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Export Documentation: Commercial Invoice

Commercial Invoice

A commercial invoice is a required document for the export and import clearance process. It is sometimes used for foreign exchange purposes. In the buyer’s country, it is the document that is used by their customs officials to assess import duties and taxes.  

Before completing a commercial invoice for a new export destination, it is advisable to consult reliable sources for country-specific requirements. A few countries require the invoice to be on a specific form, but for most countries, the seller or exporters version is acceptable as long as all the pertinent information is included.     

In addition to the information included on the pro forma invoice, the invoice may include the U.S. schedule B number or the harmonized tariff classification number to the sixth digit only. This can speed up the export clearance process as well as the import clearance in the buyer’s country since it provides a universal description of goods for duty and tax purposes.                                   

Another item that should be included is the destination control statement. Even though it is not required for all exports, it is a statement that provides additional protection for the exporter in case the buyer re-exports the shipment to a prohibited destination or prohibited end-use.

For more information, visit the export documentation webpage.