ISF Program to Enter Full Enforcement Phase

Posted on May 11, 2015

The Importer Security Filing (ISF) program will begin its full enforcement phase on May 14, with liquidated damages to be pursued at the discretion of the ports, said current Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) ISF program manager Craig Clark during a May 5 conference call.

Under the current phase, importers found in violation of ISF requirements are subject to warnings and cargo holds in an effort to increase compliance prior to the issuance of fines. The change will waive the warning requirement, allowing ports to immediately issue fines and penalties when a violation occurs.

CBP guidelines will continue to apply, said Clark, with the primary focus remaining on significantly late filers and repeat offenders, adding that it is, "not something to be taken lightly."

The change marks the end of a year-long ramp-up in enforcement strategy and the latest escalation of the program created in 2009.

Filings must be completed no later than 24 hours prior to departure for vessels bound for the United States, and a match to a Bill of Lading must be obtained 5 days prior to arrival. Liberty suggests filing requests be submitted at least 72 hours in advance of departure, and as a best practice, it is recommended that internal ISF processes are reviewed regularly with all ocean freight partners to reduce risk of delay.

Read additional information regarding CBP requirements for Importer Security Filing or ask your account representative.