File ISF yourself!

These are challenging times economically, and while Covid-19 has boosted many e-commerce operators, importers still face the same challenges and concerns about the future. With many businesses taking active and preventive measures to cut back on spending, importers also seek ways to improve their bottom line prospects. One way is to forgo the middleman, the import brokers, and brokerage firms and file the ISF yourself!

What is Importer Security Filing (ISF) Filing?

Before jumping in to explore the benefits of internet-based solutions for exporters, including self-filing the ISF 10+2 form online, let’s understand what this famous form is all about.

ISF filing is part and parcel of the US customs clearance requirements. Governed by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP), importers are expected to file the Importer Security Filing (the ‘10’) and Additional Carrier Requirements (+2) with the CBP.

The 10+2 rule only applies to ocean cargo imports and targets and screens high-risk shipments before they arrive at a US port of entry. The aim is to protect the country from illegal activities or terrorism. Additionally, the form helps identify all players in the supply chain and combines with the 24 Hour Rule to provide precise descriptions of goods being shipped to the US. The 10+2 ISF form expands the importer’s range of accountability for dubious shipments. However, it lessens examination for low-risk shipments.

In essence, filing the ISF form is for security purposes and not for trade, defining entry, or commercial enforcement. However, it must be filed as the CBP compares the ISF data with the Entry Summary (broker entry 7501 or CBP form 7501) to evaluate risk and confirm the ISF data.

What are ISF requirements?

Importers have 24 hours to file the ISF before their merchandise sets sail for the US from the last port of origin. The form is submitted to the CBP electronically via its Automated Manifest System (AMS). Carriers must file an AMS arrival notice up to 48 hours before departure from the last port of origin and give it to the importer upon request.

The ISF form must include the following to meet requirements:

  • Seller’s name and address
  • Buyer’s name and address
  • Supplier’s/manufacturer’s name and address
  • “Ship to” name and address
  • Consolidator’s name and address
  • Country of origin
  • Importer of record IRS or EIN
  • Consignee IRS or EIN
  • Container stuffing location
  • International HTS number — a number comprising ten digits — the first six are international, and the last 4 are local. For ISF compliance, only the first six are required.
  • Bill of Lading number

Failure to meet ISF Filing requirements

Missing the 24-hour deadline to file or not meeting its requirements could lead to fines of thousands of dollars with the cost depending on the gravity of the violation. Even if the deadline is missed, the importer must still file the ISF form, or customs will detain their goods. If you are a first-time offender, for example, you may receive reduced fines. However, there is no leniency if the CBP deems that laws were broken intentionally or that the filing was purposely not filed on time.

Online ISF filing

Today there are online solutions for ISF self-filing that help importers save time, effort, and money. ISF filing online also makes sense as importers don’t need a CBP Filer Code, permits, or licenses.

eezyimport’s online self-filing solution for importers is the most advanced yet simple platform available. DIY customs clearance has never been more accessible, transparent, low-cost, or doable from anywhere, anytime. Whether you’re filing the ISF form or the Entry Summary, we simplify the processes to accelerate your success!