The 4 Most Common Documents Required for Export

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Are you a business owner looking to expand your reach and export your goods to international markets? If so, you may wonder what documents you need to have to export your goods successfully. The process of exporting can be complex and time-consuming, but by having the right documentation in place, you can ensure a smooth and efficient export process.


Exporting goods can open up a world of opportunities for businesses, allowing them to tap into new markets and increase their customer base. However, it is important to understand the paperwork and documentation required for exporting goods. Failure to comply with export regulations and provide the proper documentation can result in delays, fines, and even legal consequences.


Having the right documents in place is crucial to avoid potential issues and ensure a successful export. These documents not only help to ensure compliance with export regulations but also prove the legality and authenticity of your goods. Read on while we discuss the top 4 documents required for exporting goods and how the Chamber Export Partnership can help you streamline the process.


1. The Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice is one of the first documents you will need to put together for an exported order. This document is different from the invoices your organization may generate for domestic orders; those invoices are primarily for accounting and records-keeping, while a commercial invoice records the details of the order, including:


  • Order number or another order-specific reference number
  • Payment information
  • Insurance information (if applicable)
  • Shipping and delivery details
  • Contact information


But before you even start the export process, you must create a proforma invoice. This occurs when you're quoting your international customer. They can use a proforma invoice to essentially 'jump start' the import process on their end, with steps like arranging payment, getting import licenses, and more.


2. Customs Packing List

A packing list is another essential export document. Like with your commercial invoices, a customs packing list is far more detailed than the document you might have for a domestic order. This document must include:


  • A description or identification of the goods within the order
  • The net and gross weight of the goods (in both imperial and metric measurements for easier international handling)
  • The dimensions of the goods
  • If applicable, any specialized handling instructions or further details required for regulated goods


Export professionals will use this document at virtually every stage of the journey. Banks may mandate this document to complete payment, freight management companies will need it to generate the bills of lading with the right details, and customs officials will use it to verify details and confirm the shipment's contents. Also, insurance providers will need a customs packing list to refer to if the goods are lost, broken, or damaged, and you need to file a claim.


3. Bill of Lading

After you have generated your packing list, your team can create the bill of lading. This is a legally binding document of title that simultaneously acts as a receipt and represents the transportation contract for the exported shipment. Carriers will create this document and give it to a shipper or the next destination in the supply chain. It details the type of goods in the shipment, the quantity of goods, and the intended destination. The carrier, shipper, and receiver must each sign the document as confirmation that the shipment was handled appropriately throughout the journey and reached the proper recipient.


Choosing the right type of bill of lading for different types of exports or different types of transportation is essential for ensuring the document is accepted without delay or dispute. Properly managed, bills of lading can ensure more efficient delivery, represent your company well, and minimize the risk of asset theft.


4. GATT/DGFT Declaration

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is an international agreement that simplifies exporting processes by managing and reducing trade barriers. The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is a government organization that manages and implements foreign trade policies. To comply with the standards established under GATT, exporters must fill out a declaration form that identifies the goods being exported and declares that the shipment documentation is true and accurate. This step ensures that prohibited goods are not being imported or exported.


Streamline Your Export Process With Chamber Export Partnership

When it comes to managing the intricate paperwork involved in exporting goods, it can be a daunting and time-consuming task for businesses. Instead of burdening yourself with this responsibility, consider partnering with experts well-versed in export processes and the legal documents required for each shipment.


Chamber Export Partnership is here to alleviate the stress and complexity of handling export paperwork in-house. Our team specializes in providing fast and accurate generation of shipping documents, ensuring a smooth and efficient export process. With our extensive knowledge and experience, we can navigate the intricacies of export regulations and requirements, saving you valuable time and resources.


Don't let the complexities of export paperwork hinder your business's growth and success. Reach out to Chamber Export Partnership and let our experts handle the intricate details of your export process. With our reliable and efficient document services, you can focus on what you do best – delivering exceptional products to customers worldwide.

Image Source: May_Chanikran / Shutterstock

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