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Importer Security Filing (ISF) Update
July 5, 2016

Importer Security Filings (ISF) enforcement may increase next month when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ports will no longer be required to request liquidated damages (LD) from headquarters. The "three-strikes" approach to LD claims against importers' bonds will also end. As in the past, CBP ports may hold cargo for untimely or inaccurate ISF filings. 

  • This new phase of ISF enforcement applies to ocean shipments on the water or sailing after June 30, 2016.
  • CBP-HQ provided new guidance to the ports to issue any ISF claim within 90 days of discovering the violation.
  • Per the existing policy, CBP will continue to focus on "significantly" late ISF shipments that preclude or compromise CBP's ability to target the cargo before it arrives in the U.S. 

ISF was first introduced on January 26, 2009, requiring eight data elements to be electronically transmitted to CBP at least 24 hours before the cargo is laden aboard a vessel destined for the United States. The ISF requirement was implemented by CBP to proactively identify high-risk shipments to prevent smuggling, ensure cargo safety and increase security. Since 2009, ISF has been in an implementation phase where liquidated damages were sent to CBP Headquarters for assessment. Beginning next month, local CBP offices across the United States will have the authority to asses liquidated damages. The penalty for ISF noncompliance  can range from $5,000 to $10,000 per violation. 

UWL encourages importers to communicate with suppliers the importance of providing timely ISF information to avoid penalties. UWL files the ISF on behalf of importers to support a compliant and successful import program, however this is dependent upon receipt of the ISF information before the cut off time. Therefore, it is important to work proactively with origin contacts to ensure ISF data is provided timely, allowing the filer to meet the stipulated deadline.