Skip to content
Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security

Helpful Info

Glossary & Acronyms

Term or Acronym Definition
Account ID

The account ID is used, along with the purchasing account name, to identify a particular purchasing account.

Active vehicle

An active vehicle is a vehicle whose status is "Active". User fees can be purchased only for an active vehicle.

After a User Fee is expired and/or transponder is voided, the vehicle can still be active.

A new vehicle's status is automatically set to "Active" once the order (for an Annual User Fee or single crossing fee) is paid. The user can also set the status to "Active" if it is "Deactivated".

Annual User Fee

Payment of a user fee is required when entering the United States if:

  • you are operating a vehicle for commercial purposes
  • you are operating a private vessel that is 30 ft or more in length
  • you are operating a private aircraft

An Annual User Feecovers crossing fees for the calendar year purchased. The Annual User Fee year begins on January 1st and ends on December 31st and are not prorated.

APHIS

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

APHIS is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and it conducts agricultural quarantine inspections. APHIS is responsible for protecting U.S. crops and livestock from pests and diseases and for monitoring and promoting wildlife management and animal welfare.

Broker

Third party service provider conducting business on behalf of an individual or company.

Cab/Unit

The unique number that an individual or company assigns to each vehicle in their fleet. If you do not have a cab number, use the last 5 numbers of your VIN number.

CBP

U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Commercial Vehicle

A vehicle operated for commercial purposes.

A vehicle that is used to carry commercial goods across the border in either direction. Refer to 19 CFR 24.22c.

Company Representative

A company employee doing decal/transponder business on behalf of the employer.

Conveyance

A generic term used to refer to commercial vehicles, private aircraft, and private vessels.

Conveyance ID

A generic term used to refer to the primary unique identifier of a commercial vehicle, private aircraft, or private vessel. The identifiers are:

  • VIN (for a commercial vehicle)
  • Tail Number (for a private aircraft)
  • US Coast Guard ID, Local Registration Number, or Hull ID (for a private vessel)
C-TPAT Carrier FAST ID

The C-TPAT Carrier FAST ID consists of seven characters. This is not a required field. If you do not have a C-TPAT Carrier FAST ID, leave the field blank.

Deactivated vehicle

A customer can deactivate a vehicle via DTOPS. The most common reasons for doing so are:

  • the vehicle is no longer using the vehicle to cross the border
  • the vehicle has been sold
  • the customer wants to use the same license plate on different vehicle

User Fees cannot be purchased for a deactivated vehicle; change the vehicle status to "Active" if you need to place a renewal order.

Decal

Decals are stickers that are placed on all private aircraft and private vessels (30 feet or more in length) as proof that the User Fee for entry into the U.S. has been paid for the calendar year.

A decal expires on December 31st of its issue year. A new decal is issued whenever the decal is renewed.

DHS

U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

DTOPS

Decal / Transponder Online Procurement System.

DTOPS Profile

The name, email, password, and security questions used to identify a DTOPS user and allow them to sign in.

DTOPS User ID

The system generated ID used to log in to the DTOPS website and access your account. This is also referred to as just User ID.

Exchange (Transponder or Decal)

Since transponders and decals are attached to a conveyance, they cannot be transferred to a different conveyance. However, under certain conditions, CBP will exchange a User Fee paid for one conveyance and apply it to a different conveyance. Exchanges cannot be done online.

View instructions for transponder exchange.
View instructions for decal exchange.

Expedited Shipping

User Fees will be shipped First Class mail unless expedited shipping is chosen. Shipping via First Class mail is free of charge. You must pay for expedited shipping to U.S. or Canadian addresses.

View approximate shipping times after applications have been processed.

Link Existing

If you have had a decal or transponder in the past but have not ordered online, you may link your account to your User ID here.

MI

Middle Initial.

Owner

Owner of the company, commercial vehicle, private aircraft, and/or private vessel (30 feet and over).

Payment Initiated

This error occurs when the payment was started but did not complete successfully. Please allow 1 hour for the system to reset to 'Order Unpaid' to complete payment.

Private Aircraft

An aircraft that does not carry any passengers who pay a fare.

Private Vessel

A vessel that does not carry any passengers who pay a fare.

Purchasing Account

All Annual User Fee (decal or transponder) and single crossing fee purchase transactions are conducted through a purchasing account. This account contains contact and shipping information, current and past orders, conveyance inventory and information, owner information (for vehicles only), and order payment and receipt information.

Multiple DTOPS users may be given access to a purchasing account by the account admin. Also, one DTOPS user may have access to multiple purchasing accounts.

Purchasing Account Administrator

Primary contact person who is responsible for the information and transactions on the purchasing account.

The Purchasing Account Administrator has the ability to access Purchasing Accounts, place orders, and update account information.

Purchasing Account Name

Individual or company purchasing user fees. The purchasing account name is used, along with the purchasing account ID, to identify a particular purchasing account.

Renew a Decal

Renewing a decal means paying the Annual User Fee for an aircraft or vessel for which the previous year's Annual User Fee was paid. A new decal is shipped for every renewal.

Replace a Transponder

A replacement transponder may be requested if the issued transponder is non-operational, damaged, or lost.

Single Crossing Fee

Commercial vehicles that have not paid an Annual User Fee will be required to pay a per crossing fee each time the vehicle enters the United States.

Suspended vehicle

A suspended vehicle is suspended in ACE (the Automated Commercial Environment). This generally results from an error due to data migration. This status cannot be updated by the user.

Transfer a Decal

Decals cannot be transferred.

Transfer a Transponder

If a new vehicle joins a fleet and another individual or company has paid the User Fee for the current year (and/or the next year, if applicable), you can choose to transfer that transponder/vehicle to you. Transfers may only be completed using your online purchasing account. A transponder may not be switched between vehicles.

Transponder

The transponder, also known as a User Fee, is a sticker that contains a radio-frequency identification chip (RFID technology) that transmits information about a vehicle and border crossing User Fee payment status.

The transponder is attached to the windshield of a commercial vehicle and should remain on the vehicle for the life of the transponder (up to 10 years), even if the vehicle is sold.

An Annual User Fee expires on December 31st of its issue year, but the transponder may be used for multiple years (renewed) if the Annual User Fee is paid for each of those years.

Transponder Status

The transponder status can be:

  • Active
  • Blank
  • Void
User ID

The system generated ID used to log in to the DTOPS website and access your account. This is also referred to as DTOPS User ID.

VIN

Vehicle Identification Number.

Approximate Shipping Times after applications have been processed
Location of "ship to" address Default Shipping Method (First Class Mail) Expedited Shipping Method
United States 3-6 days 1 day
Canada 2-6 weeks 1-4 days
Mexico 6-8 weeks --- Not Available

Paperwork Reduction Act Notice: An agency may not conduct or sponsor an information collection and a person is not required to respond to this information request unless it displays a current valid OMB control number and an expiration date. The control number for this collection is 1651-0052. The estimated average time to complete this application is 20 minutes for vehicles and 16 minutes for aircraft and vessels. If you have any comments regarding the burden estimate you can write to U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Regulations and Rulings, 799 9th Street, NW. Washington DC 20229. Expiration 07-31-2019