Understanding Importer Security Filing


Importers must complete a number of paperwork procedures in order to give Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with vital information about items they are bringing into the country. The “10+2” regulation, commonly known as the Importer Security Filing (ISF) requirement, is one such essential requirement that was implemented in 2009. According to this law, importers must provide CBP with certain shipment-related data components before the cargo arrives. In conjunction with the ISF, importers are also required to submit an Entry Summary, which is a detailed declaration of the imported goods.

The Entry Summary: A Comprehensive Declaration

The Entry Summary serves as a comprehensive declaration of imported goods and provides CBP with essential information for the assessment of duties, taxes, and regulatory requirements. This document includes details such as the value, classification, and country of origin of the imported goods. It plays a crucial role in facilitating trade while ensuring compliance with U.S. customs laws and regulations.

The Need for Importer Security Filing

The introduction of Importer Security Filing in 2009 aimed to enhance security measures surrounding the importation of goods into the United States. In the post-9/11 era, bolstering national security became a top priority, and CBP sought to implement measures to better assess and mitigate potential risks associated with imported cargo. The ISF requirement serves as an additional layer of security by providing CBP with advance information about incoming shipments, allowing for improved risk assessment and targeting of high-risk cargo.

Enhanced Cargo Security

By requiring importers to submit detailed information about their shipments in advance, the ISF helps CBP identify and target shipments that may pose security risks. This advance knowledge enables CBP to focus resources on inspecting high-risk cargo, thereby enhancing overall cargo security and safeguarding the nation against potential threats such as terrorism, smuggling, and the trafficking of illicit goods.

Streamlining Customs Procedures

In addition to enhancing security, the ISF also aims to streamline customs procedures and improve the efficiency of cargo processing. By providing CBP with advance information, importers enable the agency to perform risk assessments and make informed decisions about cargo clearance before the goods arrive at U.S. ports of entry. This proactive approach reduces delays and bottlenecks in the customs clearance process, facilitating the smooth flow of goods through the supply chain.

Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance with the ISF requirement is essential for importers to avoid penalties and ensure the timely clearance of their shipments. CBP enforces strict penalties for non-compliance, including fines and possible delays in cargo clearance. Importers must accurately and timely submit the required ISF data to avoid such consequences and maintain compliance with U.S. customs regulations.


The introduction of the Importer Security Filing in 2009 marked a significant step forward in enhancing the security of the U.S. supply chain while facilitating the efficient flow of international trade. By requiring importers to provide advance information about their shipments, CBP is better equipped to assess and mitigate potential security risks associated with imported cargo. The ISF requirement not only enhances security measures but also streamlines customs procedures, ultimately contributing to the smooth and secure movement of goods into the United States.

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