Filling Out the Commercial Invoice
What information are you required to provide?
● Reason for export: business transaction or gift?
● Shipping date and number: your carrier’s number also known as the air waybill number. The invoice and order numbers may be included for administrative purposes but aren’t essential.
● Incoterms: Determines the party responsible for the package during shipping.
● Goods description: The description of goods you’re sending should answer the following questions:
What are they?
Are there multiple items?
What materials are they made of?
What is their intended use?
The description should include specific details and not just a general depiction of the items in question.
E.g., instead of just writing “clothing,” you would put down: “women’s sweaters; 70% cotton, 30% polyester.”
❖ A product’s brand name and code should also show up in the description.
See this explanation on filling out the item description category:
● Quantity: For a shipment including different kinds of items, make sure to list how many of each you’re sending. Items should be arranged according to unit type. For example, dry goods should be listed according to weight, while liquids according to their volume.
● The HS Code (Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System) Internationally accepted system developed by the World Customs Organization for classifying internationally traded products. This coded arrangement helps customs determine import and export restrictions, duty rates, and decide which ones to charge. The HTS is often referred to as an item’s tariff classification.
➔ How to Determine the HTS Code
● Declared value: An accurate market price of the goods included in your shipment according to the currency used in the purchase. Customs may ask you to provide evidence of the stated amount.
● Insurance costs: Make sure to list the freight and insurance costs separately. If you fail to do so, customs will count both, and you may pay double the price.
● Country of origin: Location where the shipment originated.
❖ A CO document may be required in some cases.
❖ If you are shipping multiple items to different locations, make sure to include each country/territory of manufacture in the description.
Weight: Specify the net and gross weight of the shipment. Gross weight specifies an aggregate of the net and packaging weight.
Make sure to sign the document.