ISF Compliance

ISF Compliance: A new rule outlining procedures for importers working with containerized cargo was established by the CBP in 2009. The rule, which was created as a national security measure, calls for importers to send significant data to the CBP so that the threat posed by the cargo can be evaluated with each shipment.

The ISF, sometimes referred to as the 10+2 or Importer Security Filing, is an essential step in the importation process for anyone working with containerized cargo. Importers must maintain a close eye on every step of the importing process in order to provide accurate information for ISF filings because they are ultimately accountable for disclosing information that has been acquired from other parties.


We've written down everything you need to know as your go-to customs specialists because it's critical that you understand how to use this key document.


The creation of the ISF Compliance

After a bipartisan effort to increase the security and safety of ports around the United States, the ISF was created. The CBP was given the job of creating a measure under the SAFE Port Act of 2006 to make sure that cargo containers entering the United States didn't include lethal weapons, biological samples, or nuclear material.

The ISF rule was announced in November 2008, went into effect in January 2009, and as of 2013, has been completely enforced with penalties. It was decided that an ISF would only be necessary for shipments entering the United States through the nation's numerous ports in containers; bulk shipments, as well as those arriving by air or land, are exempt from the requirement.

ISF Filing

Whether you or your customs broker partner file the ISF, it must contain the following ten pieces of importer information:

  • Information about how to contact the company
  • The way to get in touch with the vendor
  • Contact details for the buyer
  • Contact details for the stuffer
  • The place where containers are stuffed
  • Name and address of the ship-to
  • The origin nation
  • The FTZ application ID number OR the importer of record number
  • The senders' numbers
  • The numbers in the Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule
    *After the ship leaves port, but no later than 24 hours before arrival in the US, this information can be reported.

And here are two facts provided by the carrier:

  • The ship's stow strategy
  • The container's status notifications

Once you have your 10 and 2 pieces of information, you must submit the ISF to the Automated Manifest System along with the lowest bill of lading level for your shipment. ISF filings are all made electronically.

Your ISF must be filed before the carrier departs the original port in order to avoid fines and penalties. Please note that this is different from prior to arrival in the United States. You must submit your ISF at least 24 hours prior to being loaded for departure. Give yourself 48 to 72 hours to acquire all the data you'll need and carefully put it together. If you break these restrictions, you could be subject to liquidated damages of $5,000.

Things to Consider

While compiling all the necessary data for your ISF can be a hassle, you can streamline the procedure with a little advance planning. Make sure your company partners, such as your manufacturer, are providing you with all ISF-relevant information at the beginning of the process so you don't have to go looking for them or face a late filing penalty.

It's also crucial to keep in mind that you can modify your ISF at any time before the cargo reaches an American port after submitting. The ISF is extremely simple to modify; all you need to do is update your information and make any necessary changes rather than deleting and resubmitting the form. Only the original filer can make changes to an ISF after it has been submitted, therefore if you are dealing with a professional customs broker partner, give the information to them to change.

Nobody wants to pay a large fee, but we can assist you in remaining compliant at customs. You can work with a customs broker to take care of all the intricate aspects for you in order to keep your importation process as seamless as possible. We'll make sure that the necessary information is supplied on schedule and in good order.