Government Shutdown Guidance


The NCBFAA will continue to update the information below as new information becomes available. These listings are current as of January 24th, but not all information has been updated due to many of our agency contacts being furloughed.


With a Federal government shutdown looming on the horizon, the NCBFAA has reached out to representatives of Partner Government Agencies (PGA) for information regarding the arrangements they have in place for the processing of Import and Export cargo. Please see below for agency guidance and procedure.

On the January 16 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) trade update call, CBP updated the trade on the phasing in of new in-bond enforcement. Last fall, they were made aware of some issues surrounding enforcement and planned on having meetings in January to prepare for the February meeting. Since there have been no meetings, CBP will be pushing back the February 6 in-bond enforcement for no less than 30 days. There will be additional information forthcoming, but there is nothing in February that you will need to worry about in regard to the enforcement date.*


*[A follow-up email was issued, and new information may be found here.]


CBP also announced that if the government is not open by January 18, they will postpone COAC and another trade event taking place in Washington, D.C. Also, the comment period for the 21st Century Customs Framework will not be extended. All comments must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. EST on February 4.


CBP clarified information surrounding the issuing of overtime. CBP is allowed to spend/use overtime during the furlough at the Ports of Entry. They are currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) to start 2019. As there is no fiscal year 2019 budget, CBP does not know what their overtime budget will be. Field managers have been directed to be "very prudent" when assigning overtime. The migrant caravan significantly depleted CBP's overtime resources. The ports have been advised that they cannot overspend, as CBP headquarters cannot support a bailout later in the year. The unknowns of not having a 2019 budget require them to be cautious with overtime.


As far as additional upcoming issues, there will be a special sugar tariff-rate quota opening on January 23, starting at 12:01 a.m. and lasting until 12:00 p.m. A CSMS message is forthcoming and will also include information regarding the shutdown. Form 5106 is scheduled to deploy on February 9.* It has been in certification since the beginning of December. CBP has decided that if they are still operating under a shutdown on February 1, they will delay the implementation in ABI. CBP also confirmed that it will be deployed in both ABI and the web portal when it is ready for deployment. They confirmed that once the new Form 5106 is deployed, the old Form will no longer work. When the issue of a late determination for those working in software was raised, CBP said they will take it under advisement. They will talk to their systems workers about the possibility of a 30-day transition but do not envision running concurrent forms.


*[A follow-up email was issued, and new information may be found here.]


CBP reiterated that, through the shutdown, you should continue using the 2018 CBMA guidance as nothing has been released for 2019.


A question was asked about the shutdown of global entry lanes in San Francisco and whether there is a delay for passengers. CBP responded by saying that, yes, global entry is shut down, but the kiosks are up and running. As for delays for passengers, CBP stated that airports, land borders and seaports are not experiencing any impact in operations. There is also no notifiable uptick in sick-time.


When asked about if there were any challenges in vessels being cleared, CBP responded by saying there should be no delays.


CBP has stated that they are not aware of any delays surrounding ACH. ACH employees are working and average a 5 day turn around.


According to CBP, no ITRAC reports being processed.


As for whether ISF reports were being impacted, CBP said there should be no change but will follow-up.*


*[A follow-up email was issued, and new information may be found here.]


There are also no changes to refunds. There is also an issue with Section 301 exclusions, but HTS employees are furloughed. There is no ability for PSC or change to forward looking entries possible. They are currently in a holding pattern until the end of the shutdown.


The NCBFAA will continue to take part in these trade calls and will update our members as situations develop.

In the event of a shutdown, all U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) port investigators would be furloughed. CPSC targeting would be suspended. Shipments that have been targeted, but not arrived for examination, would be released, unless CBP or another PGA has interest or an imminent health and safety issue has been identified. Decisions on whether to release shipments that have been detained because they failed field screening and may be violative will be made on a case by case basis.
As far as a point of contact during a shutdown, they are referring callers to their hotline at (800) 638-2772, which will direct inquiries to staff on duty.
Department of the Treasury
The Department of the Treasury has released guidance for furloughed workers as well as which areas of the Treasury website will continue to receive regular updates throughout the shutown. You may find that information here.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have funding to continue border operations.

*Update (Additional Guidance - 1/10/2019): During the period of a lapse in Federal Funding, paper NOAs submitted by importers/brokers will not be handled/reviewed by EPA personnel.


The importer or the importer's agent may instead file the EPA Pesticides ACE PGA Message Set data (and upload an image of the pesticide’s on -product label through DIS)  alongside entry documentation in ACE. A successful filing through the PGA Message Set will trigger a “may proceed” message to CBP via ACE. 

Barring any other admission issues, CBP will release the shipment. 

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) import operations will remain operational: FDA Prior Notice review, entry processing, sampling/examination of high-risk shipments, and compliance activities will continue.
For any entry-related issues:
  • For issues related to Prior Notice processing, contact FDA's Division of Food Defense Targeting at their main number 866-521-2297;
  • For issues related to FDA entry admissibility processing, contact your usual local FDA contacts. These can be found using FDA's "FDA Import Offices and Ports of Entry" webpage at this link:


 *Update (Additional Guidance - 1/14/2019): Due to the shutdown, FDA in Champlain, NY, will have limited staffing (one person;) Monday-Thursday: 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Fri 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.  No staff on Sunday evening but FDA in VT will cover the port remotely for 4 hrs (they aren’t specifying what time)


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will have funding to continue border operations.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will operate at the ports as normal during any possible shut down since the wildlife inspection program is funded using user fees and not appropriated funds. Issuance of Import/Export Licenses and Designated Port Exception Permits (DPEP) will be suspended during any shutdown as will their general email ( and headquarters/regional office telephone services. Any permits issued by the Division of Management Authority (DMA) such as CITES, ESA, etc. would be suspended during a possible shutdown.
While they will have emergency IT available to maintain eDecs and internal systems, help desk personnel will be on furlough in the event of a shutdown. They are asking the trade to stay in touch with the wildlife inspection offices if any help desk assistance is needed for eDecs.
In the event of a government shutdown, no National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) personnel will be available to release shipments in a circumstance where such action on their part is needed. No one will be available to take calls during the shutdown.
Customs operation will continue. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NFMS) will be closed.

*Update (Additional Guidance - 1/11/2019):


  • For problems with Entry/Entry Summary or Export filings, please attempt to contact your CBP Client Representative.
  • For import shipment inquiries involving the TTVP/370 program for canned, frozen or processed tuna please go to the 370/TTVP web page :
  • For Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) inquiries please contact the SIMP Support staff by email at or phone via the SIMP Support Line301-427-8301
  • If you are having a problem with a new IFTP permit, make sure that you are using the 12 digit format of "IFTP00012345" and be sure to include the letters IFTP in your submission, it is part of the permit number now.
  • If you have questions regarding the NMFS filing requirements for shrimp and abalone under the Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) please see CBP CSMS message #18-000744. Requirements are mandatory as of December 31, 2018 but NMFS has instituted a two month informed compliance "window" to assure to accommodate filer preparation and readiness. 
Update (Additional Guidance - 1/24/2019):


CBP has advised that there is a significant problem with the importation of Patagonian Toothfish. Patagonian Toothfish (aka Chilean Seabass) require pre-approval from NOAA 3 days prior to arrival (DED Approvals). Unfortunately, NOAA staff who normally process these applications have been furloughed. Since the DED pre-approval is statutorily required, CBP has taken the position that they are without authority to release the cargo--even conditionally.  


If you have shipments of this cargo, contact the port of entry. CBP usually requires re-exportation of the fish. They may allow for cargo already discharged to be entered into a bonded warehouse.


For more information, please see CSMS #19-000017.

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will continue to provide inspection services, including inspections for import requirements, during a Federal Government shut down. The inspection results are electronically transmitted to their Compliance Enforcement Management System (CEMS). CEMS is the system that automatically reconciles entries which pass inspection and meet 8e import requirements and returns a "May Proceed" message back to ACE should an entry meet import requirements. As with the last government shutdown, entries which electronically reconcile via CEMS will continue to do so with a "May Proceed" message back to ACE as long as transmissions of inspection certificates are submitted by inspection personnel and everything reconciles. 
The Marketing Order and Agreement Division's Compliance and Enforcement Branch (CEB) staff will be lightly staffed.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) will have funding to continue border operations.
The NCBFAA recognizes that members will face difficulties and challenges during a shutdown. We ask that our members track any issues that arise out of a lack of PGA availability during this time and forward them to NCBFAA Executive Vice President Megan Montgomery. Your comments are crucial in ensuring we have more robust trade coverage for any potential shutdowns in the future.

NATIONAL CUSTOMS BROKERS & FORWARDERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC. Copyright © 2021 All Rights Reserved.   Powered by MemberMax