In respect of international shipping of seafreight from the USA, you always will be asked by international shipping companies that support your international shipment to provide some sort of Commercial Invoice before your goods be accepted to your international shipment. Commercial invoice is the mandatory international shipping document that will be required by origins and destinations customs.
Note: In certain circumstances, particularly when you are shipping household goods or personal items from the USA, a Valued Packing List may substitute your commercial invoice. Properly filed valued packing list in international shipping actually reflects all information provided in ocean freight proforma commercial invoices. However, when your ocean freight international shipment will enter destination country's commerce zone of certain countries, the destinations customs may ask you to transfer your valued packing list initially submitted at origin into a form of commercial invoice anyway.
Commercial Invoices in international shipping of seafreight, besides other points, are used by origins and destinations customs in purpose to control legality of commodity and assign duty, taxes etc (if any) on international ocean freight shipments at the origins and destinations.
In international shipping using seafreight services, commercial invoices may be the original commercial invoices obtained from your merchant or proforma commercial invoices. In proforma commercial invoices shippers describe commodity and assign value of internationally shipped goods by themselves.
In international shipping of ocean freight commercial invoices submitted at origin in forms sufficient to origin Customs may not always be sufficient for destination customs. You should not really worry about that. Upon destination customs request to provide international shipping documents in a proper form, having a copy of your commercial invoice originally submitted at origin, you or your Customs Broker will always be able to transform the international shipping document into the format required by the destination customs.
Suggestions on filing Commercial Invoices to international ocean freight shipments from the USA:
General requirements on format of Commercial Invoices in international shipping of ocean freight from and to the USA
Commercial Invoices for international shipping of seafreight from and to the USA must be in English. It must provide the following information (See the Section 141.86 of U.S. customs regulations on international shipping merchandises to the USA for more detailed requirements):
Our online form of Proforma Commercial Invoice for international shipping seafreight from the USA
Commercial international shippers: Request your merchant an invoice in form acceptable by international shipping companies to international shipping by sea. Then fax or e-mail to us a copy of the invoice as a part of your international shipping documents.
Otherwise, our clients should be able to fill out and submit a Valued Packing List as its Proforma Commercial Invoice online via link in our shipping instructions using a standard form acceptable by U.S. Customs. Upon your booking request online in our website, we will e-mail to you this link in our shipping instructions. You may try the fully working version of the form of the international shipping document in this link.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR SHIPMENTS TO/VIA EUROPEAN UNION: 24H E.U. Rule effective on January 1st, 2011. All commercial invoices or valued packing lists for shipments to/via E.U. require filing at least first six digits of U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule in the H.S. Code column. Shippers to other counties may leave the H.S. Code column blank. However, filing H.S. Codes to other countries is recommended.
For more information please refer to this link - http://internationalshippingusa.com/Random_Topics_Ocean_Freight.aspx#EU
Notice: Each international shipping document for your international ocean freight submitted via our shipping instructions is unique. It is generated individually for your international ocean freight shipment and pre-formatted based on the information that you had provided when booked your international ocean freight shipment online.
IMPORTANT: While submitting your international shipping documents online double-check all info in the document. If you see any errors or typos, then urgently re-submit the document or ask us to correct it via e-mail. During submitting your international shipping documents for your international ocean freight shipment online you will have several opportunities to edit and re-submit the shipping documents. However, as soon as shipping documents are submitted to the ocean freight carrier, all further correction be possible only at a time when you recover your international shipment at the destination.
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