According to the law, an importer who doesn’t file “ISF” in timely manner or even worse – doesn’t file at all, could face penalty of $5,000. So far, that law has not been enforced. However, from now-on, make sure to file Your ISF in timely manner, since U.S. Customs are about to enforce this requirement as well as penalties for not complying with it.

Few things that you should have in mind when it comes to Import Security Filing

  1. Make sure to file your ISF in timely manner. Requirement is that ISF needs to be submitted no later than 24 hours before the cargo being loaded on the vessel. Now, if we submit an ISF too early, it might show that entry doesn’t not exist in the system.

  2. Work with what you have- do not wait if all required info are not available. If you are a Customs Broker, make sure to collect all info from your Importer as soon as they become available. Sometimes does happen that your Importer doesn’t have all info that you need to complete ISF or there might be a typing mistake done by the person who prepared instructions, such as mistake related to HBL or even some of the info about Stuffing location and consolidator. It is better to do complete your ISF with info that you have and at the later stage – you can make corrections, but make sure that everything is in the place at least 24h before the arrival.

  3. Customs Brokers – protect yourself! While Importers are mostly focused on receiving orders as fast as possible and cutting on transportation cost, they do not pay enough of attention to Freight Forwarding procedure or even technical things that are Customs related. It is a common thing that they provide you ISF instructions late and if you just transmit ISF without noticing that it is late – you might get in trouble and pay the fee of $5,000 even if it is not your fault. Who would remember two months down the road when the Importer sent you instructions exactly and digging through your Outlook and proving who’s fault it is, won’t do any good to your relationship with Importer or even a Freight Forwarder if he is the one who provides you info.   A contract should be in place with précised responsibilities and obligations for each side.

  4. If you are an Importer, get familiar with requirements and make sure to have everything needed to get this part of the job done. After all – it is about your freight, which means that you getting familiar with procedure is the best what you can do to protect your business from $5,000 fee.

  5. If you are too busy or this is just another boring task and you don’t have a time to deal with it – go ahead and OUTSAURCE it! Yes, unlike many other things that cannot be done by someone who is not licensed Customs Broker; ISF can be filed by anyone regardless of location. It can be even done remotely from another part of the world. So, you should consider hiring an experienced Virtual Assistant who would be able to complete this task for you – same business day. For more info on mentioned service please CONTACT me.