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05-16-2011 - ISF (10 + 2) Enforcement Commenced January 26, 2010

On January 26, 2010 U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) entered into enforcement of the Importer Security Filing (ISF) (commonly known as 10 + 2). While CBP defines their approach as one in which “restraint” will be observed they chose phrases such as “graduated – escalated” employing “the least punitive measures available to obtain full compliance” and a “measured, common sense approach”. Nonetheless, importers need be aware of the fact that penalties for non-compliance may be issued at any time.

Providing additional information a minimum of 24 hours prior to a container loading at the origin port is the fundamental requirement of the ISF program. CBP states such information will enhance national security through earlier assessment and targeting of shipments deemed to be of “high risk”. Please note that the ISF requirement pertains to shipments to the USA via ocean vessel transport and shipments transported via air or truck are exempted.

ISF compliance is contingent upon communication between the importer, foreign seller or manufacturer and the entity filing the ISF. Following are the ten data elements that the importer is required to obtain with additional information available at:

  • Buyer (full name and address)
  • Importer of Record Number (IRS, EIN of SSN)
  • Ship to Party (full name and address)
  • Consignee Number (IRS, EIN or SSN)
  • Seller (full name and address)
  • Manufacturer or supplier (full name and address)
  • Country of Origin
  • Commodity Harmonized Tariff Code (minimum of 6 digits)
  • Container Stuffing Location (full name and address)
  • Consolidator (full name and address)

In addition to the ten data elements listed above the importer is required to obtain the Bill of Lading number issued by the carrier. This may prove complicated as numerous bills of lading (I.e. Regular, Master, House, Sub-House, etc.) may govern a single transaction. The ISF requirement states the “lowest” bill of lading number filed via the Automated Manifest System (AMS) is to be reported.

Yet another requirement imposed upon the importer is ensuring a Bond is appropriately filed with CBP for each ISF transaction. If you are an importer with a “continuous bond” on CBP form-301 you satisfy this requirement. Although, the amount of such a bond may be subject to increased levels as additional liability is incurred.

Importers utilizing “single entry bonds” (SEB) are required to post a bond specific to each ISF. This must be done prior to reporting the ISF and additional time is required to process these bonds. A major deterrent to using SEB’s is the requirement by the underwriting surety to obtain collateral in the amount of $10,000.00 for an SEB in which a know violation has occurred (I.e. the ISF will be filed late). Such collateral may be held for six years!

 Mandatory enforcement will be obtained through the issuance of penalties for non-compliant transactions. Penalties will be assessed at $5,000.00 per infraction, not to exceed $10,000.00 per ISF. Mitigation may be offered and is contingent upon numerous criteria.

At the outset, CBP will concentrate its enforcement efforts on importers who are not filing ISF’s. At the very least, non-compliant ISF Importers should expect to receive a warning letter and/or experience delays in the release of their cargo. An increase in the number of non-intrusive inspection (NII) exams upon arrival in the USA may also be noticeable.

Geo. S. Bush & Co., Inc. (GSB) is proficient in understanding the ISF program and requirements as well as our ability to file an ISF. Please think of Geo. S. Bush & Co., Inc. as your ISF/supply-chain management partner.  Several factors need to be pre-determined prior to filing an ISF.  To ensure your company is compliant with the ISF requirements, please call (503) 228-6501, and/or email: