June Edition

  • What to include on your Commercial Invoice?

What to include on your Commercial Invoice?

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The preparation and submission of accurate and complete Commercial Invoices (CIs) to the customs authorities plays a very important part in ensuring fast, efficient and trouble-free global trade. Errors and omissions in their completion can result in any or all of the following:

  • a delayed shipment release;
  • the payment of higher duties and taxes than necessary because FedEx clearance teams are unable to determine the proper tariff classification(s) for the goods involved in a consignment;
  • the detention or seizure of an entire shipment.
Here are a few examples of some common errors that are made when preparing CIs:
  • poor, incorrect, or minimal descriptions;
  • the use of zero as a value for non-document goods or citing incorrect or conflicting values;
  • failure to indicate the country of manufacture or production for each commodity in a consignment.

Basic check list for preparing Commercial Invoices

Use the below check list to ensure you always provide us with the following information on your CIs, regardless of the origin and destination of the goods involved:

  • The complete name and address of both the shipper and the consignee.
  • The importer’s name and address if other than the consignee.
  • A complete and full description of all the commodities in the shipment to include:
    • the HTS (Harmonised Tariff Schedule) code up to the 6th digit if known (NB all HTS codes globally are identical up to the 6th digit);
    • the country of origin (manufacture or production) for each item in the shipment;
    • a material breakdown in the description for all those commodities for which such information is required;
    • the value of each item (both unit and total) with a clear indication of the exact currency involved;
    • the reason for the import (commercial sale, gift, exhibit, repair, etc.).

Watch out for specific country variances

Some countries require the submission of additional information or documentation (e.g. concerning the value, the country of manufacture or the commodity concerned) before a consignment can be cleared. In other cases certain commodities or value thresholds for a given destination require the provision of a Certificate of Origin, a form, permit or license from a government agency, or an external broker clearance.

Paper or electronic submission?

Over 72 countries served by FedEx accept Electronic Trade Documents (ETD) for import clearance purposes.

As the use of ETD allows the immediate electronic download of relevant documentation and the pre-clearance of shipments when the customs authorities allow this, we strongly advise you and your suppliers to always take advantage of the ETD service to enjoy faster clearing times. Full details of all the countries which accept ETD can be found here.

NB some countries still require an original paper CI to be provided for clearance purposes as well as an electronic version, so it is very important to check exactly what is required for each given destination.

For further information and advice contact Customer Service.

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