importer security filing

What the Importer Security Filing (ISF) Means for You 

Read Time | 4 Minutes

If you’re bringing goods into the United States, you may have heard of a regulation called the Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements (ISF), also known commonly as 10+2. In their ongoing mission to enhance the safety and security of the country, Customs and Border Protection instituted this regulation, which gathers information on a shipment’s entire supply chain in order to more effectively identify high-risk cargo. The regulation only applies to shipments arriving in the U.S. via ocean freight. 

Under this rule, the agent or broker for every shipment must submit 10 points of data. Eight of these must be reported at least 24 hours before a shipment is loaded on a steamship headed for the United States. The other two are due no later than 24 hours prior to the ship’s arrival at a U.S. port. Shipping laws require the steamship lines to submit two additional pieces of information.  The 10 points of data plus the 2 additional items are where the rule’s nickname—10+2—originates. Easy right? 

If you’re working with DeWitt Move or another agent, the majority of the work around the ISF goes on behind the scenes. However, there are a couple of things that are useful to understand this rule: 

#1: The ISF Rule May Help Reduce Inspections 

If your shipment is selected for a customs exam, it can be delayed by anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If yours is one of the 3-5% of the shipments chosen every year, it can be a frustrating—and expensive—experience. 

The ISF rule aims to reduce the possibility of inspections for shipments that CBP designates as low-risk. By leveraging these 10 key points of information in the ISF, CBP is able to get a clear picture of your entire supply chain. Ideally, this will enable them to identify low-risk shipments and wave them through without inspection.  

There are no guarantees for eliminating inspections. However, we’ve seen a significant decrease in inspections because of these new rules. Given that inspections cost time and money—and create a lot of aggravation for all parties involved—we hope that trend continues. 

#2: It’s More Important Than Ever to Choose a Reliable Agent 

Under the ISF rule, all filings must be completed by an agent or broker electronically, using either the Automated Manifest System (AMS) or the Automated Broker Interface (ABI). Penalties for non-compliance are steep: up to $10,000 per filing. 

What does this mean to you? Make sure you’re working with a reputable agent or broker who you trust to take care of these filings. If you have any questions, just ask. Any reliable provider should be able to answer any inquiries you have about the ISF. If not, consider choosing a different broker or agent for your ocean freight shipments. 

#3: Understand the Information an Agent or Broker Needs for the ISF 

understanding isf 10+2

Finally, it’s useful to know the information an agent or broker needs to file an ISF so you can gather any necessary paperwork. Some of this gets a little technical, so if you have any questions, know that an agent or broker filing an ISF on your behalf should walk you through the documentation they need. 

The first half of the ISF involves the following 10 pieces of data: 

  1. Seller – Name and address of the last known entity by whom the goods are sold or agreed to be sold.  
  2. Buyer – The name and address of the last known entity to whom the goods are sold or agreed to be sold. (Note: If the goods are sold in transit, let your broker or agent know because the ISF must be amended.
  3. Importer of Record Number/FTZ Applicant ID Number –  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) number, Employer Identification Number (EIN), Social Security Number (SSN), or CBP assigned number of the entity liable for payment of all duties and responsible for meeting all statutory and regulatory requirements incurred as a result of importation.  For Foreign Trade Zone shipments, the IRS number, EIN, SSN or CBP assigned number of the party filing the FTZ documentation with CBP must be provided. 
  4. Consignee number – The IRS number, EIN, Social Security number or CBP assigned import number of the individual or firm in the U.S. on whose account the merchandise is shipped. 
  5. Manufacturer (or supplier) – Name and address of the entity that last manufactured, assembled, produced or grew the commodity, OR the name and address of the party supplying the finished goods in the country from which the goods are leaving.  
  6. Ship to party – Name, and address of the first deliver-to party scheduled to physically receive the goods after they have been released from customs custody. (Note: This should be the address where goods will actually be delivered, not, for example, the address of a corporate headquarters.
  7. Country of origin – Country of manufacture, production or growth of the article, based upon the import laws, rules and regulations of the United States. This is information should match the customs declaration. 
  8. Harmonized Tariff Schedule number – Tariff number under which the article is classified in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).  
  9. Container stuffing location – Name and address(es) of the physical location(s) where the goods were stuffed into the container.  
  10. Consolidator (stuffer) – The name and address of the party who stuffed the container or arranged for stuffing of the container.  

Under the Additional Carrier Requirements, the steamship line will file the final two pieces of information in the 10+2 equation: 

  1. Vessel stow plan 
  2. Container status messages 

With a good agent or broker, this process should feel nearly seamless to you. Just make sure to keep any documentation you have around your shipment, such as any commercial invoices, so that it’s easy for your agent or broker to gather the information they need for the filing. 

 

Questions about the Importer Security Filing (ISF)? 

We’re happy to help! We complete these filings on behalf of our customers, and we can answer any questions you might have.

Just reach out to us, and one of our experts will walk you through exactly what you need to know. 

Talk to an Import Expert