Creating an international commercial invoice template is crucial for any business making international shipments. Without it, the shipment may be subject to delays or even denied by customs agents. Ensuring that all the necessary details and information are accurately included in the document before sending out an item or product is essential. This guide will give you an overview of what should be included in your international commercial invoice template and how to create it correctly.
What is an International Commercial Invoice?
An International Commercial Invoice is a crucial document in international trade transactions, providing detailed information about the goods being shipped, their value, and the involved parties. This document serves multiple purposes, including:
- Customs Declaration: The invoice is required by customs authorities in both the exporting and importing countries to assess and collect import duties, taxes, and tariffs based on the value and nature of the goods.
- Proof of Ownership: It establishes the ownership of the goods, helping to prevent potential disputes and legal issues.
- Contract of Sale: The invoice acts as evidence of the agreement between the buyer and the seller, specifying the terms and conditions of the sale, such as payment and delivery details.
- Record Keeping: Both the buyer and the seller use the invoice for accounting and record-keeping purposes, tracking sales, purchases, and inventory.
Elements of an International Commercial Invoice
An International Commercial Invoice typically includes the following information:
- Seller’s and Buyer’s Details: Names, addresses, and contact information of both parties involved in the transaction.
- Description of Goods: A detailed description of the items being shipped, including their quantity, weight, dimensions, and any relevant product codes or classifications.
- Unit Price and Total Value: The unit price of each item and the total value of the shipment, usually expressed in the currency agreed upon by the buyer and the seller.
- Terms of Sale (Incoterms): The agreed-upon international trade terms that specify the responsibilities of the buyer and the seller concerning shipping, insurance, and risk of loss or damage.
- Payment Terms: The agreed-upon payment method and terms, such as advance payment, letter of credit, or open account.
- Shipping Details: Information about the mode of transport, carrier name, and shipment tracking number.
- Country of Origin: The country where the goods were manufactured or produced.
- Harmonized System (HS) Codes: International classification codes used by customs authorities to identify and categorize goods for tariff and statistical purposes.
- Declaration: A statement by the seller that the information provided on the invoice is accurate and complete.
It’s essential to ensure that the International Commercial Invoice is accurate, complete, and compliant with the regulations of the exporting and importing countries to avoid delays, fines, or other issues during the customs clearance process.
Reasons for Using an International Commercial Invoice
There are several reasons for using an International Commercial Invoice in global trade transactions. These reasons highlight its importance in facilitating smooth and compliant international shipping:
An International Commercial Invoice is a mandatory document customs authorities require in exporting and importing countries. It helps them assess and collect import duties, taxes, and tariffs based on the value and nature of the goods.
Proof of Ownership
The invoice establishes the ownership of the shipped goods, thereby preventing potential disputes and legal issues that may arise during the shipping process.
Contract of Sale
The International Commercial Invoice serves as evidence of the agreement between the buyer and the seller, outlining the terms and conditions of the sale, including payment and delivery details.
Both the buyer and the seller use the invoice for accounting and record-keeping purposes. It helps them track sales, purchases, and inventory, crucial for financial reporting and tax compliance.
The invoice ensures that the shipment complies with the regulations of the exporting and importing countries and any applicable international trade agreements. This helps avoid delays, fines, or other issues during the customs clearance process.
The invoice contains information about the payment terms and methods agreed upon by the buyer and the seller. This makes it easier for the buyer to make payments and for the seller to receive them.
An International Commercial Invoice provides essential information about the shipped goods, such as their description, quantity, weight, dimensions, and HS codes. This information is necessary for carriers and freight forwarders to efficiently handle and transport the shipment.
By specifying the terms of sale (Incoterms), the invoice clarifies the responsibilities of the buyer and the seller concerning shipping, insurance, and risk of loss or damage. This helps prevent misunderstandings and disputes that may arise during the shipping process.
An International Commercial Invoice is a critical document in international trade, ensuring compliance with customs requirements, facilitating payment and shipment, and providing essential information for both the buyer and the seller.
Different Types of International Commercial Invoices
Most countries have their version of an International Commercial Invoice, so checking the local requirements before shipping goods across international borders is essential. For instance, in the United States, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires Importers to use a form called CBP 7501—Entry Summary for goods imported into the U.S., while in the EU, customs authorities require companies to use an invoice called an Intrastat Declaration for goods imported intra-EU.
With that said, here are some of the notable international commercial invoices that you should be aware of:
- Canadian Commercial Invoice: This invoice is designed explicitly for shipments being sent from a country outside of Canada and destined for delivery within Canada.
- FedEx Commercial Invoice: This form should be used when shipping products internationally via FedEx. It is required for the proper documentation and processing of your international shipment.
- DHL Commercial Invoice: Utilize this invoice at designated DHL locations when sending a package to another country. It ensures compliance with DHL’s international shipping requirements.
- UPS Commercial Invoice: Present this invoice to a UPS representative at a corporate or franchise location when sending a package internationally. The invoice facilitates the accurate processing of your international shipment with UPS.
- USPS Commercial Invoice: Use this invoice when sending a package internationally through the United States Postal Service. It streamlines the documentation process and helps ensure a smooth customs clearance for your shipment.
Create International Commercial Invoice Templates with ReliaBills
Now that you understand the importance of an International Commercial Invoice and its different types, you’re ready to create your international commercial invoice template. Creating a professional-looking international invoice from scratch can be time-consuming and tricky. That’s why ReliaBills offers a fast and easy solution for creating professional-looking international invoices—and even helping you set up your entire payment processing system to boot!
ReliaBills is a cloud-based invoicing and billing software designed to automate payment processes, reduce administrative overhead, and streamline payment processing duties. ReliaBills’ payment processing features include automated recurring billing, payment tracking, payment reminders, online payment processing, and much more!
It also provides valuable tools that help manage customer information, monitor payment records, and create proper billing and collection reports. As a result, invoice and billing management are simple and convenient. You also get access to active customer support, ready to assist you whenever you need help.
Get started with ReliaBills for free today! And if you want more features, you can upgrade your account to ReliaBills PLUS for only $24.95 monthly! Subscribing to ReliaBills PLUS will give you access to advanced features such as automatic payment recovery, SMS notifications, custom invoice creation, advanced reporting, and more!
With ReliaBills, you have an all-in-one solution to your invoicing and payment processing needs. Our convenient solutions will enable you to focus more on running and growing your business. Get started today!
An international commercial invoice template is essential if your business imports or exports goods from international sources. Not only does it guarantee the safe and successful delivery of items, but it also helps streamline the payment process and keep accurate records of each transaction. So make sure not to overlook the importance of having an international commercial invoice template by creating one today!