Back in July, 2013, we warned CBP would start enforcement efforts for Importer Security Filing (ISF) violations.

What’s ISF Again?

The ISF rules require importers and vessel-operating carriers to provide additional advance trade data on cargo shipments to CBP 24 hours prior to vessel lading, pursuant to Section 203 of the Security and Accountability for Every Port (SAFE Port Act) of 2006. (Practitioners Tip – This ONLY applies to goods arriving to the U.S. by Sea, not air).

Now, CBP advised:

For shipments that are on the water on or after June 30, 2016, CBP ports will no longer be required to send requests for liquidated damages (LD) claims to Headquarters for review, and the “three-strikes” approach to LD claims against importers’ bonds will also end.  There is no change to cargo holds for ISF non-compliance; ports may hold cargo instead of (or in addition to) initiating LD claims

What are the potential penalties for importers that do not comply with ISF?

  • The local port will now have the direct discretion regarding issuing penalties and liquidated damages.
  • There will no longer be a “three-strikes” approach. This means if it’s your first time you are filing a late or incorrect ISF the port can fine you right away.
  • CBP may also assess liquidated damages of up to$5,000 per violation for the submission of an inaccurate, incomplete or untimely filing. For information on mitigation, see our past ISF blog here.

Self-file with ACE?

  • CBP offers an option through the Automated Commercial Environment or ACE, for importers to self-file their ISF. Did you know, as an importer you can file your ISF free up to twelve times annually?
  • By using ACE and self-filing you have control over the data filed and can track your filing. You have the added benefit of eliminating filing fees third parties charge. To learn how to use the ACE Portal, you can visit the ACE Training and Reference Guides page or to get started with ACE you can click here.(Practitioners Tip – You can ALSO use ACE for reporting functions, including getting your trade data, and you can add your attorney to your account).

What can you currently do with ACE:

  • The ACE Portal currently allows you to:
  • Send ISF data
  • File an Import Truck Manifest
  • Run Reports
  • Respond to CBP forms 28, 29, 4647
  • Create Blanket Declarations
  • Submit Supporting Documentation
  • Manage Account and Periodic Monthly Statement Information

What does this mean to your business?

  • As an importer you need to ensure you are filing timely and accurate information to CBP, or you face Liquidated Damages (no one wants that!). Now’s the time to ensure your filings and systems are perfect. More information about the ISF program can be found here.

We highly recommend all importers ensure they are using “reasonable care” and visit the Top 10 Tips When Importing to Ensure Compliance. If you have any question on ISF or any other import issue impacts your business, contact us at, or 305-456-3830.