Export Documents: Examples

Whenever you sell, ship, or deliver products overseas, paperwork is needed to document the process. Here we explain some common forms you are likely to encounter.

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Here are some of the most common export documents:

Certificate of Origin Template – States the origin of the products being exported. This document is required by certain countries or by the terms of a letter of credit to verify the country of origin. A local Chamber of Commerce may certify and stamp this form, if required. A standard document exists, but certain countries have a specific form that is required for existing free trade agreements.

Commercial Invoice Template – The basic agreement and payment term from seller to buyer. This document contains all pertinent information related to the transaction. Customs officials use this document to determine duties and taxes on goods in the shipment.

Formal Quote Template – A follow-up quotation to an inquiry. This document is not required, but is often used to follow up on a request for a quotation from a potential buyer. Detailed information is given to inform the potential buyer of all aspects of the transaction.

Packing List Template – This itemizes the contents of each package (box, pallets, skids, etc.) This document includes weights, measurements and detailed contents of each package. It should be attached to the outside of a package and/or included inside the package. This document is used by shippers and forwarders to determine freight costs. It is also used by U.S. and/or foreign customs officials to check the contents of any specifc package.

Pro Forma Invoice Template – A quotation in invoice format. This document is not always required, but is often used by buyers to support an application for a Letter of Credit and/or import license.

Shippers Letter of Instruction Template – The Shipper’s Letter of Instruction is the instructions to the Freight Forwarder about how and where to send the export shipment.

For a more detailed discussion of export documents click here.