ISF Filing for Ocean Imports to USA

Importer Security Filing (ISF 10+2) is a mandatory program instituted by U.S. Customs to add an extra layer of security and accountability to imports coming into the United States.

An ISF (Importer Security Filing) is a requirement for ocean freight shipments entering the United States. The ISF must be filed with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) before the goods are loaded onto a vessel for transport to the United States. The purpose of the ISF is to provide CBP with advance information about the contents of the shipment, allowing them to identify and assess potential security risks.

The ISF must be filed by the importer or their authorized agent, and must include detailed information about the shipment, such as the date and place of loading, the vessel name and voyage number, the port of arrival, and the consignee. It must also include information about the goods being shipped, such as the quantity, value, and Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code.

In general, the ISF must be filed at least 24 hours before the goods are loaded onto the vessel. Failure to file the ISF on time may result in penalties or delays at the port of arrival. It’s important to work with a customs broker or other expert to ensure that the ISF is filed correctly and on time.




Why do I need Importer Security Filing for my US bound ocean shipment?

Before merchandise arriving by vessel can be imported into the United States, the “Importer Security Filing (ISF) Importer,” or their agent (e.g., licensed customs broker) must electronically submit certain advance cargo information in the form of an Importer Security Filing. This requirement only applies to cargo arriving in the United States by ocean vessel; it does not apply to cargo arriving by other modes of transportation. Failure to file leaves the importer non compliant with US Customs and therefore, subject to fines and penalties.

Importer of record is responsible for ISF Filing

The Importer is required to submit the Importer Security Filing. The Importer is the party causing the goods to arrive within the limits of a port in the United States by vessel. Typically, the Importer is the goods’ owner, purchaser, consignee, or agent such as a licensed customs broker. However, for foreign cargo remaining on board, the Importer is the carrier. For immediate exportation and transportation and exportation in-bond shipments, and goods to be delivered to a foreign trade zone (FTZ), the Importer is the party filing the documentation

Imports USA, customs clearance, customs broker.

Required ISF Data Fields

  • Seller
  • Buyer
  • Importer of record number
  • Identification number
  • Consignee number(s)
  • Manufacturer (or supplier)
  • Ship to party
  • Country of origin
  • Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule
  • The United States (HTSUS) Number

Secondary ISF Filing Fields

Importers have flexibility with respect to the submission of these data elements. For these data elements, importers may submit a range of acceptable responses based on facts available to the ISF Importer at the time of submission.

  • Container stuffing location
  • Consolidator

Data for FROB, IE and T&E shipments

Importer Security Filings for IE and T&E shipments must be submitted no later than 24 hours before the cargo is laden aboard a vessel destined to the United States and Importer Security Filings for FROB must be submitted any time prior to lading. The following five data elements must be submitted for FROB, IE and T&E shipments:

  • Booking party
  • Foreign port of unlading
  • Place of delivery
  • Ship to party
  • Commodity& HTSUS Number


The following documents must be submitted in order to file your ISF. These should have been provided to you by your supplier or manufacturer in the origin country.

• Bill of Lading

• ISF Info Sheet

• Commercial Invoice

• Company IRS Verification Letter or Personal ID/Drivers License