What is ISF ?

Importer Security Filing (ISF)

What Exactly is ISF?

Think of Importer Security Filing (ISF), affectionately dubbed “10+2,” as a must-do homework for ocean shipments headed to the USA. It’s all about giving the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) a heads-up. You need to send this info over to them 24 hours before your ship leaves its last port before docking stateside.

The Importance of ISF – Why Should You Care?


Simply put, ISF lets CBP zero in on any cargo that might raise eyebrows for safety reasons. This info is a big help in preventing unsavory items from slipping into the country.

ISF Filing Checklist: What You’ll Need


Before you file, make sure you’ve got:

  • Who’s Who and Where’s Where:
    • Supplier’s or manufacturer’s details
    • Owner’s or seller’s info
    • Delivery address
    • Packing location
    • Consolidator’s contact points
    • Your official importer number or zone ID
    • Consignee number
    • Origin country
    • Tariff numbers for your products
    • House and master bill specifics, including SCAC
  • Shipping Lowdown:
    • Vessel’s loading blueprint
    • Container journey updates

Skip ISF Filing? Here’s What You’re Up Against

Think of ISF like a security pass for your cargo. Without it, you’re looking at big fines, annoying delays, and extra scrutiny. Mess it up, and CBP could keep your shipment from unloading. Worse, if your goods get offloaded without a green light from CBP, they could seize it all and prevent future loads.

The Price Tag on ISF Mistakes

Slip-ups here can hit your wallet hard, with penalties reaching $10,000 for each goof. Breakdown of potential fines includes:

  • $5,000 for no ISF
  • $5,000 for tardy ISF
  • $5,000 for half-baked ISF
  • $5,000 for not updating your ISF
  • $5,000 for ISF and Bill of Lading mismatches

Avoid These Common ISF Errors


Keep an eye out for these typical errors:

  • Bungling the Bill of Lading numbers
  • Procrastinating on your ISF form

Need a hand? Give us a shout. Our pros are here to ensure you nail every detail of the ISF process.


Some Words from
our Clients