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     Importer Security Filing (ISF) is a new requirement of the US Customs and Border Protection Agency, applied only to vessel arriving shipments. The primary role of this new requirement is to improve the security of the United States of America by identifying high risk shipments, and preventing any unauthorized cargo coming to our shores. ISF became mandatory on January 26th, 2010. This requirement is unique and requires the cooperation of everyone in the ocean transportation industry. The highest burden and responsibilities lie solely on importers. Click here for a brochure from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The following data elements are required from importers (10) and ocean carriers (2). Numbers 10 and 2 
Data elements required from importers:

1. Manufacturer name and address

2. Seller name and address

3. Buyer name and address
4. Ship to name and address

5. Container stuffing (loading) address

6. Consolidator name and address
7. Consignee (importer) name and address
8. Importer’s IRS number (Employer Identification Number or Social Security number)
9. Country of origin where goods were manufactured, produced or grown

10. First 6 digits of customs tariff number

Data elements required from ocean carriers:

1. Vessel stow plan (vessel name, operator, container position)

2. Container status message

The ISF form is self-explanatory, should you need assistance completing it, please contact us. 
Click here for additional information from the US Customs web page.

New clients need to authorize us to submit an Importer Security Filing form to customs on their behalf. Please fill out a Customs Power of Attorney form, sign it and send it back to us. We need the completed form no later than 48 hours before the vessel departure. The submission fee is $25.00 per form. If you are a regular importer, and have a continuous bond on file, you do not need any additional bond. For importers without a bond, an ISF bond is required. The bond is in the amount of $10,000, and the bond premium is $50.00. The ISF bond does not have a minimum or a maximum amount, and is not connected to the value of shipments.

A bond is not required for the following:

  • Household Goods/Personal Effects
  • Government and Military shipments
  • Diplomatic shipments
  • Carnets
  • International mail




     Please be familiar with important information on penalties and bonding options (Single transaction ISF Bond, Single transaction CBP Form 301 for a unified filing, Continuous ISF Bond, Continuous CBP Form 301) regarding the Importer Security Filing required by US Customs and Border Protection. The Importer Security Filing (ISF) requirements are fully enforced by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since January 26, 2010. At this time, CBP began issuing liquidated damage penalties to importers for non-compliance. Following are the potential penalties which may be issued by CBP:

  • $5,000 if the ISF is not transmitted at least 24 hours prior to container being loaded onto the vessel
  • $5,000 for each inaccurate and/or incomplete ISF transmission.
  • $5,000 for any inaccurate ISF data update.

The maximum penalty per one ocean shipment is $10,000, based on a combination of any of the above. CBP therefore, is requiring these exposures be bonded. Following are the bonding options CBP is permitting:

  • Single transaction ISF Bond: Covers one ISF transmission and the bond amount required is $10,000.
  • Single transaction CBP Form 301 for a unified filing: “Unified” means that the entry and ISF filing are being submitted at the same time. Only if the filings are unified (occurring simultaneously) will this type of bond work without a separate ISF bond. Import bonds are generally calculated at value plus duties, taxes and fees; or 300% of the value, unless otherwise directed by CBP.
  • Continuous ISF Bond: Covers ISF transmissions only, not entries. The bond amount required is $50,000. (Note: CBP may require an increased bond based on the bond principal’s violation history.)
  • Continuous CBP Form 301: Activity codes 1, 2, 3 or 4 may be used to cover ISF filings. The activity code 1 (import) bond may be used to cover both the ISF filings and entries, whether they occur at the same time (i.e., “unified”) or not. The bond amount is generally calculated at 10% of the total duties, taxes and fees paid to CBP for either the last 12 months or the next 12 months, whichever amount is greater, and is subject to rounding rules and an overall minimum of $50,000.

Since CBP has recently announced that they will collect under your CBP Form 301 continuous bond if your ISF bond is exhausted, we strongly encourage you to obtain a CBP Form 301 continuous bond in order to cover importer security filings. This is the most efficient solution to ensure you are in compliance and may serve to control your liability. As your customs broker, we can secure a CBP Form 301 continuous bond for you with an “A” (excellent) A.M. Best financially rated company. Contact us today and protect your company with a continuous import bond.