What is the ISF Filing? Is this required for my Import?


What is an ISF Filing?

For Individuals and Businesses who are new to the import process. The question will arise of what is the meaning of filing the ISF, and why is it required. The requirement to file the ISF, also known as the Importer Security Filing is to prescreen all goods before they arrive into the United States for Homeland Security purposes.


The ISF Filing is required to be filed 24 hours before the loading of the overseas vessel. If you are late to file the ISF after the goods have shipped, ISF is still required to be filed or the goods can be subject to inspection holds when arrived to the port.


The responsibility to file the ISF rests on the importer, which is normally the same as the buyer of the goods.

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 Online for the flat rate of $95 which includes both the ISF Filing and ISF Bond.

Elements of ISF Filing (Importer Security Filing)

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Manufacturer – Name and address of the entity that last manufacturers, assembles, produces the good, or grows the commodity.

  6. Ship to party – Name and address of where the goods will go to physically after the release from Customs.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Container stuffing location – Name and address(es) of the physical location(s) where the goods were stuffed into the container.

  10. Consolidator – Name and address of the party who stuffed the container or arranged for stuffing of the container.

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