Importer Security Filing Enforcement Update

For the past year,  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Importer Security Filing (ISF) Enforcement has consisted of cargo holds when the ISF has not been filed timely or accurately and warnings to ISF importers for these issues with a maximum of three warnings before liquidated damage claims were made. Effective May 14, 2015, there are some significant changes being made as follows.

1.)   Liquidated Damage Claims will be instituted at the local port of arrival for the cargo. No longer will CBP headquarters review these claims before they are issued. The goal is to target “significantly late” and repeat late filers. The term “significantly late” is left to the discretion of the port issuing the claim.

2.)  CBP is no longer required to issue warnings for late filing or inaccuracy. Each port can decide their own practice in this area.

3.)  ISF filers must receive two messages from CBP to insure the ISF filing is received and timely filed. They must receive a 3Z Code which means ISF on file and a S1 code which is a bill of lading match message. The 3Z alone is not enough. If there is no bill of lading match, CBP will consider the ISF not filed and eligible for a minimum $5,000 liquidated damages penalty.

4.)  As CBP fully implements the new Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) computer operating system, the ISF filing will require the full 10 digit harmonized classification. Importers must insure that the full 10 digits are supplied to your ISF filer. Best practice is to supply the valid classifications to your vendors at the time you place orders and insist these be used when supplying ISF information. If this is not done the filing can be delayed which could subject you as the importer to the penalties.

5.)  CBP expects that liquidated damage claims will be made within a six month window from the violation but by statute, they have a six year statute of limitations.

If you have any ISF questions please send them to and we will respond directly to you.