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ISF in shipping terms: Everything you need to know

Samantha Waites | Updated: 05-08-2020 11:51 IST | Created: 05-08-2020 11:50 IST
ISF in shipping terms: Everything you need to know
Image Credit: Pixabay

ISF stands for Importer Security Filing. The ISF form must be filled out for all incoming cargo arriving via ship. The ISF form must be submitted twenty-four hours before the ship sets sail. You should get a copy to your freight broker with 72 hours.

Importer of Record Number

The importer of record or IO is the entity or individual responsible for all entry documents, product classifications, and duty payments. This may be the person importing the products or a shipping service they have hired to handle all of the paperwork. Note that an importer of record number can be a foreign trade zone applicant identification number.

Consignee Number

The consignee number is the employer identification number or EIN or private Social Security Number or SSN of the person for whom the foreign shipper sold the imported merchandise. This is the unique identification number for the person ultimately receiving the cargo. It may be their personal Social Security Number or a taxpayer identification number or TIN for the small business.

HTS Number

HS stands for a harmonized commodity description and coding system. HS codes are six-digit codes based on the product category. These codes are spelled out in the chapters of the HS nomenclature code. Customs may give certain product categories additional scrutiny. The HS code is generally used to assess the appropriate import duties owed if any.

HS is interchangeably used with HTS or harmonization tariff schedules. HTS codes are ten digits, and they start with the HS code. The supplier might provide the six-digit HS code, but the final four digits required for U.S. imports are separate and unique to that country. An HTS number must be provided for every product in the shipment.

Country of Origin

Where does the product originally come from? That is the country of origin. Lying about a country of origin to get around import restrictions is a serious crime. Your shipment could be stopped merely on suspicion of coming from or going to a forbidden destination.

Bill of Lading

The ISF filer must submit a bill of lading number associated with every manifest filing. A bill of lading or BOL is a document issued by the carrier, in this case, the cargo ship. It will acknowledge receipt of the cargo. The bill of lading number associated with the ISF filing must be submitted along with the AMS manifest.

Why You Must Pay Attention to the ISF Paperwork

Don't assume that your freight forwarding firm or import service will do it for you - verify. You can submit the form yourself, though that can be tedious. But why is the form so important? You could be issued a five thousand dollar fine for failure to file an ISF. A late filing can result in an additional five thousand dollar fine. You don't want to make a mistake filling out the paperwork. An incomplete ISF filing can result in a separate five thousand dollar fine. There is an equally large fine for a failure to withdraw an ISF. There is a maximum penalty of ten thousand dollars per ISF form. However, you can be assessed as a separate fine for every shipment.

(Disclaimer: Devdiscourse's journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)


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