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What is ISF Filing? (Importer Security Filing)

On July 9, 2013, the ISF Filing requirement set forth by U.S. Customs is mandated to be in full enforcement. All ocean imports by containerized vessel and break bulk requires the ISF to be filed 24 hours before loading of goods destined to the United States. The ISF 10+2 Rule is designed to help the Department of Homeland Security and Border Protection to prescreen goods before arrival to the U.S. to safeguard against acts of terrorism and to ensure unlawful entry of goods are prevented. 

Who is responsisble to file my ISF?

The customs broker is licensed by U.S Customs to file the ISF on behalf of the importer for their shipment 24 hours before departure or loading of the vessel overseas. 

What happens if ISF is filed late, or not filed when arrived?

For late ISF Filings, U.S Customs reserves the right to issue penalty against the importer ranging from $5,000-$10,000 per shipment. Not all late ISFs is an automatic penalty. U.S. Customs has been known to review the importer's history and record. Excessive history of late shipment filings can increase the risks of penalty. For new importers for their first shipment that is late, but not yet arrived. It is recommended they file the ISF as soon as possible to decrease the risk of penalty. For shipments that do not have ISF filed when arrived, the cargo can be held for inspection or exam in which there may be exam costs associated, in addition to the ISF penalty. 

Failure to file your ISF can lead to stiff penalties, increased cargo inspection, and an overall delay in receiving your cargo. Penalties range from $5,000 USD – $100,000 USD

What information is contained in the ISF Filing?

ISF requires 10 separate data elements. They are listed as follows:

  • Supplier (or manufacturer) name & address – the company or person that manufactured the goods or the last company/person that modified it

  • Vendor name & address – The company/person which purchased the goods.

  • Buyer (importer of record) name & address – The person or company purchasing the goods.

  • Ship-to name & address – the physical location / final destination of the goods.

  • Container stuffing location – The name and address of the location where the goods were placed into the container. If placed into the container in more than one location, all locations must be listed.

  • Consolidator name & address – the party who physically stuffed the container or arranged for it. If the vendor or manufacturer of the goods stuffed the container, then they would be considered the consolidator

  • ISF importer (importer assigned) number – The IRS number, employee identification number, social security number, or CBP assigned number of the party responsible for the goods entering the United States. This may or may not be the importer of record; it can be the owner, consignee, or agent.

  • Consignee identification number – The IRS number, employee identification number, social security number, or CBP assigned number of the U.S consignee. This party must be located in the United States.

  • Country of origin – The country where the goods were produced or grown

  • HTS codes – Harmonized Tarif Schedule numbers with a minimum of 6 digits

  • Bill of lading number – Either the house or straight bill of lading number, whichever is lowest.

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