After you have received the documents from your seller / shipper to file the ISF. It is important to get it filed at least 2-3 days before departure. If you are late, then you will need to file it immediately to avoid chances of a penalty.
Step 1: Gather your documents and ID, have ready to following documents listed below to send to us as these are needed to start service.
ISF Info Sheet
Bill of Lading (optional for containerized goods, needed for car imports)
Photo ID: Driver's License or State ID
Proof of Tax ID:
Individual importers - provide copy of Social Security Card, or Tax Return, W2
Business importers - provide IRS EIN Confirmation Letter, Tax Return, or any Federal issued document which contains your business name and EIN number.
Step 2: Contact us either by using our service form or to give us a call to open an account for you with our brokrage.
Customs service can be started the same day and to also get your ISF filed fast and easy. The costs to file your ISF is upfront which you can pay by credit card. Upon contacting us, all you need to do is to provide the documents to us listed aboove, and to complete a simple Power of Attorney Form which authorizes us to file on your behalf.
Step 3: Receive a copy of the completed ISF Filing and instructions regarding the next filing due which is the customs entry filing that takes place on the week of arrival. The documents and information for clearance entry filing may differ according to the type of products and country imported. Which specific instructions will be provided to you in order to prepare. To learn more about the clearance entry filing click here.
The ISF Filing is required 24 hours before the loading of goods onto the vessel destined to the United States. This rule is now fully enforced by US Customs and Border Protection with late or erroneous filing penalties of $5,000 per instance or $10,000 in aggregate. We strongly advise all Importers to file their ISF ahead of time approximately 3-4 days before loading or goods or vessel departure. If your ISF is late, this is still required to be filed as your goods will be held at port and may not be able to clear customs with possible customs examination or holds at port when arrived.
Fines & Penalties for Late or Erroneous ISF Filing:
CBP may fine the importer up to $5000 USD per violation for the submission of inaccurate, incomplete or late filing, with a maximum of $10,000 USD per shipment.
Noncompliant cargo may be subject to “do not load” orders at origin
Goods may be held at port of arrival for late ISF Filings, which can result in Customs inspection or exams which bears a cost to the Importer.
If cargo is unloaded without permission, it may be subject to seizure by CBP.