OptimalShip's Helpful Shipping Tips

What is EEI Filing and Do I Need It?

Posted by K. Sterrett on Nov 12, 2021 1:15:00 PM

What is EEI Filing?

Are you heading to the post office to send an international shipment? Before using the postal service, you might need to fill out some paperwork first.

EEI Filing stands for Electronic Export Information. It is an automated export system. EEI is used to control exports and compile trade statistics and export data. The U.S. Department of Commerce receives EEI files. Electronic filing greatly simplifies commerce in the United States. Need to file EEI for your shipment? You'll get an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) from the U.S. Government.

Paperwork is a pain. But we live in an automated commercial environment. It's essential for customs and border protection. It's important for arms regulations when sending baggage or packages to foreign destinations.

Correctly filing will ensure compliance. It will help ensure that your package arrives at its destination. Failing to do so could result in criminal penalties. The only exception to this is if you have a license exception for your shipments. Shipping to a foreign country can also sometimes include Homeland Security. This is another reason to take EEI seriously.

Electronic Export Information (EEI) Filing is required for foreign trade that exceeds $2,500 in value. It's also required for licensed goods.

Already overwhelmed? We understand. Sending foreign shipments is a stressful process. Optimal Ship handles EEI filings all the time. It becomes part of your daily routine when you send out foreign shipments all the time! Call us at 971.383.9901 if you need help.

Rules and Regulations

The United States Census Bureau provides detailed information on its official website.  Here, we'll provide an overview of the rules and regulations surrounding EEI filing.

You'll need to get a Schedule B number. A Schedule B number identifies what is contained in the shipment. This keeps the electronic export information as organized as possible. To obtain this number, you can call the census bureau. Call 800.549.0595 and press 2.

Electronic export information is common for businesses that participate in foreign trade. However, some personal packages also require an export license for border protection. Then you need to file your electronic export information. You'll also need to provide the ITN to your shipping courier.

The total value of your shipment includes the cost of shipping. This includes:

  • Your box
  • Postage
  • International fees
  • Other costs

EEI Filing

Your package could be worth $2,000. But if it accrues at least $500 in shipping fees, you'll need to obtain your export license.

The only exception to electronic export information is for packages shipped to Canada. Most packages don't need an ITN. Additional exemptions can be found on the United States Census Bureau website.

It's very important to obtain information from .gov websites. An official website ending in .gov indicates an official government organization and are secure sites you can trust with sensitive information.

Do I Need to File EEI?

  • Is your shipment going to a foreign destination? This includes the shipment's ultimate destination. 
  • Does your shipment contain licensed goods?
  • Does it have an HTS Code / Schedule B number?
  • Are you shipping personal or household goods? How are your household goods valued?
  • Is your entire shipment worth at least $2,500?
  • Are you shipping a self-propelled vehicle?
  • Does your package contain rough diamonds? What about uncut diamonds?
  • Is your package subject to ITAR?
  • Does your package fall under the "600 series"?
  • Is your package going to Cuba, Iran, North Korean, Sudan, or Syria? All of these countries require an export license for border protection. The value of your shipment doesn't matter. Filing EEI is still required.
  • Is your package going to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands? You'll need your validated export license.

If you answered yes to any of these, you'll need your export license. But if not, you're good to go without EEI filing. You're also exempt if you have a file exemption for your shipments. Keep in mind that you'll need your exemption citation to get your package through customs.

Not sure whether you need to file for your shipment? Contact Optimal Ship today. Describe what's in your package. We'll help you determine if you need to file.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost depends on who does the filing. It's completely free to self file on the AES direct website. The U.S. Principal Party in Interest will need to self-file. They'll need at least 24 hours before your package's scheduled departure time. The Principal Party in Interest is the U.S. exporter.

More information is available if you have questions. Simply call OptimalShip. We'll be happy to help you.

Filing requirements include (but are not limited to):

  • Your export control classification number
  • Your foreign principal party
  • Your shipper's export declaration
  • Your Schedule B number

All of this information can be obtained fairly easily. Again, Optimal Ship is happy to help you.

Don't trust yourself? Or don't have the time to file yourself? Authorized agents from DHL are available to file for you. It will cost $15 per package to have an authorized agent file for you.


It's important to follow the export regulations surrounding foreign shipments. Doing so is essential for U.S. Customs and Border laws. Optimal Ship is here to guide you through the process. You can self-file if you're the Principal Party in Interest. Or, you can pay DHL to file for you. An authorized agent will take care of you. If you have questions or need help, call us today. We'll be here, ready to help you.




What is EEI filing?

Electronic export information (EEI) filing is part of our automated export system. It ensures customs and border safety. It allows the U.S. Department of Commerce to regulate what goes in and out of the control. It's also useful for export data.

How do I know if I need to file?

You'll need to complete your electronic export information (EEI) filing if your foreign shipment is valued at $2,500. The $2,500 value includes the cost of shipping and international fees.

You'll need to file if:

  • Your shipment is going to a foreign destination. This includes the shipments ultimate destination.
  • If your shipment contains licensed goods
  • If your shipment has an HTS Code/Schedule B number
  • If you're shipping personal or household goods at a certain value
  • If you're shipping $2500 worth of goods (including shipping and fee costs)
  • If you're shipping a self-propelled vehicle
  • If you're shipping rough or uncut diamonds
  • If your shipment is subject to ITAR
  • If your shipment falls under the "600 series"?
  • If your package is going to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria, regardless of value
  • If your package is going to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Island

Are there exemptions to filing?

Yes, there are exemptions to filing. You don't need to file if:

  • You're shipping to Canada (with a few exceptions)
  • You have a file exemption for your shipments
  • Your package isn't subject to ITAR or the "600 series" and is valued at under $2,500.

Can I file myself?

Yes, you can complete your electronic export information yourself. You can do so by using the AES direct website.

You'll need:

  • Your export control classification number
  • Your foreign principal party
  • Your shipper's export declaration
  • Your Schedule B number

Can someone else file for me?

Yes. An authorized agent can file for you. DHL has authorized agents who regularly file electronic export information (EEI) for you. It will cost $15 to have an agent file for you.


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