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For Shippers, Customs Clearance

A guide to Importer Security Filing

You may have heard about needing an Importer Security Filing (ISF) for your shipment, but what exactly is it and why do you need it?

The Importer Security Filing, also known as ISF or 10+2 was created back in 2009 to provide data on incoming shipments to the US Department of Customs and Boarder Protection. Importer Security Filings are only required for cargo arriving in the United States via ocean vessel and it is a part of the customs clearance process.

The intent of requiring an ISF was to reduce the number of exams by having time to flag the higher risk shipments. It was created to increase security, not to enforce certain trade rules. However, the data you provide on the ISF will be validated against your other shipment data.

So what data is the importer required to provide?
• Seller Information - Name and address of the company you purchased the goods from
• Buyer Information – Name and address of your company if you are the one who purchased the goods
• Importer of record number – This could be your tax ID number (EIN), social security number or customs assigned importer number. This information is used to identify the party who is responsible for paying the duties for the shipment
• Consignee number(s) – This could also be your tax ID number (EIN), social security number or importer number of the individual or firm that is receiving the shipment
• Manufacturer (or supplier) – Name and addresses of the final manufacturer of your product
• Ship to party – Name and address of the party that will first receive the goods after they enter the United States
• Country of origin – The place where your product was manufactured
• Commodity number (HTS code) – The HTS code is 10-digit number that identifies the duty/tariff rate of your product

Don’t worry if you don’t have all of this information, the freight forwarder can help get this information directly from your factory.

An ISF 10+2 filing must be completed for each BOL (bill of lading) that you have. If you have multiple containers on the same BOL, you’ll only need to file one 10+2.

The ISF must be filed no later than 24 hours before the cargo is loaded onto the vessel at the origin port. However, it is recommended that the ISF is filled 48-72 hours prior to it being loaded onto the vessel. It is best to file your ISF even if you don’t have all the information to avoid paying the penalties. If for some reason your ISF needs to be edited, it must be done no later than 24 hours before arrival to the arrival port in the United States. An ISF may also be cancelled if the goods are no longer going to be imported into the United States.

Customs and Boarder Protection can assess a $5,000 fee per late or inaccurate ISF. CBP also has the right to prevent you from unloading your shipment if no ISF has been filed.

Don’t want to have to worry about all of this?

No worries, Fleet has your back. Use Fleet to find the best freight forwarder to handle your shipment and they’ll help guide you through the entire process.


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