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Import, Trade Notices, US Customs

Importer Security Filing (ISF), aka “10+2″


When does the ISF have to be filed?

  • Not later than 24 hours prior to loading of the shipment to the vessel at the foreign port of lading.

Does the effective date of Jan. 26th mean that any shipment which is departing from the origin port on or after Jan. 26th is required to have an ISF, or any shipment arriving in the USA after Jan. 26th?

  • The regulation is effective for any shipment loading to vessel at the origin port on or after Jan. 26th.

Do I have to present my complete set of shipping documents to you for ISF filing at that time?

  • No; the minimum required data elements can be provided, along with a commercial invoice (which should be available at the time of filing), on a simple cover sheet and faxed/emailed to the filing agent. Additionally, FgL’s ABI software provider is developing a spreadsheet for this purpose, which can be emailed to FgL for filing. Other brokers will likely have similar options available.

What should the importer provide in order to accomplish the ISF filing?

  • The minimum required data elements can be provided, along with a commercial invoice (which should be available at the time of filing), on a simple cover sheet and faxed/emailed to the filing agent. Additionally, FgL’s ABI software provider is developing a spreadsheet for this purpose, which can be emailed to FgL for filing. Other brokers will likely have similar options available.

Is the party actually receiving the freight the only one responsible for this filing?

  • NO! CBP has defined the responsible party as the “ISF Importer”. See the Assessment [PENDING] page for more on this.

Doesn’t Customs realize that this is not possible?

  • No. CBP does, however, recognize that this entails, or may entail, changes in some business practices. For this reason, there is a 12 month phased in compliance period.

So who files this?

  • A party meeting the requirements to file electronically can file on behalf of the ISF importer, or the ISF importer may self-file, provided they have the technological capability. This means being either ABI or AMS participants. The filer (aka agent) does NOT have to be a licensed US Customs broker ; it can be a freight forwarder or other interested party meeting the technological capabilities. A power of attorney is required in all cases where an agent is performing the actual filing.

Is this going to cost?

  • Yes! See the Assessment [PENDING] page.

If Freightgator files the ISF, what’s the fee?

  • See the Assessment [PENDING] page.

So do we need new powers of attorney for existing clients?

  • No.

What impact does the ISF have on Customs clearance?

  • None, provided that it has been done. For importers without a continuous bond in place, evidence of the filing will be required by FgL, if not done by FgL, so as to minimize the risk of punitive damages against the broker’s bond.

What is the impact on freight forwarders?

  • The only significant impact is that the AMS filing party will receive a DO NOT LOAD message if there is no ISF matched against the AMS bill of lading prior to the 24 hour cutoff. Depending on the processes ultimately created by all parties involved, there could be missed sailings due to missing ISF’s against shipments in a consolidation container.

After the shipment arrives in the USA, does it clear Customs again, or is this ISF in lieu of clearance?

  • The ISF is a security filing only, and is not the same as a clearance or release. Although the entry summary data can be filed in conjunction with the ISF, the customary entry/release procedures are unchanged.

How long does the ISF process take?

  • As of this writing, any estimate is speculative. The actual, total time will depend on several factors, such as when the data is received, and its’ accuracy and completeness. In theory, the minimum turnaround time would be about 5 minutes, accounting for data entry and ABI transmission to CBP.

If the importer does not have a continuous bond, will a single entry bond suffice for ISF purposes?

  • No. The importer must have a continuous entry bond in force, or the new ISF bond which CBP has authorized. However, at this time, no information is available from FgL’s sureties as to the availability & pricing of this bond. Alternately, the ISF filer may use its’ own bond (i.e. the broker’s bond). See Fees for information on pricing. NOTE: CBP has suspended the bond requirements for the duration of the flexible enforcement period, being Jan. 26th, 2009 through Jan. 25th, 2010.

Is freight which is merely transiting the USA (imported but then exported under inbond conditions (IE, T&E)) required to have a security filing?

  • Yes; the primary difference between IE/T&E cargo and regular imports is that only five data elements are required. Please see the CBP presentation for a glimpse of this information.

If CBP is not issuing Do Not Load messages for failure to file timely, and is also not assessing penalties, what incentive does an importer have to file?

  • CBP will be issuing “report cards” to filers & importers as the flexible enforcement period progresses. These reports will demonstrate, in an enforced compliance phase, whether or not parties are negligible in compliance improvement, and thus, whether or not penalties will be enforced during the initial enforcement phases.

Does the AMS bill of lading have to be filed before the ISF?

  • NO! The ISF can be filed at any time, irrespective of the AMS status. The ISF filer is notified of the bill’s AMS status at the time of filing (either on file or not); if the bill is not on file, ABI will hold the ISF for 30 days.

Chinese trade practice typically has manufacturers exporting through licensed exporters, who in effect become the shipper/selling party. In this case, the actual manufacturer may not be known. How does this affect the ISF requirement to supply the information for the manufacturer?

  • The current regulation allows for the use of the party currently required by existing rules for standard entry procedures. In short, this means that we can use the shipper/selling party as the manufacturer for ISF purposes.

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