CustomsNow Bootcamp – ISF “how to”


Ever wonder how EASY it is to file an ISF and how EASY it is to automate the filing? 

Well, now courtesy of the experts at CustomsNow, you can find out first-hand. Please join us on June 29th, 1:00 pm CST, so we can take the mystery out of this process for you.

Spend an hour with CustomsNow experts to see the filing process firsthand, then stick around for the Q&A.

Direct file made easy and accurate with incredible cost savings!  “It’s what we do and we do it well”.  Hope you join us.

This event qualifies for 1.5 CCS Credits from the NCBFAA.

Develop the knowledge of your compliance team!

Space is limited.  Register today!

ACE: Full core trade processing, including post-entry, deploys January 14!


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US Customs is preparing to deploy capabilities that will complete the delivery of core trade processing in ACE. The date for the deployment and mandatory transition of these capabilities will be January 14, 2017.

The capabilities in the deployment include: drawback, duty deferral, liquidation, collection, statements, and reconciliation. Please note: Importer Security Filing (ISF) is transitioning on January 14 as well. Beginning January 14, 2017 transactions supporting these capabilities must be filed in and processed through ACE. Submissions to CBP’s legacy system, the Automated Commercial System (ACS), will no longer be supported.

Full details on the transition of each of the capabilities, reference materials, and technical documentation are available on CBP’s website through the following links:


For details on what specific applications are transitioning from ACS to ACE and what transactions and queries will no longer be available, please reference CBP’s ACS to ACE Application Transition Plan. Any items on the spreadsheet marked January 2017 will no longer be available beginning January 14 2017, including items under ‘Scheduled to Transition’, ‘Available in ACS and ACE’, and ‘Will Not Transition’.

Please note:
  • The January 14, 2017 deployment does not include Manufacturer ID Add (MID), as this capability must be deployed at the same time as Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) Admissions (e214s). Details on these capabilities will be made available through future communications.
  • The ACE Product Code query will be removed from and no longer supported in ACE.
  • For further details on CBP’s transition to ACE, visit the ACE Mandatory Use Dates page, or reference the ACE Entry Summary Business Process Document for policy and business process flows.
  • For technical support during the transition, contact your company’s assigned Client Representative. During the deployment period Client Representatives will have access to additional headquarters policy, operations and technical personnel to expedite any transition issues. More details on this additional support will be made available in early January.
  •  Reports in support of the capabilities being deployed will be made available after January 14, 2017. After deployment of capabilities into production, additional time is needed to migrate and synchronize legacy data to ensure accuracy of data prior to reports being made available. More details will follow as various reports become available.




American Shipper report: Number of self-filing importers has doubled!

A significant development in the US importing world:  American Shipper has just released an import benchmark study,All The thumbsupRight Moves: Importers Turn to Self-Filing,” which reports that the percentage of importers who are direct filing their customs entries nearly doubled in 2016 from 2014 and 2015 levels.

And here’s why:

  1. Importers in general are becoming more comfortable with tools and systems that let them self-file (direct file) some or all of their entries.
  2. The cutover to ACE this year placed some shippers in position where they might have been more prepared for ACE than their brokers, and so felt better served by filing themselves.
  3. There’s a general trend toward filing self-reliance in the trade, where importers want more control over their filing destiny. They want increased accuracy without having to go through their broker for corrections.

The free report is available here (registration required).

Please use these links to the CustomsNow™ website to learn more about direct filing — and automating your import clearance process —  with our ACE-compliant solutions backed by support by licensed customs brokers:




ISF: CBP defers to local ports on enforcement, ends “3 strikes” policy



Per CSMS #16-000499:

  • For shipments that are on the water on or after June 30, 2016, CBP ports will no longer be required to send requests for liquidated damages (LD) claims to Headquarters for review, and the “three-strikes” approach to LD claims against importers’ bonds will also end. There is no change to cargo holds for ISF non-compliance; ports may hold cargo instead of (or in addition to) initiating LD claims.
  • If you have any questions regarding this matter, you may send them to

CBP: Stricter ISF enforcement policy at LA/LB seaport

cargoshipsEffective October 1, 2014, US Customs officials at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport have further tightened ISF enforcement.  In particular, seaport personnel

“…will be increasing their enforcement posture for ISF no-file shipments.  CBP will continue to place manifest holds on all cargo (full container loads and consolidated loads) that do not have an ISF on file, 72 hours before vessel arrival at the LA/LB seaport.  CBP will manually monitor the existing holds to ensure that the ISF information has been filed.” (emphasis added)

This new policy narrows by one full day the window of compliance, which since July 2013 had been 48 hours before vessel arrival at the seaport.  (ISF rules require that all ISF information on a shipment bound for the US be submitted to CBP 24 prior to lading on the vessel on at the foreign port).

The official policy change is documented in CSMS #14-000520.


Newly modified ISF enforcement guidance — fact or fiction?


Recently, US Customs issued CSMS 14-000283 which purports to modify guidance to the ports regarding ISF enforcement.  Specifically, the announcement stated, in its entirety,  that:

[o]n May 13, CBP issued updated guidance to the ports regarding enforcement of the Importer Security Filing. The purpose of the guidance is to clarify and enhance current enforcement activity. The issuance of the updated guidance resets the 12-month Headquarters review period. For questions regarding this guidance please contact a local CBP Port of Entry.

We reached out to the CBP office at Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport Complex for more information, and received the following from the Advance Target Unit:

There are no changes since the ISF Enforcement Public Bulletin.  Please see attachment.  If you have any specific questions concerning ISF, you may send an email with those inquiries.

The attachment was a memo dated July 12, 2013, from LA & LB field office, LA&LB ISF Enforcement Procedures, about enhanced ISF enforcement that was to commence last summer.

This reply seems to contradict CSMS 14-000283, but perhaps this is limited to the LA/LB field office.  Is there anyone in the trade can clarify this apparent incongruity?



New ISF enforcement procedures for Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach


As part of US Customs’ stepped-up enforcement of liquidated damages for ISF violations, officials at the Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport have announced new enhanced enforcement measures particular to that port complex.

Specifically, in light of “continued non-compliance with ISF requirements,”

[b]eginning July 15, 2013, CBP [at the LA/LB Seaport] will make use of newly activated cargo holds in [ACE] to address non-compliance with the ISF rule.  CBP will hold non-compliant ISF shipments at the terminal until the required ISF is filed.  Once the ISF data is received and a security assessment is made, additional enforcement actions including Non-Intrusive Inspection (NII) and/or intrusive exams may be initiated.  CBP may also assess liquidated damages of up to $5,000 per violations as warranted.

Importers may notice that this is a departure from CBP’s past practice for situations where no ISF was on file; in those cases, Customs would typically order a Non-Intrusive Exam (e.g., x-ray) and/or an Intrusive Exam (e.g., physical exam at a CES), and, in most instances, would then remove the hold and allow the shipment to proceed.

Now, the shipment will be held, and no action will be taken, until an ISF is filed.  If an importer receives notice that its shipment is being held, a manifest query should be run in order to determine the reason for the hold, which could possibly be no record of an ISF filing.

For more information, including the new ACE cargo hold codes, please see the attached Public Bulletin on LA&LB ISF Enforcement Procedures.


New ISF liquidated damages warrant auditing ISF filings in ACE


In light of US Customs’ announcement that it will be assessing liquidated damages for ISF violations starting July 9, importers should take affirmative steps to monitor whether their ISF filings are timely and accurate.

Specifically, importers who self-file their ISFs as well as those who use a third party to file ISFs can access reports, via ACE, to audit compliance.  Importers should use ACE for this purpose, even if the ISFs were filed in ACS (CBP’s legacy system that ACE will replace), as ACS filings are automatically sent to ACE, CBP’s new system of record.

To access ACE, importers must first establish an ACE portal account (see CBP’s guidance on this topic).

To gain access to ACE’s ISF portal and run the appropriate ISF reports, follow the instructions in CBP’s guidance document ACE – Accessing ISF Portal and Reports.



Importers beware — CBP to assess liquidated damages for ISF violations

Effective July 9, 2013, US Customs will now add liquidated damages to its arsenal of enforcement options for ISF violations.  CBP has essentially given ISF filers a nearly 4 1/2 year grace period from this type of enforcement, relying on manifest holds and “non-intrusive inspections” to address violations up to now.  Next month, CBP can issue liquidated damages of $5,000 per violation for the submission of an inaccurate, incomplete or untimely 10 + 2 filing.

Given that CBP has raised the ante, importers may wish to avoid relying on third parties, and take control by self-filing their ISFs.  No license is required to do so, and self-filing is easy with our Customs-certified software.


ACE – New report to see late ISF filings

US Customs has announced that a new ISF Report is available in ACE for importers and filers to monitor whether any of their own filings are late.  Note:  Although the report is available in ACE, it tracks ISFs filed in both ACE and ACS.

Users will need to subscribe to the “Late ISF Importer Report (PDF).”   Use the steps below to subscribe to the new report:

  1. After logging onto the ACE Secure Data Portal, select the References Tab.
  2. Select Launch ISF.
  3. Select Reports.
  4. Select Subscribe to Reports.
  5. Select the Late ISF Importer Report (PDF).

Filers are reminded that the “By Filer By Importer Report” is available in both a PDF and an Excel format.

CBP’s official notice is available here.