If you are new to the importing from China, there is a lot to learn about the process!  Today we are going to take a look at ISF Entry.

In January 2009, U.S. Customs implemented the “Importer Security Filing and Additional Carrier Requirements” (ISF 10+2), where a set of data needs to be filed with U.S. Customs no less than 24 hours before the shipment leaves the port of departure. Failure to comply with the rule could result in delay of cargo, increased inspections and a minimum fine of $5,000.00.

All ISF filings are required to be submitted electronically via the Automated Broker Interface (ABI) or the Automated Manifest System (AMS) and would be done so by your customs broker.  This rule was phased in and as of June 30, 2016, ISF compliance is in full effect.  If compliance is not met, liquidated damages penalties up to $5,000 may be issued by the local port for each violation.

The following 10 data elements are required from the importer:

  1. Manufacturer (or supplier) name and address
  2. Seller (or owner) name and address
  3. Buyer (or owner) name and address
  4. Ship-to name and address
  5. Container stuffing location
  6. Consolidator (stuffer) name and address
  7. Importer of record number/foreign trade zone applicant identification number
  8. Consignee number(s)
  9. Country of origin
  10. Commodity Harmonized Tariff Schedule number to six (6) digits



From the carrier, 2 data elements are required:

  1. Vessel stow plan
  2. Container status messages


This rule is for security and targeting purposes only.  Customs compares the ISF to the entry data to validate as well as to analyze and assess any risk. Improving the targeting of high risk shipments results in fewer exams for those shipments of low risk, which means a more streamlined process for importing goods you have had manufactured in China to the United States.

Our standard procedure is to email you, the importer, the ISF entry data that you would then pass on to your customs broker who is responsible for filing the ISF entry.  Our suppliers in China normally provide us with the ISF entry data 48 hours in advance to provide a cushion of time to resolve any issues, should there be any, before the 24 hour deadline.  Having a good customs broker is critical part of the importing process!  A good customs broker will be responsive, quick and accurate, and should have your shipment cleared through US Customs before the shipment arrives at the port.  We can refer you to an excellent customs broker we’ve worked with for years who can clear shipments nationwide upon request.