Customs FAQ

What are PAPS?
PAPS (Pre-Arrival Processing System) was developed to make border crossing more efficient, faster and easier. Since more and more goods are crossing the Canada - U.S Border and the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit Michigan to Windsor, Ontario PAPS was a necessary step to be taken.

How do PAPS work?
While the goods are still in Canada, the carrier affixes a unique bar code to each commercial invoice and truck manifest. The carrier then faxes the bar coded invoice(s) to appropriate U.S. Customs broker. The U.S. Customs Broker prepares a border Cargo Selectivity (BCS) Entry in the U.S. Customs Automated Commercial System (ACS). The results of this processing and the determination of whether or not an inspection will occur are suppressed until the goods actually arrive at the border. The carrier then proceeds to the border with the bar coded invoice(s) and manifest. At the U.S. Customs Primary Truck Lane, the inspector scans the bar code and the corresponding BCS Entry appears on the Customs computer screen. Also on the computer screen, the Customs official receives the "exam" or "no exam" notice. If there is a "no exam" notice, the carrier and goods proceed directly into the United States.

How do I get started using PAPS?
The first step is to get your Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC): To obtain your SCAC, contact the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) at 703-838-1868.

For more information about the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) at the Peace Bridge, please contact the U.S. Customs Commercial Warehouse (716) 551-3520 ext. 131

What are PARS labels?
PARS is the Pre-Arrival Review System which works in the same way that PAPS does. The carrier is given a set of sequential bar coded labels with the carrier code given to the carrier by Canada Customs. The Carrier affixes the unique bar code to the right-hand corner of the original Canada Customs invoice for each shipment. All other documents must also be provided - certificates of origin, invoices, declarations, etc. A copy of the documentation, including the bar coded invoice, is sent to the Canadian importer or broker by facsimile before arrival of the shipment in Canada. For more information please visit


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