Commercial Invoices

Commercial Invoices

All exporters must complete commercial invoices when sending goods to all countries in the world except members of the European Economic Community – EEC, also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993. The commercial invoice is required by both the exporter (to obtain the necessary export documents to enable the consignment to be exported, to prove ownership and to enable payment) and importer (who require the commercial invoice to facilitate the import of the goods into the country in question). In exporting, the commercial invoice is considered a very important document as it serves as the starting or initiating document that underpins the rest of the export transaction.

  • Click here to download ‘Commercial Invoices
  • Click will open a commercial invoice (Word document)

The commercial invoice is essentially a bill from the seller (the exporter) to the buyer (the importer) describing the parties to the agreement, the goods to be sold, and the terms involved, as agreed between the exporter and importer. As such, the commercial invoice is the final bill exchanged between the seller and the buyer. The commercial invoice will normally be presented on the exporter’s letterhead and will be addressed to the importer. It should contain full details of the consignment, including price and other related costs, in order to facilitate customs clearance. It must also be signed and dated.

Items should be itemised separately and a grand total value added, you should be aware that the commercial invoice is used by Customs authorities throughout the world for assessing Customs duties, inspection purposes, and for the keeping of statistics. If there is specific information required to appear on the commercial invoice by the Customs’ authorities in the importing country, the importer should advise you of this. It does no harm, however, just to ask him/her if they don’t mention it on their own. If it later transpires that certain additional information was required, you can at least say that you did ask!

Customs’ and consular invoices

Some countries, however, may require the commercial invoice to be completed on their own specified forms – such commercial invoices are known as “Customs’ invoices” and may be provided in lieu of or in addition to the standard commercial invoices, In addition, a “consular invoice” is required by certain countries. The consular invoice must be prepared in the language of the destination country and can be obtained from the country’s consulate, and often must be stamped by an authorised Consul official in the exporting country).

What should appear in the commercial invoice?

The following details should appear in the commercial invoice:

  • The document title should clearly state “Commercial Invoice”
  • The name of the exporter (referred to as the shipper) plus contact details
  • The name of the importer (referred to as the consignee) plus contact details
  • A commercial invoice reference number
  • A customs commodity code for the goods being sent
  • A date of issue of the commercial invoice
  • A signature and printed name of the sender
  • A vat number or a statement clearly mentioning the sender is non-vat registered
  • A complete, detailed and clear description of the goods in question
  • A grand total price of the goods for the whole consignment
  • The currency in which the goods will be sold (e.g. pounds, euro, US dollars)

Commercial invoices, amount required

Commercial invoices are normally supplied in 6x signed copies per consignment however; we would always recommend at least 3x signed copies per parcel / pallet so, if sending 5 parcels within the same consignment then, 15x copies are required with 3x copies to each parcel – Why so many? – Well if the first parcel has all the copies and the others do not, the first may fly through customs where the others are delayed due to no commercial invoices being attached

  • Click here to download ‘Commercial Invoices
  • Click will open a commercial invoice (Word document)
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