If you have purchased goods from an overseas seller which arranged your goods to be shipped by ocean vessel, yes you will need to file the ISF 24 hours before loading of goods to be compliant with US Customs.
The ISF Filing is also called the Importer Security Filing, or ISF 10+2. This requirement is a law enacted by the US Department of Homeland Securtiy, and enforced by US Customs to prescreen all goods coming into the US to deter terrorist acts and to see what is coming into the country ahead of time for customs exam purposes.
So what is the ISF Filing itself? The actual filing contains 10 elements in which the Importer is responsible to make sure this gets submitted to US Customs before loading of vessel, and if late, to be filed in a timely manner as soon as possible. The possible penalties for late filing is $5,000 per instance, and up to $10,000 in aggregate if multiple offenses are found.
The 10 elements of the ISF Filing are listed below. In addition to the 10 elements, vessel sailing information is also required such as Bill of Lading Numbers to let US Customs know which shipment the filing applies to.
Importers may use our Live ISF Form to submit their ISF Filing.
Elements of ISF Filing
Seller – Name and address of the Seller, who has sold the goods to the Buyer. The seller would be the overseas entity who have sold the goods. Sometimes this could be the same as the manufacturer of the goods.
Buyer – Name and address of the Buyer who has paid the Seller. The Buyer is the entity who have made financial payment of the goods to the Seller. This may be the same party as the Importer of Record.
Importer of Record – The IRS number, EIN, Social Security number, or Customs assigned of the Importer of Record. This entity liable for payment of all duties and responsible for meeting all statutory and regulatory requirements incurred as a result of importation.
Consignee number – The IRS number, EIN, Social Security number, or Customs assigned imported number of the individual or firm in the U.S. on whose account the merchandise is shipped.
Manufacturer – Name and address of the entity that last manufacturers, assembles, produces the good, or grows the commodity.
Ship to party – Name and address of where the goods will go to physically after the release from Customs.
Country of Origin – Country of manufacture, production, or growth of the article, based upon the import laws, rules and regulations of the U.S. This is the same information declared on the Customs entry.
Harmonized Tariff Schedule number – The HTS Tariff Number under which the article is classified in the HTSUS. The HTS Code identifies all imported goods which also determines the import duty rate and any special requirements if applicable.
Container stuffing location – Name and address(es) of the physical location(s) where the goods were stuffed into the container.
Consolidator – Name and address of the party who stuffed the container or arranged for stuffing of the container.