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What is an ISF (Importer Security Filing)?



We recently hosted a webinar with Strix on the changing import tariffs, and how they affect your business. (You can access that recording here).

Because Strix is a U.S. Customs entry and ISF software, we kicked off the webinar with some context in their particular area of expertise: the ISF.

Read our quick overview of what an ISF.

What is an ISF?

ISF stands for Importer Security Filing. It’s also referred to as ‘10+2.’ ISF is a required filing to clear U.S. Customs (CBP).

It requires importers and vessel operating carriers to provide advance shipment information to CBP for U.S.-bound ocean cargo. ISF must be filed at least 24 hours before the goods are loaded on the vessel bound for the U.S.

The ISF regulation is relatively new; it exists as a result of 9/11. It was published in November 2008 and went into effect in January 2009 with a ‘phase-in’ approach to implementation. As of June 2016, ISF Compliance is in full effect.

What Does the ISF Include?

The ISF asks for these ten data points for ocean cargo importing to the U.S. Provide these data points in addition to your Bill of Lading (BOL).

  • Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
  • Seller (or owner) name and address
  • Buyer (or owner) name and address
  • Ship-to name and address
  • Container Stuffing location
  • Consolidator (stuffer) name and address
  • IOR number/FTZ applicant identification number.
  • Consignee number(s)
  • Country of origin
  • Commodity HTS number to six digits

What Happens When ISF Violations Occur?

Violations are issued in the form of liquidated damages. The Liquidated Damange Penalty for each violation is $5,000. This penalty can be mitigated down to $1,500 if (and only if) it is the first offense. But if any additional ISF violations are issued before payment is made, the first offense will not be mitigated. Typically, we find that these violations are not canceled once they’re issued.