Importer Security Filing (ISF)
What is Importer Security Filing?
The Importer Security Filing, also known as the ISF Filing is the electronic submission of your ocean shipment data to U.S. Customs for advanced screening of your goods prior to your goods being shipping overseas.
Who is responsible to get this filed with Customs?
The importer or buyer of the goods is responsible to have their ISF filed with U.S. Customs.
What happens if I am late to file?
U.S Customs has the right to issue ISF penalty from $5,000-$10,000 per shipment. It is recommended that you file as soon as possible to decrease the risk of penalty. For shipments that do not have ISF filed when arrived, the cargo can be held for inspection or exam.
How soon can I file?
The ISF can be filed as soon as your seller provides you the ISF Information Sheet. It is best to start the filing 2-3 days before the vessel departs from overseas.
What documents do I need?
The ISF information sheet and invoice from your seller is required. In addition proofs of ID is required to start customs broker service.
1. ISF Information Sheet
2. Invoice from Seller
3. Photo ID
4. Proof of Tax ID: either Business EIN Number or Social Security Number
What information is contained in the ISF Filing?
ISF requires 10 separate data elements. They are listed as follows:
Supplier (or manufacturer) name & address – the company or person that manufactured the goods or the last company/person that modified it
Vendor name & address – The company/person which purchased the goods.
Buyer (importer of record) name & address – The person or company purchasing the goods.
Ship-to name & address – the physical location / final destination of the goods.
Container stuffing location – The name and address of the location where the goods were placed into the container. If placed into the container in more than one location, all locations must be listed.
Consolidator name & address – the party who physically stuffed the container or arranged for it. If the vendor or manufacturer of the goods stuffed the container, then they would be considered the consolidator
ISF importer (importer assigned) number – The IRS number, employee identification number, social security number, or CBP assigned number of the party responsible for the goods entering the United States. This may or may not be the importer of record; it can be the owner, consignee, or agent.
Consignee identification number – The IRS number, employee identification number, social security number, or CBP assigned number of the U.S consignee. This party must be located in the United States.
Country of origin – The country where the goods were produced or grown
HTS codes – Harmonized Tarif Schedule numbers with a minimum of 6 digits
Bill of lading number – Either the house or straight bill of lading number, whichever is lowest.