Customs clearance: Entry Summary & ISF 10+2 – which comes first?

main documents isf, broker entry

To import cargo into the U.S., you will traverse a somewhat complicated process to pass customs clearance. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office has a 211-page document just on importing into the U.S. Familiarizing yourself with the most common CPB  requirements and meeting them accurately and timeously can make a big difference in the speed of the process. Let us look at the most important ways to get customs clearance.

What is CBP Customs Clearance?

The CBP is the U.S. federal law enforcement agency that safeguards the country’s revenue by collecting duties, fees, and taxes on all U.S. traffic and trade. It also aims to detect illegal arms trafficking, fraud, and more.

Usually, importers hire a customs broker company to handle customs clearance. Brokers advise the importer, prepare and submit all required import documents to the CBP, and ensure that shipment duties are paid to secure the release of goods. To emphasize, all filings are with the CBP.

Main documents

ISF 10+2 Form

Filing the 10+2 Form only affects ocean cargo imports. The Form exists to monitor high-risk consignments before entering the U.S. to avoid and protect the country from terrorism or prohibited activities.

The Form also identifies parties in the supply chain and must be filed by importers 24 hours before the vessel leaves the last port of origin and include accurate details of the goods.

The 10+2 ISF form expands the importer’s responsibility but eases examination for low-risk consignments. The purpose of the 10+2 focuses on enforcing security rather than on defining entry or trade-related enforcement. The CBP also compares the data received with the ISF to that included in the Entry Summary (CBP form 7501) to evaluate risk and verify the information.

Entry Summary

Another main document required by the CBP for customs clearance is the Entry Summary, which applies to all goods entering the U.S. regardless of their transportation method.

The details included enabling the CBP to ascertain information about the import, such as calculating duties, gathering statistics, deciding on origin and classification, and deciding whether additional legal requirements have been met.

The broker files the Entry Summary and if everything is approved, the importer will obtain a Cargo Release Form (Form 3461) thereafter (just as with the 7501 entry form). It is important to note that the Entry Summary cannot be filed earlier than five days before the arrival of the shipment.

Importers can become self-filers using online platforms that help remove the cost of hiring intermediaries.

Late Filing

If importers miss the ISF deadline, they can be fined, or their goods can be confiscated. Under certain circumstances, such as if importers forgot about the ISF or did not know it had to be filed, it may be possible first to file the Entry Summary and then the ISF or file them together. The important thing is that the ISF must be filed. Having said that, this is not the proper process as designed by the CBP, and the importer may be subjected to penalties

Missing filing dates and not paying the required taxes, etc., can result in steep penalties. The amount of the penalty is also in proportion to the volume of the shipment. Moreover, given the increase in filing violations, the CBP has lessened its leniency; for example, it has scrapped “the three-strikes rule,” which offered warnings.


eezyimport offers importers the opportunity to become self-filers. This platform is an advanced and ground-breaking digital customs clearance solution that empowers importers to save time and money in the competitive landscape of importing. Customers can use eezyimport’s platform to independently file the ISF (10+2) form and the Entry Summary in minutes with complete visibility and 24/7 control from a tablet, phone, or desktop. It saves money by enabling importers to circumvent the need for a customs broker.

The system guides importers, and a broker examines the documents to ensure criteria have been met.

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eezyimport is an online platform and is not a licensed customs broker. However, we work closely with a third-party licensed customs broker who can assist with any entry-related issues.

eezyimport is an online platform and is not a licensed customs broker. However, we work closely with a third-party licensed customs broker who can assist with any entry-related issues.

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