Commercial Documents Required for Customs Clearance

  • November 17, 2020
  • Blog

Any consignment, moving from one international destination to another requires customs clearance. Every country has its own laws as outlined by the government and the shipping companies and freight forwarders should be aware of it and keep a tab on the new laws related to customs so as not to skip any mandatory documents while in international trade.

Generally, in a customs clearance process, there are loads of documents to be verified and submitted, either electronically or physically with the consignment. Why? Because it helps the concerned officials to calculate taxes and duties that are levied on the consignment that is ready to ship.

What documents are to be submitted for customs depends on the type of goods being shipped. Customs rules vary depending on the country of origin and the final destination country. However, there are some specific documents that are common and businesses need to adhere to while importing or exporting goods. 20Cube takes care of all your Customs clearance work without any hassle as we have trained professionals with good expertise.

Let’s see those general documents that are common among all countries:

ProForma Invoice

Similar to a purchase order, a proforma invoice is a document that provides details of the product to be sold. It is generated as per the terms and conditions agreed between the parties through a recognized medium such as email, fax, telephone, or in a meeting. A purchase order is issued before completing the sales transaction.

Customs packing list

The customs packing list provides the items included in the shipment can be cross-checked with the Pro-forma invoice by the parties involved in the operation. The packing list is sent with the international shipment and is a source of information for the transportation companies to get to know what is being shipped.

COO Certificate (Country of Origin)

The COO certificate is issued by the exporter. It’s a declaration that goods being shipped are manufactured and processed in the said country.

Customs Invoice

The Customs invoice is a mandatory document for an export transaction. Any customs officer will ask for a customs invoice as it contains information about the order, details and description, the selling price, packaging, quantity, costs, weight, etc., of the goods to decide customs import value at the destination port and also to decide on freight insurance, terms of delivery, payment, etc. The customs official will verify this information with the order and confirm whether to give a go-ahead for the consignment or not.

Shipping bill

A shipping bill is an important document and serves as a measurable record and is generally submitted via a custom online software system (ICEGATE). To obtain the shipping bill the exporter needs the below-mentioned documents:

  • Export license
  • Indent
  • Packing list
  • Acceptance of contract
  • Purchase order
  • Letter of credit
  • QC certificate
  • Port trust document
  • GR forms for shipment to all the countries
  • Invoice

Bill of lading

A Bill of lading is a document from the carrier to the shipper/exporter/supplier. It is evidence of the contract for the movement of goods described by the carrier. It also has product information like quantity, type and destination where the goods are to be delivered and is to be duly signed by an authorized representative from the shipper, carrier and receiver.
Bill of lading is also treated as the shipment receipt at the port of destination where it is produced to the customs office for clearance.

Bill of sight

It is a declaration from the supplier or exporter to the customs department where the receiver is unsure of the type of goods being shipped. The bill of sight document permits the receiver of goods to inspect them before making duty payments. With the bill of sight, the exporter also needs to submit a letter that allows clearance of goods by customs.

Letter of credit

The letter of credit is issued by the importer’s bank informing that the importer or the consignee will honor the payment to the exporter /consignor/shipper of the sum specified to complete the transaction.

Bill of exchange

A Bill of exchange is similar to a promissory note that can be drawn by banks or individuals. It is a substitute payment option where the importer is to clear payments for goods received from the exporter either on-demand or at a fixed or determinable future.

Export license

A business can get an export license from the licensing authority and a permit is issued by the Chief Controller of Exports and Imports. Any business involved in import-export business should have the export license that will be provided to customs in order to export cargo, but it’s only for international destinations and for the very first time. The license details may vary depending on the type of exports.

Warehouse receipt

The warehouse receipt is needed when an ICD is involved and is generated as soon as the exporter has cleared all relevant export duties and freight charges.

Health certificate

Health certificates are involved only where the food products are part of international trade. The certificate states that the food contained in the shipment has met all standards of safety and is fit for consumption. The health certificate is issued by an authorized governmental organization from where the cargo is shipped.
For a successful shipment to cross international waters it requires customs clearance, and for that, the above-mentioned document has to be processed and submitted.  Every county has its own set of rules and regulations but these are some common ones that are valid in almost all countries.