunter know if their importer record was voided.   CBP will inform either the hunter or the import broker. If voided, the documents that need to be submitted are:

  • Form 5106
  • Power-of-Attorney that is not more than a year old
  • A valid proof of import record identification (ex; front and back copy of your Social Security Card)
  • A valid email address and physical address

The CBP suggests allowing 5 business days for the import record to be reinstated. It is recommended that hunters hold off shipping their trophies until the import record has been re-instated. Call 303-365-1000 or email us anytime!