What is Importer Security Filing (ISF)?

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Import / Customs

Importer Security Filing (ISF)

What is ISF?

Importer Security Filing (ISF), also known as “10+2,” is a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requirement for all ocean cargo imports to the United States. The filing documents importing information and details as shipments move from point to point. It must be delivered to CBP at least 24 hours before the vessel carrying the shipment is due to make their final departure to the US.

Why is ISF important? 

The information included in the ISF improves CBP’s ability to flag high-risk shipments that may pose a safety threat upon arrival. This increased visibility helps CBP the smuggling of substances or people inside of the U.S. border.

What is needed for ISF filing?

To file an ISF form, you must have access to the following information: 

Importer/Supplier Information 

  • Supplier or manufacturer name and address
  • Owner or seller name and address
  • Ship-to name and address
  • Container stuffing location
  • Consolidator name and address
  • Importer of record number or foreign trade zone applicant identification number
  • Consignee number
  • Country of Origin
  • Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule number (each product on the shipment)
  • House bill (whenever applicable)
  • Master bill including SCAC (standard carrier alpha codes)

  

Carrier Information 

  • Vessel stow plan
  • Container status message

   

What will happen if I don’t file ISF? 

Failure to comply with the CBP’s ISF regulations can result in massive fees, increased inspections, and ultimately a delayed shipment. 

If your ISF filing is incorrect or incomplete, CBP may refuse to grant a permit to unload or to take the merchandise. If such cargo is unloaded without the permission of CBP, they can seize the cargo. In such a case, a “Do Not Load” order is applied to this cargo.

 

How much do ISF penalties cost? 

The U.S. Customs can assess damages up to $10,000 per shipment for various violations. Here’s a general breakdown: 

  • Failure to file ISF - $5,000 / shipment
  • Late filing of ISF - $5,000 / shipment
  • Incomplete filing of ISF - $5,000 / shipment
  • Failure to withdraw ISF - $5,000 / shipment
  • Failure to match ISF filing to Bill of Lading - $5,000 / shipment

 

What are some ISF filing errors?

Here are some common mistakes shippers make while filing the ISF: 

 
   

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