How concerned are you about the new ISF 10+2 requirements?

The correct answer is: Desperately concerned. Most importers are aware of the new CBP regulations but are still trying to figure out what 10+2 means? And, how it will impact the way supply chains and importers do business with their overseas suppliers and manufacturers.

The new ISF 10+2 import compliance requirements will dramatically change the way importers and ocean carriers conduct supply chain logistics. What the true impact will be is yet to be determined. But, we do know the importer will be solely responsible for compliance and be subject to fines on a flat basis on $5,000.00 per violation. This is the first major security requirement pertaining to U.S. importers with penalties assessed on the granular level. U.S. Exporters have been subject to security compliance for the past decade.

Will the Importer Security Filing be required in all transportation modes?
CBP is only focusing on ocean cargo. It is not exploring the expansion of the Importer Security Filing to other modes of transportation.

The first thing to clarify is:
The ISF 10+2 initiative is not related to U.S. Customs business.

The ISF 10+2 initiative is a U.S. Security regulation initiated by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for managing and securing U.S. borders both at and between the ports of entry into the United States. The agency ensures that all imports and exports are legal and comply with U.S. laws and regulations, and for collecting revenues associated with the enforcement of those laws. In March 1, 2003, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, was born as an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, merging functions of the former U.S. Customs Service, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Border Patrol, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Many changes took place in preparation for this merger and many have occurred since in order to safeguard U.S. borders against high-risk cargo, contraband, and unsafe imports.

The Importer Security Filing ISF is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulation pursuant to Section 203 of the SAFE Port Act of 2006 and section 343(a) of the Trade Act of 2002, as amended by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002, for non-bulk ocean shipments arriving into the United States. To review the documents and publications issued by the CBP, please go to the Documentation page.

The second thing to clarify is:
The Importer Security Filing (ISF) is mandatory.

The third thing to clarify is:
The Importer Security Filing (ISF) only applies to inbound ocean shipments.

Every inbound ocean shipment into the United States must have an Importer Security Filing (ISF). The party responsible for initiating the shipment is the party responsible for preparing and complying with the Importer Security Filing regulations. This party will be assessed the $5,000.00 penalty per violation should a compliance violation occur.

How was the Importer Security Filing requirement developed? Was the trade community/private sector involved in the development process?
CBP’s close partnership with the trade community is the key reason why the interim final rule was developed in a smooth and timely fashion. The trade’s input during the consultative process as well as its participation in the Advance Trade Data Initiative has been instrumental in the successful crafting of the proposal. Additionally, the Department’s Advisory Committee on Commercial Operations, also known as COAC, is comprised of government and industry representatives. In early 2007, COAC made almost 40 recommendations to CBP on how to implement the security filing rule. CBP carefully studied and considered the COAC recommendations and agreed in full and/or in part to a majority of the recommendations.

Will CBP implement the Importer Security Filing immediately?

The interim final rule was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, November 25 and will take effect 60 days after publication. Read the Interim Final Rule

The interim final rule also includes a delayed compliance date of 12 months after the interim final rule takes effect. During this 12-month period, CBP will show restraint in enforcing the rule. CBP will take into account difficulties that importers may face in complying with the rule as long as importers are making a good faith effort and satisfactory progress toward compliance. 

In addition, CBP will conduct a review, to determine any specific compliance difficulties that importers and shippers may experience in submitting all 10 data elements 24 hours before lading. The structured review will cover a range of enterprises, from small to large, and will include both integrated and nonintegrated supply chains.

Based on the information obtained during the structured review and public comment periods, CBP will conduct an analysis of the elements subject to flexibility. The analysis will examine compliance costs for various industry segments, the impact of the flexibilities, the barriers to submitting the data 24 hours prior to lading, and the benefits of collecting the data. Based upon the analysis, DHS will determine whether to eliminate, modify or maintain these requirements.

How do you handle situations where despite due diligence, all of the necessary data elements are simply not available?
If an ISF importer does not know an element that is required, that party must take steps necessary to obtain the information. In some cases, business practices may have to be altered to obtain the required information in a timely fashion. CBP is committed to working with the trade to assist them in achieving full compliance and will provide guidance in the form of FAQs, posting on the CBP web site, and other outreach to the trade.

For certain data elements (manufacturer (or supplier), ship to party, country of origin, and commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) number), ISF Importers will be permitted to submit an initial response or responses based on the best available data which they will have to update as soon as more precise or more accurate information is available, but in no event less than 24 hours prior to arrival at a U.S. port (or upon lading at a foreign port that is less than a 24 hour voyage to the closest U.S. port).

Who can file the Importer Security Filing?
The ISF importer or his agent will be responsible for filing the complete, accurate, and timely importer Security Filing. For the purposes of the interim final rule, ISF importer means the party causing goods to arrive within the limits of a port in the United States. For foreign cargo remaining on board, the ISF Importer is construed as the carrier. For immediate exportation (IE) and transportation and exportation (T&E) in-bond shipments, and goods to be delivered to a foreign trade zone (FTZ), the ISF importer is construed as the party filing the IE, T&E, or FTZ documentation with CBP.

What about general confidentiality issues?
Importer Security Filing data is treated as law enforcement sensitive when received by CBP because it is used for national security targeting purposes. It may also be considered confidential commercial information (subject to the Trade Secrets Act), when providing the same or similar information as required on the CBP 3461 Entry Form. Therefore, CBP would assert the applicable exemptions to withhold this information from public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), unless authorized by law or required by a court order.

The Importer Security Filing ISF has specific and unique requirements for importers and vessel operating carriers. Please navigate to these pages for more details on the 10+2 requirements.

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