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U.S. Industry Licensing

AIM System FAQs

AIM System FAQs

Table of Contents

  1. The AIM Program
  2. License Requirements
  3. User Accounts
  4. Creating One License, Multiple Licenses, and a Low Value License
  5. Correcting, Modifying, Duplicating, and Canceling a License
  6. General and Administrative Questions
  7. Glossary of Terms
  8. Contact Us

What does AIM stand for? What is the purpose of the AIM program?

AIM is the Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis (AIM) system. It is comprised of the aluminum import licensing system and the public AIM monitor. Both can be accessed via https://www.trade.gov/aluminum.

The purpose of the AIM system is to provide timely and accurate data on imports of certain aluminum products entering the United States seven weeks earlier than would otherwise be available from the official public source of trade data (i.e., the U.S. Census Bureau). The AIM system also allows for effective monitoring of import surges of specific aluminum products which can aid in the detection of transshipment of aluminum products. The platform for the license application was be launched on January 4, 2021, and licenses are required starting June 28th, 2021.

NOTE: The aluminum and steel license applications share the same platform. However, aluminum and steel licenses have distinct application requirements and license forms.

What Internet browsers are most compatible with the new licensing system and AIM monitor?

This system is optimized for the latest version of Google Chrome and may not be compatible with other browsers. Please use Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, etc., for full access to the new AIM licensing system and public AIM monitor.

What does the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) do with the collected information?

Commerce aggregates, checks, and publishes the data submitted on the aluminum licenses in an aggregated manner. These data are displayed on the public AIM monitor website without revealing any business proprietary data. The AIM system offers the public near real-time data to observe and analyze for themselves various trends in aluminum imports entering the United States.

When is a license required?

Any business that imports aluminum products covered under the AIM system (please refer to the products list via https://www.trade.gov/aluminum-products-hts-codes) is required to submit a license prior to completing its’ entry summary documentation with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Do I need a license for each shipment?

Yes, a license is required for each CBP entry summary. However, you may include as many products as needed on one license if the importer, exporter, manufacturer, and the country of origin and exportation are all the same. Please refer to “Glossary of Terms” below for definitions.

Do products entering a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) require a license?

Yes, products entering an FTZ require a license, but they do not need an additional license when leaving the FTZ and entering for consumption in the U.S. market. These FTZ importation licenses do not expire. Please refer to “Glossary of Terms” below for definitions.

Do U.S.-origin goods processed in a foreign country need a license when reentering the United States?

This is a complex issue that depends on the good and the extent to which it undergoes further processing. All questions regarding U.S.-origin goods returned after further processing and country-of-origin designation should be raised with your local CBP Import Specialist.

The regulations state that informal entries do not require a license. On what basis is “informal entry” defined?

The regulations for informal entries, as defined by CBP, are contained in 19 CFR 143.21-143.28. The general value limit for informal entries is $2,500. This is different from the low-value licenses described below. If you have specific questions, please contact your local CBP Import Specialist.

At what point in the importation process must I fill out the license, and is the license application free of charge?

You must fill out the license, which is free of charge, prior to completing the CBP entry summary documentation (CF-7501) and will need the license number (issued by Commerce) to complete the CBP entry summary documentation. The license may be obtained up to 60 days prior to the expected date of entry and will be valid for 75 days. To avoid delays, we strongly recommend that you apply for the license as far ahead of entry as possible.

When should I apply for an aluminum license? How long will my license be valid?

In accordance with section 361.103(d), the aluminum import license can be applied for up to 60 days prior to the expected date of import and until the date of filing of the CBP entry summary documents, or its electronic equivalent. The aluminum import license is valid for up to 75 days.   However, import licenses that are valid on the date of import but expire prior to the filing of CBP entry summary documents will be accepted.

Who may apply for the license?

Importers, importing agents, or brokers may apply for the license. Foreign filers may also apply but all applicants MUST have a valid U.S. street address. In case Commerce has questions about the license, please ensure that the contact person named on the license will be able to respond to any questions received from aluminum.license@trade.gov.

How do I set up an account on the AIM licensing system?

First, you will need to register for an account at the licensing page: https://www.trade.gov/industry-import-licensing-tool. A verification code will be sent to your email address. You must be able to access your email and enter the verification code on the registration page. If you are having trouble receiving the verification to your (valid) email box, please check your spam folder and firewall.

I currently apply for steel licenses. What if I already have an account for the new SIMA licensing system and would like to apply for an aluminum license?

For users who are currently registered on the new steel import monitoring and analysis (SIMA) system, which launched on October 13, 2020, no additional action is required. Once the aluminum licensing system launches, you will have the option to apply for either aluminum or steel licenses. Please note that all your steel licenses will remain under your account in the system and will not be affected. Similar to steel licenses, for your aluminum licenses, you will receive an email confirmation for every individual license after you submit a license application, correct/modify a license, or cancel a license. You will not need a separate account if you already have one on the license application platform. For additional information regarding recent changes to SIMA, please refer to https://www.trade.gov/updates-steel-import-licensing.

What is my user account? What is my username? What is the alternate email option?

Your user account is a record of your username, your company’s profile, and contact information obtained from your registration. Your username is your primary email address. The user account is used to automatically fill out the applicant-specific portion of your license (i.e., company name, address, etc.) located at the top of each new license in which you apply. Please keep your contact information updated, and you may update your profile by clicking on “My Account” after logging in.

Your username is the primary email address you have used for the account registration.

If you have entered an alternate email address, that email address will be copied on emails sent to the primary email address whenever you have created or corrected a license, changed your password, or received a message from the AIM team. The alternate email cannot be used as a username to access your account.

What if I forget my username or password?

Your username is the primary email address used for your account registration. If you forget your password, there is a “forgot your password” button on the Sign-in page to reset your password. Clicking this button will send a verification code to your primary email address and allow you to reset your password. Passwords must be 8-64 characters and have at least three of the following: a lowercase letter, an uppercase letter, a numeric digit, and a symbol.

How do I apply for a license?

Once you have logged into your account, select the “Apply for Single License” button on the homepage. Choose “Standard License” and then “Aluminum.” An instructional video and users’ guide regarding how to create an account and apply for a license are available at https://www.trade.gov/updates-aluminum-import-licensing. The instructional video and users’ guides will answer most questions.

May I apply for multiple licenses at one time?

Yes. To submit multiple licenses, please click the “Apply for Multiple Licenses” button on the homepage. Under “Product Type” choose “Aluminum” and upload a Microsoft excel file with the information for the licenses. Please note that this spreadsheet will need to contain all the required fields and follow a specific format. A spreadsheet template is available from the tab for “Multiple Licenses”.

How long do I have to wait to receive my license number?

There is no waiting period. The license number will be generated automatically upon submitting the required information. Afterward, you will receive a confirmation email with your license number. If you do not receive this email, go back to the page for creating a license, click “Aluminum Standard License” on the left of the page, and you should see your most recently created license at the top of your license list on that page. A new AIM license number is 9 characters long and includes both letters and numbers. An example will be N75Rxxxxx. Please note that for multiple licenses, you will not receive license numbers in the confirmation email.

May I fill out one license application for multiple covered products?

Yes. A single license application may contain multiple products if the importer, exporter, manufacturer, and country of origin and exportation are all the same. If any of the above information differs, a separate license must be obtained.

What if I am unsure about the “Manufacturer Name” or the “Country of Origin” of the aluminum product which I would like to import?

Filers must provide the country of origin and country of export information fields when filling out the license form. However, filers may mark “unknown” in the manufacturer field. The country of origin is NOT necessarily the same as the country of exportation. Please refer to “Glossary of Terms” below for definitions.

What is the definition of country of largest smelt for purposes of aluminum licenses?

Primary aluminum is produced from alumina (or aluminum oxide) by the electrolytic Hall–Héroult process. The country of largest smelt applies to the country where the largest volume of primary aluminum used in the manufacture of the product is produced. Filers may state “Not Applicable” for this field if the product contains only secondary aluminum and no primary aluminum.  Secondary aluminum is defined as aluminum metal that is produced from recycled aluminum scrap through a re-melting process. For license applications up June 28, 2022, filers may also state “unknown” for this field. Effective June 29, 2022, filers may not state “unknown” for this field. Please refer to “Glossary of Terms” below for definitions.

What is the definition of country of second largest smelt for purposes of aluminum licenses?

Primary aluminum is produced from alumina (or aluminum oxide) by the electrolytic Hall–Héroult process. The country of second largest smelt applies to the country where the second-largest volume of primary aluminum used in the manufacture of the product is produced. Filers may state “Not Applicable” for this field if the product does not contain a second largest volume of primary aluminum or if the product contains only secondary aluminum and no primary aluminum. Secondary aluminum is defined as aluminum metal that is produced from recycled aluminum scrap through a re-melting process. For license applications up June 28, 2022, filers may state “unknown” for this field. Effective June 29, 2022, filers may not state “unknown” for this field. Please refer to “Glossary of Terms” below for definitions.

What is the definition of country of most recent cast for purposes of aluminum licenses?

Country, where the product was most recently cast, applies to the country where the aluminum (with or without alloying elements) was last liquified by heat and cast into a solid state. The final solid state can take the form of either a semi-finished product (slab, billets, or ingots) or a finished aluminum product.  Filers may not state “not applicable” or “unknown” for this field. Please spell out the country name (no abbreviations).  Please refer to “Glossary of Terms” below for definitions.

Under which HTS code would my product be classified?

For classification questions, please contact the CBP Import Specialist in the port where the aluminum products will arrive. Additionally, please refer to CBP’s website (http://www.cbp.gov) for contact information for the specific port of entry.

Which value should I enter under “Customs Value”?

The value should be the Customs entered value. This will be the value of the aluminum, excluding any taxes, tariffs, shipping, or packaging costs. The information on the license should match the information presented on the CF-7501 entry summary, as closely as possible, including value in dollars and volume in kilograms of the shipment. Please refer to “Glossary of Terms” below for definitions.

My records show a different unit value. Why is the unit value automatically populated?

The license application automatically calculates an average unit value per kilogram for each product based on the entered volume and Customs value. Please check to make sure that the value entered is correct, and that the volume entered is in kilograms.

What qualifies as a Low Value License and how do I apply?

The Low Value License is an optional, multiple-use license that allows a company to apply once and use it on multiple occasions for entries of covered aluminum products with a combined Customs value less than or equal to $5,000. If you have a shipment covered by the aluminum licensing requirement that is less than or equal to $5,000, you are eligible to use a Low Value License number for that entry. However, it is not required to use the Low Value License and you can use the regular license if preferred. Please note that a Low Value License number is only valid when created by or on behalf of the company listed on the license. To apply for Low Value License, click on the “Apply for Single License” button, choose “Low Value License”, then click “Aluminum”.

I use the same account to submit licenses for both steel and aluminum products. Can I include both steel and aluminum products on one license?

No. Although you may use one account to submit both steel and aluminum licenses, you must obtain separate licenses for steel products and for aluminum products. There are different license forms for steel and aluminum products.

What if I discover an error after I submit the license?

Once you have signed into the AIM site, simply click on the “Edit License” icon located to the right of the license that you need to correct and follow the directions to edit the license. Alternatively, if the AIM team has questions about the information contained in your license, you may receive an email asking you to verify or correct information contained in your license.

Can I duplicate a license?

Yes. To facilitate the creation of licenses with similar information, such as the same country of origin, the same product, and the same country of exportation, you can duplicate a license in the aluminum import licensing system by clicking on the “Duplicate License” icon located to the right of the license that you want to duplicate. Your company’s name and your contact information will automatically populate on the new license. Please check to make sure the information is correct. Unless all information is the same, do NOT submit a duplicated license without changing the necessary fields.

How do I cancel my license?

You may cancel a license at any time by clicking on the “Cancel License” icon located to the right of the license. You will then receive an email notification confirming the cancellation. However, please note that this is a permanent action and once canceled, the license cannot be restored. Canceled licenses can be duplicated to create new licenses, but they are not valid for entry.

What does it mean when a license status indicates “Action Required”?

If a license status indicates “Action Required,” the AIM system has identified something unusual on your license. This could be a rare country of origin or an unusually high or low unit value (i.e., the Customs value or volume may have been incorrectly entered). Please click on the “Edit License” icon located to the right of the license. Once you enter the page, you will see the unusual fields highlighted in red. If the information is incorrect, please provide the necessary changes, and then select the “submit with changes” button at the bottom of the page. Otherwise, select “confirm without change.” If you have questions, please contact the AIM team by email at aluminum.license@trade.gov.

What should I do when I am contacted by the AIM team about an aluminum license?

If you are contacted by the AIM team regarding duplicate licenses or possible errors on the license, it is critical that you respond immediately so that AIM can keep its data as up-to-date as possible and there is no delay in receiving the license. Please respond to any correspondence you receive to indicate whether you have made a correction or that the license is accurate.

What should I do if I need to fill out a license urgently but there is a problem with the Internet?

Please contact the AIM team if you experience difficulties accessing our site. In the event of system outage, Commerce is typically able to get the AIM site back online within the same business day. However, in emergency situations, you may email the PDF license application form with all required fields correctly filled out to aluminum.license@trade.gov. Also, please provide a brief description of why you are unable to create the license and a screenshot of any error messages you have received. Most importantly, an emailed form is NOT a valid license; you must receive a license number to enter on your CBP entry documentation.

Average Unit Value: This is automatically calculated when an applicant fills out the license application. It is the Customs value divided by the quantity in kilograms and measured in dollars.

Country of Exportation: Country where the aluminum product, subject to the licensing requirements, was exported from. It may differ from the country of origin.

Country of Largest Smelt: Primary aluminum is produced from alumina (or aluminum oxide) by the electrolytic Hall–Héroult process. The country of largest smelt applies to the country where the largest volume of primary aluminum used in the manufacture of the product is produced. Filers may state “not applicable” for this field if the product contains only secondary aluminum and no primary aluminum. Secondary aluminum is defined as aluminum metal that is produced from recycled aluminum scrap through a re-melting process. For license applications up to June 28, 2022, filers may state “unknown” for this field. Effective June 29, 2022, filers may not state “unknown” for this field. See 19 CFR 361.103(c)(3)(i).

Country of Second Largest Smelt: Primary aluminum is produced from alumina (or aluminum oxide) by the electrolytic Hall–Héroult process. The country of second largest smelt applies to the country where the second largest volume of primary aluminum used in the manufacture of the product is produced. Filers may state “not applicable” for this field if the product does not contain a second largest volume of primary aluminum or if the product contains only secondary aluminum and no primary aluminum. Secondary aluminum is defined as aluminum metal that is produced from recycled aluminum scrap through a re-melting process. For license applications up to June 28, 2022, filers may state “unknown” for this field.  Effective June 29, 2022, filers may not state “unknown” for this field. See 19 CFR 361.1030(c)(3)(ii).

Country of Most Recent Cast: Country where the product was most recently cast applies to the country where the aluminum (with or without alloying elements) was last liquified by heat and cast into a solid state. The final solid state can take the form of either a semi-finished product (slab, billets, or ingots) or a finished aluminum product. Filers may not state “not applicable” for this field. Filers may not state “unknown” for this field. Please spell out country name (no abbreviations). See 19 CFR 361.103(c)(iii).

Country of Origin: Country where the aluminum product subject to the licensing requirements was manufactured.

Customs Entry Number: This is the entry number from the CF-7501 (CBP entry summary form) that you need to identify your entry for CBP purposes. It is an optional field on the aluminum license. If you do not know it, please check with your broker.

Customs Value: Customs entered value (excluding duties, brokerage fees, packaging, or freight), NOT the invoice value. It must be specified in U.S. dollars.

Employer Identification Number (EIN): The Federal Tax or IRS identification for your company, used to identify a business entity. This is a required field to register your account. You will only need to enter it once. Please note its correct format is: ##-#######. This is NOT your social security number.

Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ): A foreign-trade zone is a designated location in the United States where special customs procedures may be used. These procedures allow domestic activity involving foreign items to take place prior to formal customs entry. FTZ activity remains under the supervision of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. For further information, please refer to the FTZ Board’s regulations (15 CFR Part 400) as well as CBP’s regulations on FTZ activity (19 CFR Part 146). See also 19 CFR 361.101(c).

Harmonized Tariffs Codes (HTS): There are currently about 66 aluminum HTS codes that require a license to file CBP entry summary documentation. Please see the list at: https://www.trade.gov/aluminum-products-hts-codes.

Low Value License: The Low Value License is an optional, multiple-use license that allows a company to apply once and use it on multiple occasions for entries of covered aluminum products with a combined Customs value less than or equal to $5,000. See 19 CFR 361.103(f).

Manufacturer: Manufacturer refers to the actual producer of the aluminum product, not necessarily the company which ships it. The license requires only the name of the manufacturer, and if applicable, multiple manufacturers’ names may be listed. Filers may list “unknown” in the manufacturer field. A Manufacturer Identification Code (MID) is not required.

Product Group: HTS codes covered by the licensing requirement are grouped into aluminum products for analysis purposes. This field is automatically generated when the HTS code is selected on the license application. Please see the list of product groups at https://www.trade.gov/aluminum-products-hts-codes.

For additional questions, the AIM team can be reached by email at aluminum.license@trade.gov. Further information, including the instructional videos and the users’ guides, will be available via https://www.trade.gov/updates-aluminum-import-licensing.

As always, the AIM team is happy to hear from you. Please feel free to email us any of your comments or suggestions regarding the new AIM system. The office is staffed during normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 6:00 pm EST).

AIM Team Contact Information:

Enforcement and Compliance

Office of Policy

1401 Constitution Ave., NW,

HCHB Suite 21006

Washington, DC 20230

Phone: (202) 482-1004

aluminum.license@trade.gov (preferred method of contact)

https://www.trade.gov/aluminum