August 3, 2020 Last updated August 3rd, 2020 2,636 Reads share

Who Should File an ISF Form?

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The Importer Security Filing or ISF form 10 is required for a large percentage of the items imported by the United States. The ISF is a United States Customs and Border Protection form that is separate from any other trade and import forms required to bring in your cargo. However, the ISF form will be compared to other documents you submit to determine the security risk your cargo poses to the country. But who should file an ISF form? 

You’re Importing Things via Cargo Ship

An ISF filling must be done if you’re cargo is arriving via ship instead of air or rail. The form will include things such as the importer’s name, vendor contact information and a general description of the cargo. The ISF must be filed within 24 hours of the cargo ship setting sail. It must be received by the customer’s broker within 72 hours. Earlier is better. 

The importer of record is responsible for filing the form. This is why you should verify it was done by your shipping service or freight broker. You can even file the form yourself. This can be done online. However, it can be time consuming. 

An ISF is not required when you’re importing things via other modes of transportation. If it is an air shipment or arriving by truck, different forms are required. 

You’re a Freight Forwarder In or Moving through the United States

All in-bound ocean shipments to the United States must be registered with the United States Customs and Department of Homeland Security via the ISF filing. If you’re receiving shipments as a freight forwarder that will be sent on to destinations in the United States and Canada, you will have to fill out the ISF form. Licensed customs brokers can file ISF forms on behalf of their clients.

Shipments that will remain on the cargo ship docking in the US can file an ISF 5 form with information like the booking party, foreign port of unlading, place of delivery, destination or ship to party, and the HTS number. 

You’re Working in a Foreign Trade Zone

A foreign trade zone or FTZ is considered outside of the standard US borders and customs regulation. FTZs are always geographically defined areas with strict limits on what can go in and out. However, the process of shipping to and from an FTZ is typically easier than moving it from the FTZ to the United States or shipping it abroad.

You only have to fill out an ISF 10 form if you’re importing something to an American foreign trade zone via ship. You can use the foreign trade zone applicant identification number in place of the importer of record number. The destination address should be within an FTZ. Other fields remain unchanged. For example, the consignee number, country of origin information and HS codes are the same whether being delivered to an FTZ or Nebraska. Information on the buyers, sellers and manufacturers must be included. The carrier must still provide a vessel stow plan and container status information.

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Samantha Waites

Samantha Waites

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