Enacted in 2009, the Importer Security Filing(ISF) system supports the importation of goods via ocean vessels into the United States and reduces the risk of smuggling. In order to continue to do this, importers must meet the ISF filing deadline. As a policy of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, importers who do not meet the deadline will face serious consequences when sending goods to the country. After several years of phasing in the new policy, in 2013, the CBP started penalizing importers who failed to file the ISF in accordance with the rules. Additionally, more new changes were made to the law in early 2018.
The ISF Filing Deadline is 24 hours before cargo is loaded onto a ship that is bound for the U.S. This deadline is mandated and enforced by the CBP. Failure to meet the deadline can result in financial penalties, delayed cargo, and more inspections.
The article below provides you with all of the necessary information you need for ISF Filings to ensure your goods are imported without delay or issue.
One of the most important requirements to know about the ISF system is when it should be filed. ISF is required to be filed no later than 24 hours before the cargo is loaded onto a ship with a destination of the United States or a foreign trade zone (FTZ). With that being said, it should be submitted as soon as possible. Submitting the ISF earlier will allow the filer additional time to correct any mistakes and revise the filing if needed. The information must be submitted electronically to the CBP before the vessel is even loaded.
The ISF Filing consists of 10 data elements.
Below is the list of the elements that are required to be included in the ISF Filing.
For shipments consisting of foreign goods remaining on board (FROB) or shipments of goods intended for transportation in-bond as immediate exportation (IE) or transportation and exportation (T&E) to an FTZ, only five elements are required. Those transported in-bond must also be filed 24 hours prior to loading while FROB must be done anytime before lading. Those five data elements consist of the following:
Another important requirement to understand is who does the ISF filing. The CBP states that the person responsible for filing the ISF is the importer. They are referring to the individual who is bringing merchandise within the limits of a port in the United States via ship. The importer can be the receiver of the goods, the individual conducting the purchase, or a customs broker.
Similarly, for FROB the importer is considered the carrier and thus they are the ones who need to file the ISF. For IE and T&E shipments the importer who needs to file the ISF is the same person who files the IE, T&E and FTZ documentation.
The rules may sound a little tricky and it’s important that you know who is responsible for filing the ISF ahead of time so as not to miss the ISF filing deadline. This is especially important considering the new rule the CBP enacted in 2018 in regards to the ISF. The rule dictates that the ISF importer have a direct involvement with the cargo. The goal of this rule is actually to help the ISF filing process by allowing whoever has the most access to the required information to fill in the data elements.
One way in which to ensure you have the correct information for filling out the ISF is to hold your suppliers accountable. You can do this by including wording in your purchase orders, contracts, letters of credit, and other materials that include your ISF expectations. This will help make sure those individuals know they are responsible for providing the ISF information in a timely manner.
No matter how hard you try or how prepared you are sometimes things just don’t work out. If this happens and you don’t file the ISF or fail to meet the ISF filing deadline, there are several things that will happen.
First, if you failed to file the ISF or missed the deadline the port you arrived at will file a case with the CBP. Sometimes the port will even begin the process right there rather than send it on to the CBP. The CBP will then proceed to file claims for the violations. They can assess damages up to $10,000 for failure to comply with the ISF.
For failure to file the ISF, late filing, incomplete filing, failure to withdraw the ISF, or failure to ensure it matches the Bill of Lading the CBP can assign penalties of $5,000 per shipment. In some cases the government agency will hold your cargo until the proper information has been received and reviewed.
If you utilize a customs broker or forwarder they will charge you a small fee for their services. Most brokers combine this cost with the cost of an ISF Bond. This combined amount is usually between $80 and $120.
In order to avoid the fees imposed by the CBP it may be worth your while to pay a smaller fee to avoid missing the ISF filing deadline. It will also ensure that you have all the required data elements. Also, if something does go wrong you can specify in your contract wording that requires the suppliers to take responsibility for payment if they're the ones at fault.
Complying with all the rules and requirements when importing into the U.S. can be confusing. At R&L Global Logistics, we will help you navigate the tricky waters of importing goods to the United States. We offer a wide range of ocean importing and exporting services to meet your specific needs. Beyond importing your goods, we manage the transportation, warehousing, and more. This allows us you to communicate through one point of contact, eliminating unnecessary communication with multiple vendors.
Our experienced professionals will help you track your shipments and ensure your goods are stored safely and properly. We offer a global partner network and fully integrated transport, clearance, and distribution. . You won’t have to worry about missing the ISF filing deadline when you work with R & L Global Logistics.