Importer Security Filings (ISFs)

Need-to-know information about the Importer Security Filing (ISF), also known as a “10+2”.

What is an Importer Security Filing?

The ISF gives U.S. Customs critical information regarding every shipment arriving to the U.S. via ocean, including what the goods are, where they were manufactured, and details about the parties involved.

Importer Security Filings are a national security requirement, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) takes timely filing of the ISF as a matter of high importance.

All ocean shipments must have an Importer Security Filing filed with CBP.

When does the ISF need to be filed?

The ISF must be filed with U.S. Customs at minimum 24 hours prior to loading on the vessel destined for the U.S.

Failure to file the ISF on time can result in penalties up to $10,000 per shipment ($5,000 per infraction).

C J International requires the completed ISF form to be sent to our team 3 business days from vessel departure to avoid delays or costly penalties.

Who is responsible for filing the ISF?

The importer is responsible for satisfying all Customs requirements for their shipments. CBP levies fines for a late or missing ISF filing to the importer.

Most importers choose to work with a freight forwarder or licensed Customs Broker who can file an ISF on their behalf among other Customs entry services. However, it is still the responsibility of the importer to provide any third-party agents with timely information needed to complete the ISF.

What details go on the ISF?

The 10 data points that must be filed with U.S. Customs 24 hours before vessel loading:

  • Seller
  • Buyer
  • Importer of record number / FTZ applicant identification number
  • Consignee number(s)
  • Manufacturer / Supplier
  • Ship to party
  • Country of origin
  • Commodity HTS code

The 2 remaining points can be provided at latest 24 hours before the vessel arrives at its destination:

  • Container stuffing location
  •  Consolidator

See CBP’s website for complete details, including requirements for transit cargo (FROB, IE, & TE).

If you file an ISF through C J International, we will provide you with a template with step-by-step instructions on how to complete it. You can find this under our New Client Resources.

Best Practices — Tips

ISFs can easily fall through the cracks (an expensive error!) when multiple parties are involved in the movement of a shipment. Here are a couple best practices from our experience.

1. If your Customs Broker is filing the ISF on your behalf, establish a system for communicating ISF details in advance of the 24-hour deadline to make sure there is plenty of time to accommodate for documentation errors or adjustments in the shipment’s schedule.

2. If you are relying on a third-party agent (such as a freight forwarder) to provide your Customs broker with ISF details, communicate your expectations clearly that they are to take care of this requirement well in advance of the 24-hour deadline so that Customs does not issue any fines against your company.

As a Customs broker, we often witness the unfortunate results of a third-party agent who has failed to provide us with the information needed to file an ISF, causing unnecessary problems (and potential steep fines) for the importer. We don’t want to see that happen to you!

3. If your company regularly imports ocean shipments, filing an ISF can become almost too familiar of a routine. We implement strategies within our own company to make sure our clients’ ISFs are taken care of as a high priority, and we recommend importers do the same.

Importer Security Filings may be a familiar subject, but they’re too important to take for granted!

Our blog posts are for informational purposes only. While we use reasonable efforts to furnish accurate information, C J is not liable or responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any information contained herein.


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