Importer Security Filing (ISF)

Importer Security Filing (ISF) – Simple Explanation and Examples

In the complex world of international logistics and customs clearance, understanding specific terms and processes is crucial. One essential term is Importer Security Filing (ISF). This article provides a detailed explanation of ISF, complete with examples and important considerations. If you are new to the field, this guide will offer valuable insights.

What Is Importer Security Filing (ISF)?

Importer Security Filing (ISF), also known as “10+2,” is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requirement designed to enhance security by requiring importers to electronically submit certain data about their cargo before it arrives at a U.S. port. This regulation helps to pre-identify high-risk shipments and ensure the safety and integrity of international supply chains.

ISF Requirements

The ISF consists of 10 elements that the importer must provide:

  1. Seller – Name and address of the seller.
  2. Buyer – Name and address of the buyer.
  3. Importer of Record Number – Tax ID, EIN, SSN, or Manufacturer ID.
  4. Consignee Number(s) – Identifying numbers of the consignees.
  5. Manufacturer (or Supplier) – Name and address of the manufacturer or supplier.
  6. Ship to Party – Name and address of the location the goods are being shipped to.
  7. Country of Origin – Country where the goods were manufactured.
  8. Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule Number (HTSUS) – The HTSUS number of the goods being shipped.
  9. Container Stuffing Location – Location where the container was stuffed.
  10. Consolidator (Stuffer) – Name and address of the party who stuffed the container.

 

In addition to these 10 elements, the shipping line must provide 2 more elements, making it the “10+2” rule:

 

  1. Vessel Stow Plan – Describes the physical location of the cargo on the vessel.
  2. Container Status Messages (CSM) – Details the status of individual containers, including changes in status and location.

Importance of ISF Compliance

Security Enhancements

The primary purpose of ISF is to boost U.S. national security by identifying and mitigating potential threats posed by imported goods. By requiring detailed information in advance, CBP can better target and screen shipments, thus protecting borders and supply chains from security threats.

Avoiding Penalties

Non-compliance with ISF requirements can lead to significant penalties, including fines of up to $5,000 per shipment. Additionally, non-compliant shipments might be subjected to customs holds, causing costly delays and disruptions in the supply chain.

Steps to File an ISF

Gathering Required Information

Before filing an ISF, an importer must gather all the required information. This involves coordinating with various parties, including suppliers, manufacturers, and logistics providers, ensuring that all essential data is accurate and complete.

Filing the ISF (importer security filing)

Importers can file the ISF electronically through the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) system or employ a customs broker to manage the filing on their behalf.

  1. Access the ABI System: Importers can use CBP’s ABI system to submit the filing directly.
  2. Utilize a Customs Broker: Partnering with a qualified customs broker can simplify the process and ensure timely and compliant submissions.

Examples of ISF Filing

 

Example 1: Electronics Import

An importer in the U.S. is bringing in a shipment of electronic goods from China. Here is an outline of the ISF filing process:

Seller: ABC Electronics Ltd., Shanghai, China
Buyer: XYZ Retail Inc., New York, USA
Importer of Record Number: XYZ Retail’s EIN
Consignee Number(s): XYZ Retail’s Tax ID
Manufacturer (or Supplier): ABC Electronics Ltd., Shanghai, China
Ship to Party: XYZ Retail Inc.’s distribution center in New Jersey, USA
Country of Origin: China
Commodity HTSUS Number: 8528.72.64 (for LCD televisions)
Container Stuffing Location: Shanghai, China
Consolidator (Stuffer): ABC Logistics, Shanghai, China

 

The shipping line would then provide:

  1. Vessel Stow Plan
  2. Container Status Messages (CSM)

Example 2: Apparel Import

A fashion retailer in the U.S. imports garments from India. The ISF filing would include:

Seller: Fashion Fabrics Ltd., Mumbai, India
Buyer: Trendy Wear Inc., Los Angeles, USA
Importer of Record Number: Trendy Wear’s EIN
Consignee Number(s): Trendy Wear’s Tax ID
Manufacturer (or Supplier): Fashion Fabrics Ltd., Mumbai, India
Ship to Party: Trendy Wear Inc.’s warehouse in California, USA
Country of Origin: India
Commodity HTSUS Number: 6204.62.40 (for women’s cotton trousers)
Container Stuffing Location: Mumbai, India
Consolidator (Stuffer): Indian Logistics Ltd., Mumbai, India

Important Notes and Considerations

  • Timeliness: The ISF must be submitted at least 24 hours before the cargo is loaded onto a vessel bound for the United States.
  • Accuracy: Ensure the accuracy of each data element, as errors can lead to delays, inspections, and penalties.
  • Coordination: Effective coordination among all stakeholders (suppliers, manufacturers, logistics providers) is essential to gather and submit accurate information.
  • Updates: If any ISF information changes after the filing, it must be updated promptly. Updates are permitted until the goods arrive at a U.S. port.

Conclusion and Call to Action

The Importer Security Filing (ISF) is a vital component of modern customs clearance and logistics procedures. By adhering to ISF requirements, importers can help protect national security, avoid costly fines, and ensure a smooth import process.

To navigate the complexities of ISF filing and customs clearance, consider partnering with experts who can provide the necessary guidance and support. For professional assistance with your import/export needs, contact eezyimport today, and let our expertise help simplify your customs-related processes.

FAQs on Importer Security Filing (ISF)

 

1. What is the main purpose of the Importer Security Filing (ISF)?

The main purpose of the Importer Security Filing (ISF), also known as “10+2,” is to enhance the security of the U.S. by requiring detailed data about cargo before it arrives at a U.S. port. This allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to identify high-risk shipments and protect the integrity of international supply chains.

 

2. What information is required for an ISF filing?

For an ISF filing, importers need to provide the following ten elements:

  1.  Seller
  2. Buyer
  3. Importer of Record Number
  4. Consignee Number(s)
  5. Manufacturer (or Supplier)
  6. Ship to Party
  7. Country of Origin
  8. Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule Number (HTSUS)
  9. Container Stuffing Location
  10. Consolidator (Stuffer)

 

Additionally, the shipping line must provide two more elements:

  • Vessel Stow Plan
  • Container Status Messages (CSM)

 

3. What are the penalties for not complying with ISF requirements?

Failure to comply with ISF requirements can result in significant penalties, including fines of up to $5,000 per shipment. Non-compliance can also cause customs holds, leading to costly delays and disruptions in the supply chain. It is crucial to ensure timely and accurate submission of ISF data to avoid these 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.

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.

stay in touch!

Subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter and some professional tips!