CBP Publishes Updated ISF (10+2) FAQs

         U.S. Customs and Border Protection published an updated version of the Frequently Asked Questions on the Importer Security Filing on October 1, 2009. In addition to working closely with CBP to assist with outreach to our members and your importer clients, the NCBFAA has also organized regular conference calls with CBP to provide valuable member feedback.
        The FAQs can be accessed on the CBP website here. As a service to our members, the NCBFAA is providing comments and a general summary of changes to critical areas of the FAQs. However it is suggested that a full review of the FAQs are completed for complete knowledge of the program and the changes outlined therein.

Progress Reports
  • CBP will continue to provide the progress reports to ISF filers, as well as to Tier 3 C-TPAT Members. All others must obtain a copy of the report from the ISF filer.
  • Although the timeliness of the filing will continue to be measured by the first bill filing date, CBP outlines that in the near future they will also list the vessel departure date minus 24 hours as a second potential indicator.


  • Although updates to an ISF may be sent at any time (either prior to or after arrival) there is no requirement to amend the filing after arrival at the first U.S. Port of unlading.
  • An update to the buyer should be sent for goods sold on the water.
  • It was confirmed that Bill of Lading numbers can be updated by the original filer.


  • If the ISF is filed utilizing the "flexible filing option" indicating that the information is estimated, the transaction must be coded as such.
    • An FR = Flexible Range indicator is utilized for those shipments where a range of data is sent rather the precise information.
    • An FT= Flexible Timing indictor is utilized when the consolidator or stuffing location has not been provided.
    • An FX = Flexible Range and Flexible Timing is used for transaction requiring both options.
    • A CT=Compliant Transaction indicates that the information does not require the flexibility options and is correct as sent.
  • When information becomes known, an amendment must be sent. Amendments under the Flexible Filing Option must be completed 24 hours prior to arrival.
  • CBP plans to provide a list of amendment codes in the next set of implementation guides to track all changes.

Bill of Lading

  • It is confirmed that the lowest bill level filed in AMS is the house bill or straight bill (where there are no underlying house bills), which is required to be utilized in the ISF filing.
  • As the bill of lading is the only common link between the ISF and AMS Manifest, the ISF filers should transmit the bill of lading information as transmitted by the carrier. This would include any numbers that are transmitted on behalf of a non-automated NVOCC.


  • A bond is required to secure all ISF transactions filed on or after January 26, 2010.
  • If a unified filing is transmitted, and the importer of record on both the ISF and the entry are the same, only one bond may be utilized. This may either be a single transaction bond or a continuous bond.
  • In a non-unified filing CBP will accept one bond for the ISF filing, and another bond for the entry filing.
  • Agents may utilize their own bond, however in doing so they agree to have their bond charged if there are breaches of that obligation.
  • The limit of liability for continuous bond covering both the ISF and the entry will be calculated as it is currently.
  • The bond code for Appendix D, also known as the ISF stand alone bond, will be activity code 99.
  • Continuous Appendix D bonds will be filed with the Office of Finance, as is the current practice for continuous entry bonds.
  • Single Transaction Bonds will be handled in the following manner:
    • To cover the ISF filing only:
      • The limit of liability will be $10,000.
      • Must be submitted on the Appendix D bond.
      • Must have the ISF Transaction Number indicated on the bond
      • Must be submitted via email to CBP within 12 hours of the receipt of the ISF Transaction Number to the following email address: ISF_Bond@cbp.dhs.gov
      • The subject line of the email must indicate the unique ISF Transaction Number (and only the unique ISF transaction number)
    • Unified filing to cover entry and ISF:
      • Current limit of liability is not yet determined
      • Must be submitted on a CF301
      • A bond reference number (a unique serial number) must be transmitted in the ISF filing
      • The ISF Transaction Number must be listed in block 29 of the CF3461
  • Exemptions to the bond requirements include shipments of household goods/personal effects, government and military transactions, diplomatic shipments, carnets, and international mail transactions.

Data Elements

  • A Passport Number, country of issuance, and date of birth will be accepted for the consignee data element.
  • For household goods and personal effect shipments a Passport Number, country of issuance, and date of birth will be accepted for the importer data element.
  • For the shipped to party, the party physically receiving the goods after the goods have been released from customs custody should be reported.
  • Generally the party identified as the manufacturer as provided on the CBP Form 3461 will satisfy the ISF manufacturer requirement.
  • CBP prefers that the manufacturer be listed if known on the ISF transaction. The supplier may be reported if the actual manufacturer is unknown.
  • An ISF may only cover one importer, arriving via one vessel per voyage.

Liquidated Damages

  • CBP will consider an entity’s progress in the implementation of the rule during the delayed enforcement period.

ISF 5 Filings (FROB, IE, and T&E)

  • The party required to file the ISF for FROB, IE and T&E shipments is the party causing the goods to enter the U.S., which CBP interpreted to be the carrier.
  • The ISF importer for IE, and T&E shipments is the party that filed the IE or T&E documentation with CBP.

The NCBFAA requests that you continue to send ISF questions and problems that have been encountered to EID@ncbfaa.org for utilization in the ongoing bi-weekly discussions with CBP.