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ISF & Ocean Shipments: What you need to know

Regardless if the final destination is the United States or Canada, if your ocean shipment is docking in the United States then an ISF (Importer Security Filing) must be filed at least 24 hours before cargo is loaded onto the vessel in the foreign port. It is important to note the difference between the ISF 5+2 and the ISF 10+2.

An ISF 5+2 is used for goods that are not ultimately destined for the United States, but will be transiting or moving through the United States and into Canada for entry. Failure to file an ISF 5+2 can result in the shipment being held (exam fees and storage costs). Willson International has a standard form available for this filing.

Additionally, when these goods are released for movement, they must move in bond to Canada. Please note that bonded carriers are required for these movements. Only one transportation bond is cut by the carrier for every bill of lading in the shipment.

If a shipment of food has an intermediary destination while transiting through the United States for eventual entry into Canada, prior notice will need to be filed no less than eight (8) hours prior to the arrival of the goods.

If the goods are agricultural, a “Transit Permit” may need to be issued by the USDA prior to the goods being moved. More information on USDA ePermits can be found here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/permits

An ISF 10+2 is used for good that are ultimately destined for the United States. This form is similar to the aforementioned ISF, only with a few additional data elements. The ISF 10+2 must be filed at least 24 hours before cargo is loaded onto the vessel in the foreign port. Failure to file the ISF timely will result in a minimum of $5,000 USD fine per violation. The fines are compounded for repeat offences. Willson International has a standard form available for this filing.

If the goods are agricultural, an “Import Permit” may need to be issued by the USDA prior to the goods being entered into the United States. More information on USDA ePermits can be found here: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/permits

If the shipment contains food, prior notice must be submitted to the FDA no less than eight (8) hours before arrival at the port, but no more than thirty (30) days prior to arrival.

If you have questions about Importer Security Filing for your company’s ocean vessels docking in the United States, please contact the US Transition & Regulatory team at 716-260-1580 option 4 or transitionus@willsonintl.com