ISF Importer Security Filing Logo

ISF Resource Headquarters

Your ISF '10+2' Information Headquarters

Online Importer Security Filing Resource Center

Welcome to the #1 website to teach you about Importer Security Filing (ISF)!

ISF – Importer Security Filing

Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements, commonly referred to as a “ISF” or “10+2,” is a rule passed down from The United States Department of Homeland Security requiring an electronic submission of cargo information to U.S. Customs & Border Protection before merchandise arriving by vessel can be imported into the United States. This rule first went into effect on January 26, 2009. Importer Security Filings can be filed by either the Importer of Record (IOR) or their agent (e.g., licensed customs broker). In either case, the ISF MUST BE FILED AT LEAST 24 HOURS PRIOR TO LOADING at the foreign port.

Frequently Asked Questions »

Importer Security Filing ‘ISF 10+2’ – Learn the Basics Transcript

Importer Security Filing
What is Importer Security Filing (ISF)?
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Rule
Enforced & Monitored by U.S. Customs & Border Protection
Went into effect on January 26, 2009
Required for All Containerized Ocean Shipments to the United States
Must be Filed Electronically at least 24 Hours Before Loading

10 Required Data Elements from Importer

  1. Selling Party
  2. Buying Party
  3. Importer of Record Number
  4. Consignee Number
  5. Manufacturer
  6. Ship to Party
  7. Country of Origin
  8. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) Number
  9. Container Stuffing Location
  10. Consolidator

2 Required Data Elements for Carrier

  1. Vessel Stow Plan
  2. Container Status Messages

Liquidated Damages Penalties Start at $5000
Maximum Penalties per ISF equal $10,000
Learn more at ISF Resource Headquarters

How to file an ISF – 10+2 Training

ISF Requirements for Hong Kong Imports
Per the rules set forth by the The United States Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs & Border protection, all Importer Security Filings must be submitted electronically. Because of the electronic submission requirement, there are only a few options for importers to file the 10 data elements; First, the importer may elect to have a broker file through the Automated Broker Interface (ABI). Or, the importer may file through an approved software company Finally, an Importer of Record (IOR) may file through the Automated Commercial Environment Portal (ACE). This online course will teach you how to file through ACE and the best practices to stay compliant.

Learn More »


Frequently Asked Questions

Who can file an ISF? Does it have to be a Customs Broker?

Either the Importer of Record (IOR) or their agent can file an ISF. Because Importer Security Filing is a rule passed down from the United States Department of Homeland Security and not U.S. Customs & Border Protection, the agent that files an ISF is not required to be a Customs Broker. This means that the agent filing your ISF may be your freight forwarder, supplier, or any other party authorized to act on your behalf. Many importers choose to file their own ISFs through the ACE Portal for free.

Does an ISF need to be filed for an ocean shipment from Alaska or Hawaii to the United States?

No. Although the ship will pass through international waters, U.S. Customs & Border Protection does not require an ISF to be filed for shipments originating from a U.S. state, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico.

What if my ISF is filed late?

Late ISF filing penalties start at $5000. However, filing late is better than not filing at all. If you have found that you have failed to file at least 24 hours before loading make sure you file as soon as possible. If you are consistently filing on-time and have a slip-up you can file a petition and may be able to reduce the penalty amount. The maximum liquidated damages penalties for late, inaccurate, incomplete, or failure to withdraw is $10,000.

Does an ISF need to be filed for an ocean shipment from Puerto Rico to the United States?

No, U.S. Customs & Border Protection considers Puerto Rico within the Customs Area of the United States. The Customs Area of the United States is comprised of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Can I file my ISF early?

Yes, your ISF should be filed as soon as you have collected all of the required data elements and no later than 24 hours before the ship is loaded. However, if you file before the bill of lading (B/L) is entered your ISF will not be accepted until there is a matching B/L. Contact your carrier or freight forwarder for more B/L information.

What must be filed?

Ten data elements must be filed by the Importer of Record or their agent.

  1. Seller name and address
  2. Buyer name and address
  3. Importer of record number / FTZ applicant indentification number
  4. Consignee number(s)
  5. Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
  6. Ship to party name and address
  7. Country of origin
  8. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) number
  9. Container stuffing location
  10. Consolidator name and address

Two data elements must be filed by the carrier.

  1. Vessel stow plan
  2. Container status messages
Why is it called ’10+2′?

Importer Security Filing is often referred to as ’10+2′ because of the 10 data elements required from the importer and 2 data elements required from the carrier.

Is a bond required to file an ISF?

Late ISF filing without a bond may accrue a $5000 liquidated damages penalty. A continuous importer bond or single transaction ISF bond must be on file with Customs & Border Protection (CBP) before a filing will be accepted. If you do not have a bond on file with CBP until after 24 hours before loading your filing will not be accepted. Filing after the 24 hour deadline will result in the filing of late ISF.

What does it cost to file an ISF?

ISF filing costs vary by broker and vendor. Typically brokers and freight forwarders charge $20 to $45 to file on your behalf. Self-filing software’s offer a more affordable option at $5 to $20 per file but require more of your resources. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) allows qualified importers to file through the ACE Portal for Free.  ACE filers are limited to no more than two (2) importer security filings per day, with a maximum of twelve (12) per year.

What does ISF stand for in shipping?

In shipping, ISF stands for Importer Security Filing, sometimes referred to as “10+2.” Importer Security Filing must be filed electronically for every containerized ocean shipment coming to the United States as per U.S. Homeland Security and Customs & Border protection rules.