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Guide To US Customs Import Security Filing (ISF) 10+2 Form

Amongst other enforcements imposed by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP), one is Importer Security Filing (10+2). Also widely known as 10+2, is a critical step for any ocean carrier imports coming into the United States. It’s the documentation procedure that cannot be avoided & must be completed with utmost accuracy every time.

Import Security Filing (ISF) was first introduced in 2009, & is fully effective since 26th January 2010. It is one such documentation procedure that if not done right, can lead to major loss & penalties. Prior to this, The Security & Accountability For Every Port Act (SAFE) was administered in around 2006 to disclose cargo-related information in advance to shipment loading at the port. The ISF filings are mandatory for all cargo shipments.

Since ISF regulations demand pre-submission of trade data within the prescribed period, that is 24 hours before the dispensation of the cargo shipments. Read more, to find out how Giant Leaps Systems can help you with the entire process & make sure it’s settled duly.

Table Of Contents

What Is (Import Security Filing) ISF 10+2?

Import Security Filing (ISF) is a regulation established for all the ocean-transmitted imports entering the United States. The arrangement is such, that any cargo shipments transiting the United States must file the ISF ‘10+2’ as per the 24 Hour Rule.

These are filed electronically as a preliminary step before the cargo is loaded & discharged from the original port in the Automated Manifest System (AMS) at the lowest bill of lading number. That means if the documentation is not settled prior to 24 hours can lead you to trouble. As per our recommendations, these must be filed at least prior to 48-72 hours in case of any emergency changes.

Shipments that are imported by any other means (roadways, airways, & others) do not fall into the category of ISF Filings. It is only limited to ocean carried cargo. Moreover, bulk cargo is excluded from ISF filing procedures. Another reason for this procedure is to know in advance the kind of cargo the shipment is carrying both for safety & security concerns. The Customs Department analyzes this information & seeks its validation.

When To File ISF?

The Importer Security Filings (ISF) are filed under the 24 Hour rule enforced by the authority. The rule asserts that all the cargo-related information must be submitted prior to 24 hours before the cargo is loaded into the vessels & departed from the port for the US waters.

The additional carrier requirement ‘+2’ information must also be filed at the latest before 24 hours. The ISF filings for break-bulk cargo must be registered no later than 24 hours prior to the presence of the vessel at the discharging port.

Who Is Responsible For Filing ISF?

The ISF Importer is generally responsible for filing accurate details with The US Customs & Border Protection. The information of the 10 data elements must be submitted timely prior to 24 hours. Additionally, the carrier/shipping line is responsible for filing + 2 data elements. Particularly for FTZ shipments, the party that handles the import documentation is also responsible for filing the ISF.

How To File ISF 10+2?

Import Security Filing (10+2) Form

As an importer, you are liable to file the details with the US Customs Department. Besides, Giant Leaps Systems also develops & maintains Automated Manifest Systems Software by complying with all the regulations & saving you from all the trouble as a consequence. Any careless attempt to put inaccurate information in the ISF filings can get you in serious trouble. But don't worry, because we got you.

All the ISF 10+2 or ISF-5 data elements-related information must be available with you. This information is transmitted electronically to CBP via an online portal Automated Broker Interface (ABI). For high convenience & lesser risk, you can also look for a third-party service provider to do this job for you. Furthermore, after filing the ISF, you can continuously monitor the ISF status for clearance. The information on the AMS & ISF must match to avoid any penalty, detention & inconvenience.

ISF 10+2 Data Elements

Given below are the 10 data elements that must be filed prior to 24 hours of the cargo lading & leaving from the original destination -

  1. Seller Details - (Name & Address)

  2. Buyer’s Details (Name & Address)

  3. Importer of Record (IOR) Number/Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Applicant ID Number

  4. Consignee Number

  5. Manufacturer (or Supplier) Details (Name & Address)

  6. Import Destination or the Ship-To-Party (Name & Address)

  7. The Country Of Origin Of Shipment

  8. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) Number

  9. Container Stuffing Location (Name & Address of the destinations where the cargo was shipped into the container)

  10. Consolidator Details (Names & Address of party responsible for stuffing the container)

Subsequently, the following are the +2 data elements are submitted by the party present at the customs destination -

  1. Vessel Stow Plan

  2. Container Status Messages

Shipments That Need ISF 10+2?

10+2 ISF filings are only limited to all ocean shipments to clear US Customs. An ISF will be filed for the following kinds of shipments -

  1. Break bulk shipments (cargo that is not in containers, but packed or bundled)

  2. Containerized cargo

  3. Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-ro) shipments

Whereas, bulk cargo is exempted from ISF filing requirements.

Amendment & Cancellation Of ISF

Usually, the ISF Importer is responsible for handling the filing in a timely & accurate manner. The system allows the original applicant to make amends to the existing ISF just with a new Bill of lading number. However, you can only make these changes until the shipment is loaded & is ready to depart from the original destination. In case, you’re willing to transform a consumption entry into an I.E?/T&E, ISF 5 elements must be introduced. In case of cancellation, if the goods aren’t supposed to reach the U.S anymore, the ISF may be deleted. The party who handled the filings can delete them.

What Happens If You Fail To Submit ISF 10+2?

Submission of cargo data to the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) prior to 24 hours of the departure from the original port is mandatory. If goods enter the US waters without an ISF filing, the CBP has the following rights. A penalty of $5000 - $10,000 shall be imposed in case of -

  1. Failure to file ISF

  2. Filing ISF late

  3. Filing ISF inaccurately

  4. Filing ISF with incomplete details

  5. Failure to withdraw the ISF shipment

  6. Mismatch of ISF filings & Bill of Lading

The CBP also has the right to hold the shipment for further investigation. Owing to such consequences, this can also create a financial loss as your goods may not be able to reach their destination in time.

What Is ISF 5 Filling?

The ISF 5 filings are mainly for ocean shipments that are passing through the United States to its destination port. These are only required for Freight Remaining On Board (FROB), Immediate Export (I.E), & Transportation & Exportation (T.E) shipments. However, the importer or the booking party is completely responsible to file ISF-5 data elements & bill of lading numbers with the CBP. These details are further submitted through the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) in ACE.

Given below are the details of the ISF-5 filings -

  1. Booking Party Details - Name, address, & contact information

  2. Foreign Port of Unlading - The schedule K Code

  3. Place of Delivery - The destination port where the shipment has to be handed to the agent

  4. Ship to Party - Name, address & contact information of the receiving party

  5. HTS Number - An 8-10 digit HTS number to categorize the goods in advance

Import Security Filing (ISF) 10+2


1. What is the difference between ISF 10+2 and ISF 5?

The ISF 10+2 Filings is a regulatory requirement for importing goods to the United States. All importers willing to import goods via ocean freight need to mandatorily fill out ISF 10=2 details. Whereas, ISF-5 is demanded from foreign importers that are required for FROB (Freight Remaining On Board). This falls into the category of making a stop at the U.S port before heading out for the final destination of unloading. The ISF-5 is also be required to be filed for T.E & I.E shipments.

2. How much does it cost to file ISF?

Generally, the ISF filing fee is somewhat between US $30 & US $50. However, most brokers usually accumulate the cost by adding on the cost of the ISF bond. Owing to such addition, the total cost ranges between the US $80 & US $120.

3. What is an ISF bond?

An ISF bond is a guarantee necessary for all ocean shipments entering the United States. It is an assurance to the US Customs government that as an importer, you will stick to all the regulations & match them timely. The US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) acknowledge this as a customs bond as an ‘Activity Code 16 - Importer Security Filing (ISF) Bond.’

It is more like a financial guarantee between the CBP, Importer of Record, & the Insurance company. In case the importer fails to comply with any regulations, the party can be compelled for the action & the insurance company becomes liable to pay the bond amount.

4. What happens if ISF is filed late?

If you file ISF filings late or do not comply with its mode of conduct anyhow, The US Customs can impose a penalty of no less than $5000 & $10,000 maximum per shipment. The department also has the right to hold up the cargo at the port for further investigation. In case, you fail to file ISF within time or accurately, the CBP has the full right to impose a penalty or refuse to unload duly.

5. Why is ISF required?

Import Security Filing (ISF) is a regulation mandatory for importers with ocean vessel shipments. This contains all the relevant information related to cargo for the purpose to avoid high-risk shipments. The US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) assess the cargo data for security concerns & to be cautious in case of hazardous shipments. Another reason is to prevent smuggling via the US waters & to secure the trade channels.


The regulation of ISF filings imposed by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) is only limited to ocean freight. The 10+2 regulation is in action to avoid any high-risk shipments. However, it is a mandatory requirement for an importer willing to import goods to the United States. These filings have to be submitted correctly or it can result in a penalty grant. Giant Leaps System can help you manage & develop Automated Manifest Systems with integrated API solutions. It saves the trouble of submitting the shipment data in multiple systems. & financial losses related to them.

Apart from this, we have a deep understanding of shipment solutions that can benefit you in the long run. And these benefits come in the form of finding the most profitable trade channels, suppliers, & trading activities of your competitors.

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