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How to File ISF? A Simple Guide to Nail Your Security Filing!

The advancement of transportation has gradually torn down international boundaries. Different countries are putting more emphasis on border security, and it is important for importers and exporters to complete the necessary security filing processes.

The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of the United States came up with the Importer Security Filing requirement, demanding that containerized cargo submit information for security purposes. It is important to know that US-bound and transit cargos are required to submit different data elements. US-bound cargo is required to submit 10 data elements (ISF-10) while transit cargo only needs 5 (ISF-5).

To submit your ISF perfectly, you simply have to follow 3 steps:

Step 1. Prepare the information required for ISF (with full list of items)
Step 2. Look for a certified software partner and file your ISF
Step 3. Follow up on your ISF status

Step 1 of ISF filing: collect the information required for ISF

Step 1. Prepare the information required for ISF

Every filing process requires collecting information. Importers or their agents must first collect the necessary information from different parties prior to the actual filing.

10 Information items to be submitted for ISF-10 no later than 24 hours prior to lading

*Note that container stuffing location and consolidator can be submitted no later than 24 hours before the vessel arrives at a U.S port.

5 information items to be submitted for ISF-5 no later than 24 hours prior to lading

The operating carriers also have to submit 2 additional information items as shown below.

2 data elements to be submitted by the carrier no later than 48 hours after departure

All types of ISF must have the lowest bill of lading number to be referred in the AMS system

Step 2 of ISF filing: look for the right partner to file ISF

Step 2. Look for a certified partner and file your ISF

After collecting all the necessary information, it is time to fill out the form and submit the filing!

Filings must be done with electronic form. Importer or freight forwarders can look for software providers with portals connected to the CBP system to submit importer security filing.

The software will not merely serve as a connection between the importer and the government. It could also serve the following functions.

Step 3 of ISF filing: check your ISF status online

Step 3. Check the status of your filing

After submitting your ISF, it is essential to keep track of your ISF status. If the information in your ISF matches with that in AMS, CBP will accept your ISF and there will not be any problem. However, if there is any missing or inaccurate information in your ISF, CBP might reject your ISF, resulting in unwanted ramifications, including monetary penalty of $5,000, detention, inspection, and delay of cargo.

By following our guide, you will be able to successfully submit your ISF without receiving any penalties.

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