Next month could prove to be a big month for importers who ship via ocean into the U.S.  The final rule on the Importer Security Filing (ISF) is due to come into effect February, 2013.

In January of 2010, the rule titled Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements (commonly known as ?10+2?) went into effect. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) offered varying plans on how they would begin enforcement.  At one point they stated that they would use the Interim Final Rule as a ?measured approach?, and in another statement they said they planned on rolling out enforcement as a ?graduated escalated? approach, similar to an informed compliance period.  They also offered varying options of enforcement.


How Will the Rule be Enforced?

Enforcement measures of the ISF requirements include:

  • Seizures of non-compliant shipments
  • "Do not load" orders
  • Delays in the release of cargo
  • Withholding the release of cargo
  • Liquidated damages in the amount of:
  • $5,000 per late ISF
  • $5,000 per inaccurately filed ISF
  • $5,000 for the first inaccurate ISF update

In the three years since the interim rule took effect we have seen minimal measures taken by CBP in enforcing the ISF filing requirements.  There have been delays in the release of cargo, increased x-ray exams, and intensive exams placed on shipments where the ISF filing was late.  Most recently we have seen "Do Not Load" orders, but what we have not encountered is the issuing of monetary penalties.

Impact on Importers

For those ocean importers who have been working hard to be compliant under the ISF interim final rule, the impact may be minimal.  But for those who have been struggling to comply with this importing requirement, the impact may be far greater.

Importer Responsibilities and Challenges

As the final rule comes into effect next month I suspect that CBP will start to step up enforcement on importers who file ISFs late, or provided incomplete or inaccurate information, and penalties could soon be on the way.  The interim final rule period has ended, and now it is more important than ever for importers to take the necessary steps to make sure they are complying with not only filing the ISF, but making sure it is filed on time.


ISF and Pacific Customs Brokers:

Pacific Customs Brokers would like to advise Importers of Record that we can handle these filings for you with our Import Security Filing Services and also offer Ocean Clearances. To find out how your business may be affected in the coming year and how we may be able to assist you, contact Pacific Customs Brokers.


Additional Resources:

More information on the specific requirements for ISF can be found in:


Have questions or comments about the Importer Security Filing final rule? Leave them in our comments sections below or email Ask Your Broker.



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While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.