Quest News™

July 05, 2013

ISF Enforcement Update

As announced in our last Special Quest notice, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin full enforcement of the Importer Security Filing (ISF) rule effective July 9, 2013. Per CSMS message 13-000298, CBP will start issuing liquidated damages against importers and carriers for non-compliance with ISF transactions filed on or after July 9, 2013.

Avalon is pleased to provide our updated ISF Q&A that should help address many surety-related questions you have about ISF enforcement.  The content is based on our participation with the NCBFAA’s ISF Subcommittee, International Trade Surety Association (ITSA), and ongoing dialogue with CBP.

We have also scheduled several ISF webinars throughout July to help you and your importer clients comply.  We encourage you to attend one of the following webinars.

You may register for any one of the remaining webinars by clicking here. There is no fee to attend but space is limited so we encourage you to register early.

  • Monday, July 8 -  1:00 PM EST
  • Wednesday, July 17 - 11:00 AM EST
  • Tuesday, July 23 - 1:00 PM EST

As a reminder, ISF enforcement will only apply to submission type “ISF-10” and carrier elements for vessel stow plans and container status messages.  At this time, ISF enforcement does not apply to submission type “ISF-5” for IE, T&E or FROB transactions since CBP still needs to update the ISF Final Rule to clarify regulations and confusion regarding the ISF liability for the filer of this ISF type.

While CBP has publicly stated that the trade should strive for 100% ISF compliance to avoid the assessment of costly liquidated damage claims, CBP indicates that ports will first target their efforts on problem importers that are non-filers of ISF and/or have excessively late and/or inaccurate ISFs.

You can expect to receive liquidated damages via the normal 5955A process and any ISF petitions would continue to be filed with the port that issues the claim.  CBP HQ will review all liquidated damage claims over the next 12 months to ensure a consistent and common-sense approach is applied to claims issuance and mitigation guidelines.

Web Merlin™ continues to provide the best surety automation in the industry and will greatly assist in managing your ISF compliance through various edits, business rules and automated messages.  The portal offers a streamlined approach to issuing ISF-D Singles and transmits the bond directly to CBP in paperless and automated fashion.  Our system has been updated to support the ISF enforcement, including the ability to request collateral on-line in a 24/7 environment, especially when ISF-D Singles are needed for known violations, such as when an ocean shipment arrives without an ISF.

We will continue to keep you advised of updates from CBP.  We thank you for your business and your time to review our ISF materials, attend our ISF webinars, and learn more about our Web Merlin updates. To view past Quest issues and more information on ISF, please view our ISF archives and also refer to the following helpful ISF links:

For more information on ISF from CBP, please visit the ISF portion of their website and send questions to

For any ISF surety-related questions, please contact your local Avalon office or our Underwriting Department at or contact The ISF Hotline at (847) 700 - TISF. View a list of our offices here

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