Importer Security Filing (ISF): CBP’s Latest Update on Enforcement Policy

On May 13,2014, CBP has provided an updated guidance to different ports regarding the enforcement of ISF.  In a CSMS message released by CBP, the purpose of the guidance is to enhance current enforcement activity. The new revised strategy involves local discretion at the port level based on infrastructure and staffing resources such as holding freight vs. issuing liquidated damage claims. It will also help CBP HQ to standardize an approach to conduct analysis for ISF filings that are not in compliance. This intention will be focused on most severe violations- Significantly late or Missing ISFs. The strategy will also include at least three warnings (informed compliance outreach) to importers that violate the rule before CBP pursue liquidated damage claim against importer’s bond. This approach will allow CBP to see who violates repeatedly, the outreach will be made via email, phone call and/or letter. There will be an internal data base to keep track of these violations. It also exposes ports/areas that will require more focused outreach.


  • “Significantly” Late- It could depend on the  duration of the voyage and there are some variations on the determination. Therefore, ISF must be filed atleast 24 hours before vessel departs at the origin to avoid any issues.
  • Failure to file ISF- Upon shipment arrival, no filing has been made and cargo will be placed on manifest hold and exposed to liquidated damage claim

Liquidated damages can be expected within 6 months of the violation; however it does not preclude 6 years statute of limitations for liquidated damage claims.  The new ISF enforcement policy starts another 12 month review that has began on July 9,2013.

These enforcement actions are only for ISF-10.  ISF-5 Violations are not currently enforced  and pending changes to the regulations.

Flegenheimer International is here to help you file your ISF on time.  Please be aware that by sending the 10+2 information to us accurately and on time  will avoid cargo holds and liquidated damage claims. Importers are still responsible for providing complete and correct ISF information to us and failure to do so will be subject to CBP violations.