U.S. Customs: Broadening Definition of Importer Security Filing (ISF/ISF5 Importer Coming December

In July of 2016, U.S. Customs proposed that the definition of the ISF Importer as they pertain to FROB, IE and T&E shipments, as well as for cargo entering an FTZ/CBW, be expanded and clarified. The proposal was adopted as a rule in April of 2018.

The ruling states the following:

  • For FROB cargo, the new rule defines the ISF Importer as the carrier/NVOCC.

  • For IE and T&E in-bond shipments, and goods to be delivered to an FTZ/CBW, the new rule defines the ISF Importer not only the carrier/NVOCC, but could also include the goods' owner, purchaser, consignee, or agent such as a licensed customs broker.

Please note, this rule change only applies to FROB cargo, IE and T&E shipments, or cargo entering a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) or Customs Bonded Warehouse (CBW). FROB cargo is any cargo that is not loaded for U.S. discharge but remains on board the vessel during any port call at a U.S. port.

With this change U.S. Customs identifies importers as either the ocean carrier or the non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC). The importer of the shipment is and will continue to be required to file Importer Security Filing (ISF) 5 for FROB cargo.

The effective date of this new rule will be December 17, 2018, and CBP does not expect any further delay of this date.

If you are an NVOCC with cargo that is destined for a non U.S. port and carried on a vessel that will make any calls at a U.S. port before your shipment is discharged, or, if your U.S. counterpart takes responsibility for making in bond arrangements, now would be the time to contact the carrier to see how this modification affects their policy on ISF 5 and whether they intend to continue to file ISF 5, or if this responsibility will be passed on to you.

Several ocean carriers are already requiring NVOs to file ISF 5 for FROB despite the December 17th effective date, therefore we suggest that the NVOCC community begin the process for filing the ISF 5 for cargo that is considered FROB as well as for cargo that will move in bond under an IE or T&E when acting as an agent for the good's owner.

Below you will find the required data elements for filing ISF 5:

  • Booking Party Name and Address

  • Foreign Port of Unlading

  • Place of Delivery

  • Ship to Name and Address

  • Harmonized Tariff Schedule at minimum 6-digit level

Additionally, the following data elements are required for ISF5 filing for in bond cargo:

  • Type of In Bond (IE or T&E)

  • Type of bond that is being used (ICB/Importer or Broker/FTZ or ISF)

  • Cargo arrival port

  • Foreign Destination

  • EIN for the bond holder under which the cargo will move in bond

Vilden's Customs filing products already support ISF 5 and 10, please feel free to contact us at if you have questions or need assistance setting up your ISF 5 filing.