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Import Security Filing (ISF)- What You Should Know?

What is Importer Security Filing (ISF)?

ISF stands for Import Security Filing.  This is also known as the 10 +2 regulation. This is an initiative taken by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the U.S.A for. Once AMS filing has been done for US-bound cargo or shipments transit via the USA, the importer or the importer’s agent of the cargo should file ISF.

ISF requirement is incorporated in CBP pursuant to Section 203 of the SAFE Port Act of 2006 and section 343(a) of the Trade Act of 2002, as amended by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, for non-bulk cargo shipments arriving in the United States by vessel.

All ISF filings are to be done electronically via vessel Automated Manifest System or the Automated Broker Interface (ABI).

You need to remember that per one ISF filing there should be only one importer. Thus, the importer can include multiple BL information in one filing if the BLs belong to one shipment arriving in one vessel/voyage.

ISF filing is exempted for bulk cargo and a few identified breakbulk cargo. The filing should be done for the rest of the commodities. including containerized cargo

Information Requirements in ISF

USA Bound Cargo | ISF-10 Filing

For USA bound cargo, ISF has 10 items to be filled as below.

Importer of Record Number

This includes below details of the party who is liable for arranging customs duty/taxes and, meeting statutory and regulatory requirements of the imported cargo.

– Internal Revenue Service (IRS) number, Employer Identification Number (EIN), Social Security Number (SSN), or CBP assigned number

Consignee Number

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) number, Employer Identification Number (EIN), Social Security Number (SSN), or CBP assigned a number of the individual(s) or firm(s) in the United States whom cargo is received.

Seller (Owner)

The names and the address of the entity who has shipped the goods or the party who is known as the seller of the goods. Instead of the name and the address of the seller, Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number also could be filled.

Buyer (Owner)

Name and address of the last known entity to whom the goods are sold or agreed to be sold. Same as for seller information, DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering System ) could be given instead of the name and the address of the buyer.

Ship To Party

The party who receives the goods first after customs clearance. Here you have to provide the actual delivery address and the name as CBP does not accept corporate addresses. If the actual party is unknown,  the details of the place where the goods will be unladen could be given.

Manufacturer or Supplier

Here you have to mention the last manufacturer’s name and the address. The manufacturer could be replaced with the last assembler, commodity grower or with the last producer depending on the actual supply process. The word “last” uses as there could be a few tiers after the original manufacture/ supplier of the cargo.

Country of Origin

Certificate of the Origin or CO is a well-known term. You may provide the country from where the materials grow up, are manufactured or processed.

Commodity HTS-6 Number

This is the HS code of cargo. And the HS number should be provided up to 6 digits and the digits after the 6th digit falls under the national classification.

Thus filing the HS code up to 10 digits will not be rejected.

Container Stuffing Location

The name and the address of the location where goods were physically stuffed should be mentioned. The location could be a container freight station or a manufacturer’s plant.

Consolidator (Stuffer) Name/Addres

Details of the party who arranges or do the cargo stuffing is to be mentioned. If the cargo is break bulk, the party who makes the cargo “ready to ship” consider as the consolidator.

Cargo Transit via USA | ISF-05 Filing

For the cargo transit via the USA, only 05 items should be filled under Import Security Filing. We have stated the 5 items below.

Booking Party Name/Address

Details of the party who initiated the booking/ space reservation with the shipping line.

Ship To Party

Details of the party who receives the goods as the first party after customs clearance.

Commodity HTS-6 Number

This is the HS code of cargo. And the HS number should be provided up to 6 digits and the digits after the 6th digit falls under the national classification.

Foreign Port of Unlading

Port code of the destination port. CBP will accept UN LOC Codes and the Bureau of Census “Schedule K” codes

Place of Delivery

The place or the location where the carrier’s responsibility terminates and considers goods delivered.

Additional Information

Either to the above 10 elements or 5 elements filing, the below details should be filled by the carrier.

Vessel Stow Plan: NLT 48 Hrs After Departure (Anytime prior to arrival for voyages less than 48 Hrs)

Container Status Message (CSM) Data: Within 24 Hrs of Creation or Receipt.

ACE Secure Data Portal Account

In order to file ISF, a company should have a registered account on ACE Secure Data Portal Account.  The ISF portal can be accessed through the ACE data portal.  Under the registered account, a company can set up a few user profiles to file Import Security Filing. If you are looking for an ACE account as a Partner Government Agency (PGA) user, you may have to submit an application separately.  

The Automated Broker Interface (ABI) system too can be used to file ISF. By contacting the ACE help desk you can register an account for ISF filing. Or email  [email protected] to be assigned a Client Representative.

Prior to requesting an ACE account, the importer must register their importer ID number with CBP. Registration can be done in person at a local port of entry, or by a licensed customs broker via the use of CBP Form 5106.

If you do not have an ACE account, you may do the ISF filing through an agent who holds the ACE account.

Import Security Filing (ISF)- What You Should Know?
Source: CBP

ISF Cut Off

As a proxy indicator, CBP used to measure the timely filing of ISF by using the first bill of lading file date. This method was followed as the BL should be filed a minimum of 24 hours prior to vessel lading under the current 24 Hour Manifest Rule.

Thus, the proxy indicator was useless as some BLs were filled a few days prior to actual lading. In order to mitigate the errors, CBP changed the time measuring method and currently use Vessel Departure Date minus 24 hours for better assessment of ISF timeliness.


No binding to the ISF regulation can cause a penalty from USD 5,000 to USD 10,000 per data transmission.

Important Facts

ISF filler does not have to be located in the USA. Unless the ISF is a unified filing, foreign freight forwarders can do the ISF filing. Hence, if you are interested in being an ISF filler, you have the opportunity to register and do the filing.

At the same time, the cargo owner does not have to use the same ISF filler for all the shipments. As entries are individual presentations, the cargo owner can change the ISF filler from entry to entry if required.

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