Commercial Invoice – All That You Need To Know

Commerce and trading plays a significant role in the overall development of the world economy. If you’re a part of trading business, it is very important to understand that trading of goods involve a lot of paperwork that needs to be done before the products are dispatched from the warehouse for the purpose of export. One of these documents is commercial invoice.


Commercial invoice plays a vital role in marking the identifications of the parties involved in the trading transactions. In this case, the identification of the buyer, as well as the seller can be easily known through this important document. The commercial invoice forms consists of the invoice number, packaging date, shipping date, and other important details of the transaction.


What Exactly Is A Commercial Invoice?


Commercial Invoice is referred to an invoice which is used in foreign trade. It is basically used as declaration for customs provided by the exporter, exporting his goods across international borders. The commercial invoice form can vary from company to company, but there are few pieces of information that must be present in the form provided. These should include: information on parties involved in the transaction, nature of goods being transported, country of the manufacture, and Harmonized System codes for particular goods.


The role of the commercial invoice can be described as follows:


1. The invoice checks the seller’s will to meet the terms of the contract. Invoice includes a comprehensive description of the trading transaction where price is the center of the main content. Each and every aspect of the invoice is thoroughly check to understand the situation of the delivery by the seller.


2. The invoice also acts as an important document for bookkeeping and accounting purpose for both the parties involved. This might serve as a purpose for calculating sale of goods, the buyer’s settlement documents, seller’s operating profit and loss accounts, and other fundamental basis for both the parties.


3. Customs tax is also calculated on the basis of this invoice. Set forward in the receipt value and description of the merchandise is the Customs might request to approve the tax basis, additionally sending out fringe investigation clearance and import clearance.


4. The invoice can also be used as the basis of bill settlement business invoices, or serve as customs statistics, supplementary to determine main documents, value of proof of insurance and other relevant details of the transaction.


Commercial Invoice specifications


As mentioned earlier, the commercial invoice form may or may not have any specific format, but there are certain criteria which get cannot be neglected. According to the Federal Revenue Service, the commercial invoice must contain the following information:


● Complete name, address and contact details of the exporter.

● Complete name, address and contact details of the importer

● Specification of goods in the official language, which can be English, French and Spanish. In case of any other language, the document should have a translated copy, certified and signed.

● Brand, numbering, reference number of the volumes.

● Kind and quantity of packages.

● Gross weight of the volumes.

● Net weight of the commodity.

● Country of origin of the goods (where the good were originally manufactured).

● Country of purchase (where the goods will be sold).

● Country of provenance (where the goods were kept at the time of the ordinance)

● Unit price and total amount of all the goods to be shipped.

● Freight and other costs incurred.

● Details on grants and fees.

● Conditions and currency of the payment.

● Terms of trade.


Commercial invoice is a very important document in the foreign trade. It is highly relied by the customs officials at the time of clearing the shipped goods. Thus, the document should be properly prepared, keeping in mind all the requirements and details to be provided to the customs. Also, make sure you get at least two extra copies of the document. One of the copy will be accompanied by goods being transported, while the other one should be sent by different means for verification, clarification and identification purposes. It is mandatory that the invoice accompanies the bill of lading.


Generally speaking, the commercial invoice form is the only ticket to clearance when it comes to international trade. Irrespective of what you want to export, your goods just cannot cross borders without this important document. While the document may not be important for transportation purpose, it is a necessity for custom clearance.