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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)!


Books Every Importer Must Read

The 7 Books Every Importer Must Read

From Mark Zuckerberg to Andrew Carnegie, if business leaders throughout history share a common trait it’s this: they read. Whether you are a new importer or run a multi-million (or billion) dollar enterprise, staying sharp on the ins-and-outs of importing can not only save you time, but also money. In the world of customs and logistic even small mistakes can run in the tens-of-thousands of dollars. This list of the 7 books every importer must read includes materials suited to help you build your new business or expand your enterprise.


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10 Tips to Help You Avoid Importer Security Filing Penalties

10 Tips to Help you Avoid Importer Security Filing Penalties

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is issuing fines and penalties for Importer Security Filings (ISF). Because of the up to $10,000 fine, now is the time to prepare for the full enforcement phase of ISF. Importer Security Filing Resource Headquarters has put together 10 Tips to help you avoid Importer Security Filing Penalties and/or Fines. Use these best practices to develop a rock solid ISF compliance plan.


Tip #1 – Require vendors provide all ten (10) data elements 48 72 hours before the ship is loaded. 

Because filing an ISF late may result in a $5,000 liquidated damages penalty, all ten (10) data elements must be collected well before the ship is loaded. Requiring your vendors, seller, manufacturer, freight forwarder, etc., to provide this information in a timely manner is important. While 72 hours is appropriate for most importers, a more lengthy timeline may be more appropriate for your business.


Tip #2 – Ensure ISF Filing is complete and transmit as soon as you get the data.

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The Definitive Guide to Importer Security Filing, ISF 10+2, and ISF 5

The Definitive Guide to Importer Security Filing, ISF 10+2, and ISF 5

Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements first went into effect on January 26, 2009. The rule gives The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) greater ability to identify high-risk shipments in order to prevent smuggling and ensure cargo safety and security.

The Definitive Guide to Importer Security Filing, ISF 10+2, and ISF 5 was designed to help the average importer better understand the ins-and-outs of this complex rule. If you have any questions or need more clarification about the intricacies of ISF please use the comments section at the end of this article.


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What is Importer Security Filing?

Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements, commonly referred to as ISF 10+2 or ISF 5, is a requirement of The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  “Before merchandise arriving by vessel can be imported into the United States, the ‘Importer Security Filing (ISF) Importer,’ or their agent (e.g., licensed customs broker),must electronically submit certain advance cargo information to CBP in the form of an Importer Security Filing. This requirement only applies to cargo arriving in the United States by ocean vessel; it does not apply to cargo arriving by other modes of transportation.”

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Free-File your ISF through ACE - 10 Easy to Follow Steps

[Infographic] Free-File your ISF through ACE

Customs & Border Protection (CBP) offers an amazing option to free-file your Importer Security Filing (ISF) online through the Automated Commercial environment (ACE). This option is available to importers with 12 or less ISF transactions annually.

As you get use to the ACE Portal it may take you longer to file your first few transactions. However, It will take you about 15 minutes to file your ISF once you get use to the system.

The first step to filing your ISF online is to apply for an ACE account. This can be done here. The process of getting an account can take a few weeks so apply well before your shipment.

After your account is activated you can free-file your ISF online without the need for an ISF declaration form or 10+2 customs form. ISF filing requirements specify that all transactions must take place electronically.

Follow the instructions below to get started. After you file, review your ISF progress reports using the reports tab.

10 Steps to Free-File your ISF Online with ACE

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ISF Bond Requirements

ISF Bond Requirements

An ISF bond is a type of surety bond required for all containerized ocean shipments imported into the United States. U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) designates this bond as an “Activity Code 16 – Importer Security Filing (ISF) Bond.”

An ISF bond is a financial guarantee between three parties:

  • The Obligee – U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
  • The Principal – Importer of Record (IOR)
  • The Surety – Insurance Company

As is the case with other customs bonds, an ISF bond guarantees that Customs will receive all monies “considered necessary for the protection of the revenue or to assure compliance with any pertinent law, regulation, or instruction.” Therefore, If CBP is unable to collect the monies from the IOR, the bond guarantees the insurance company will pay up to the bond amount.

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ISF Enforcement Rules Update

CBP ‘Strikes Down’ Three-Strikes ISF Enforcement Rule

JUNE 28, 2016 – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that local ports are no longer required to send requests for ISF Liquidated Damages (LD) to headquarters for any shipment on the water on or after June 30, 2016. As a result, ending the over two-year long “three-strikes” ISF enforcement rule that started in May 2014.

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ISF News Flash

Resolved–ISF Transmission Response Delay

-Update 06/10/16, 11:45 AM-

The ISF processing issue is resolved. ISF data is now flowing normally. CSMS #16-000476

-Original Article 06/10/16, 10:14 AM-

As you may have already noticed, responses from CBP to ISF transmission are delayed. CBP is aware of the issue and is working to fix the problem. They advise filers to “transmit normally but do not submit a second filing in order to attempt to force an acceptance.

ISF Resource Headquarters will post a resolution to this problem when updated by CBP.

CSMS #16-000473

ISF Enforcement Strategy CBP

Importer Security Filing (ISF) Enforcement Strategy

Update: On June 17, 2016 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced through the Cargo System Messaging Service (CSMS) that, “for shipments that are on the water on or after June 30, 2016, CBP ports will no longer be required to send requests for liquidated damages (LD) claims to Headquarters for review, and the ‘three-strikes’ approach to LD claims against importers’ bonds will also end.” Therefore, the below enforcement strategy should no longer be considered accurate. Learn more about the updated ISF Enforcement Rules

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