Trade Compliance

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CBP Importer Security Filing Compliance & Enforcement FAQs

Posted May 21, 2015


The final stage of Customs & Border Protection’s (CBP) Importer Security Filing (ISF) enforcement came into effect May 14th, 2015. Under the revised enforcement strategy, an official CBP Headquarters review is no longer required, with liquidated damages now being initiated and issued directly by the CBP port of entry. 

Unlike during the informed compliance phase of enforcement, CBP is no longer required to give “three strikes and you’re out” warnings prior to issuing liquidated damages for late, incomplete, and inaccurate ISFs. In such cases, CBP may now assess liquidated damages of $5,000 per violation with a maximum of $10,000 per ISF transaction. This decision will be made at the discretion of port officials, largely based on factors such as past performance and record of non-compliance.  

Cargo holds at the port will continue according to the timeliness of the ISF filing. The decision to determine how late the ISF filing should be in order to issue a cargo hold on the shipment will vary port to port. CBP will most likely issue penalties within 6 months of the offense, but they have the right to penalize non-compliant ISFs for up to 6 years.

Based on questions that were submitted during a webinar about ISF Enforcement held at the beginning of the month, CBP has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that includes the following topics: SF-5; Bill of Lading Match; Cargo Holds; ISF Bonds; ISF Liquidated Damages; ISF Reports; Mitigation and Best Practices; and Air Cargo Advanced Screening.