As you can see in the example above, we broke the commercial invoice into eight parts:
Let’s break down the commercial invoice further to ensure you experience a seamless shipping process:
Includes the shipper’s name (typically you or your business), address, contact information, and tax ID number.
Includes the ship-to party's full name, address, contact information, and tax ID number, if applicable, and if different from the buyer's.
Includes the ship to buyer's full name, address, contact information, and tax ID number, if applicable.
The ship-to and sold-to fields are typically the same contact name and information.
Units: The quantity of the merchandise, i.e., the number of individual items per description type being sent.
U/M: Abbreviation for Units of Measure, whether the items are listed as an individual, bundle, roll, etc.
Description of goods: This is where you provide a detailed description of the items in the package(s), including:
Harmonized tariff code or schedule B number: Include this to assist the clearance of your goods. This global system of classification speeds up exports, reduces delays, and avoids additional fees and charges.
If you use Zonos to calculate your duty and tax, be sure to use the same HS code that was used in this field. This will help maintain accuracy and provide a closer match of what is collected vs. what is paid for duties and taxes.
A Declaration Statement could be required on the invoice for commodities that demand a license or license exemption. If applicable, provide your export license number and type (or exemption if a license is not required) and your ECCN number if required.
A commercial invoice is required for all cross-border shipments that include goods.
You do not need a commercial invoice when shipping documents (written, typed, or printed communications).
It is a legal requirement to fill out a commercial invoice. Country customs will not let your product enter the country without being accompanied by a commercial invoice. Failure to do so may result in lengthy hold-ups and shipping delay costs.
The shipper, who is oftentimes the seller (exporter), issues the commercial invoice.
All eight fields may be required on a commercial invoice. Depending on the country, different fields are required and some fields are prioritized over others. To be safe, Zonos recommends filling out every field to ensure a smooth shipping process and avoid hold-ups and shipping delay costs.
Customs: One copy of the commercial invoice is for the customs officials who will inspect and clear the shipment. This copy helps them verify the value of the goods, the country of origin, and other relevant information needed to assess duties and taxes on the shipment.
Importer: The second copy is for the importer, who uses it for record-keeping purposes and to help facilitate payment for the goods. The importer may need this document to apply for import permits or licenses or to obtain financing from banks or other financial institutions.
Exporter: The third copy is for the exporter, who can use it to track the shipment, to help ensure that payment is received promptly, and to provide documentation for tax or accounting purposes.
By providing three copies of the commercial invoice with the shipment, all parties involved in the transaction can have the documentation they need to ensure a smooth and efficient international trade process.
Print the commercial invoice on a standard 8.5" x 11" paper.
Fold the commercial invoice in half so that the top half covers the bottom half.
Place the folded commercial invoice in a clear plastic shipping pouch that has an adhesive backing.
Peel off the protective covering from the adhesive side of the pouch.
Affix the pouch containing the commercial invoice to the outside of the box in a prominent location, such as on the top or side of the box.
Ensure that the commercial invoice or the shipping pouch does not cover the barcode or tracking number on the package.
If necessary, affix any other required shipping labels or documentation to the box.
By following these steps, you can ensure that the commercial invoice is securely attached to the package and is easily visible to customs officials.
Discounting items can be tricky when you consider the possibility that customs may not accept the discount on the commercial invoice. If you offer coupons or discounts in your cart, this may also cause a reconciliation issue between your order total and commercial invoice total. Learn how to fill out a commercial invoice when a promo code, discount, bogo, or free shipping was used.
All countries accept commercial invoices.
Yes. Even if you are shipping from the United States and the package doesn't need to go through customs because it is a domestic package, Puerto Rico still requires a commercial invoice.
You must include either a commercial invoice or a Canada customs invoice. The documents are very similar, and Canada allows either to be used. Both are not necessary.
CN22s and commercial invoices both give customs information about what goods are entering and leaving a country. However, these two forms are very different and should not be mixed up. CN22s require less information for customs clearance. CN22s are typically sent through a postal clearance rather than a commercial clearance.
See Zonospolicies and agreements.
What is a commercial invoice?
Learn what commercial invoices are, how to fill them out, and what they're used for.
Commercial invoices are used as a customs document and are one of the most common and important documents used in cross-border trade and shipping. A commercial invoice is required for any international shipment containing goods, and it is the primary document used for importation control, valuation, and duty determination. Supplied by the shipper, the commercial invoice identifies the products being shipped, including shipper/receiver information, shipment details, and the description and value of the goods.