What is ISF – Required Data for Importer Security Filing

February 25, 2021

Before any merchandise can be shipped by sea vessel an Importer Security Filing importer must submit specific cargo data electronically to the US Customs and Border Protection. This is sent in the form of an importer security file. 

ISF documentation is only required if cargo is being imported into the US via a ship. In this guide, we’ll discuss more about what ISF is and what the security filing requirements are. Keep reading to find out more.  

What is ISF? 

An ISF (Importer Security File) also known as importer security filing 10+2 is a new requirement from the United States Custom and Border Protection. This is fundamentally containerized cargo information that’s used for security purposes when importing goods into the USA via freight services

What is ISF in Shipping? 

When shipping merchandise to the US all necessary data about the cargo is sent to customs before sending the cargo through. The reason for this is so that the CBP and the Department of Homeland Security can identify whether a shipment is high-risk cargo. 

Another reason for ISF in shipping is to prevent smuggling merchandise into the country illegally and to improve cargo safety and security. 

Importer Security Filing Requirements

There must be eight data elements sent to the CBP no later than 24 hours before the cargo is loaded onto a vessel. The data required for ISF shipping include the following: 

  • Who the seller is 
  • The buyer of the cargo 
  • A record number of the importer or the FTZ applicant ID number 
  • Information on the manufacturer or the supplier 
  • The consignee numbers
  • Country of origin 
  • The HTSUS number 
  • Ship to party  

Failing to submit proper ISF to the CBP can result in a $5000 fine for the following: 

  • Inaccurate information 
  • Failing to submit the importer security filing on time
  • Incomplete filing 

Additional Data Requirements for Importer Security Filing 

There are other data elements when importing goods that must also be submitted no later than 24 hours before the cargo is loaded and shipped. You must have information on container stuffing location and the consolidator. 

Requirements for Transit Cargo 

The TE, IE and FROB will require importer security filing that has five data elements which include the following: 

  • The booking party 
  • Place of delivery 
  • Commodity HTSUS  number 
  • Ship to party 
  • Foreign port of unlading

What is an ISF Bond?  

An importer security bond is a surety that the importer will abide by the laws and legislations that govern imports coming into America. This bond protects the citizens and the US government. 

Final Thoughts 

The purpose of the importer security filing is to give the US border a heads up if there’s high-risk cargo on its way. As a result, the US border can take the necessary precautions to ensure no one get’s injured when offloading the cargo. All filing is done and sent electronically so that information can be sent and received quickly.

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