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Freight from the USA

Commercial Invoice

All cargo exported from the U.S. overseas must be accompanied by a document describing the commodity and indicating the value in US$. In most cases, commercial invoices are such documents.

A commercial invoice is a mandatory document in international cargo transportation from the United States. It is required by the U.S. and destination countries' Customs to check the legality of shipping goods and determine customs duty. Cargo without an accompanying commercial invoice cannot be released to international transportation from the USA.

If, for some reason, a commercial invoice is not available, OR shipping from the U.S. household goods or personal belongings, then a Valued Packing List can substitute a commercial invoice. Properly filed valued packing list on transporting from the USA personal effects reflects the same information that presents commercial invoices in commercial cargo transportation.

However, since the value of shipping from the USA goods in valued packing lists assigned by shippers, the U.S. and the destination country's Customs may reconsider the value to have it correspond with the fair market value on the day of departure or arrival from the U.S. 

Occasionally, a commercial invoice or VPL submitted to the U.S. Customs to get your cargo released for transportation from the USA may not be sufficient for destination countries' Customs. You should not really worry about that. If destination customs insists, you can furnish any other documents related to your shipping from the U.S. Your Customs Broker should be able to transform the shipping documents initially provided in the United States into forms required by the destination country's Customs.


Suggestions on submitting Commercial Invoices

  1. If you are overseas and purchasing goods from the USA remotely, then, at the time of purchase, request your U.S. merchant a commercial invoice in a format acceptable for further international shipping from the USA.

  2. If you sell goods from the USA abroad, always provide buyers with an invoice acceptable for further international transportation from the U.S.
  3. The format of a commercial invoice from your merchant may vary. Most important is the comprehensive commodity description and the value in US$. Consider the essential information that must be presented in commercial invoices for shipping goods from the USA as in the valued packing list.

  4. If you are shipping from the USA Household Goods or Personal Effects, you have to fill out and submit your Valued Packing List anyway.    


Official requirements for the format of commercial invoices in shipping from the USA

Commercial invoices for goods internationally shipping from the USA must be in English. It must provide the following information (See Section 141.86 of U.S. customs regulations on international shipping merchandise from the United States of America):

Please note that your commercial invoice will always be considered along with your bill of lading. So, even if some information is missing in your commercial invoice but presented in your bill of lading, that should be sufficient for Customs.

Proforma Commercial Invoice with AMID Logistics

International enterprises dealing with the U.S. market should always request commercial invoices in forms acceptable to shipping goods from the USA abroad. Household goods and personal belongings transported from the USA overseas must also be accompanied by the corresponding shipping document.

Our customers should be able to fill out and submit a valued packing list that can also be considered a proforma commercial invoice online via the link in our shipping instructions. This shipping document should be acceptable by international freight carriers and by the U.S. and destination countries' Customs. Upon your booking request online on our website, we will e-mail you this link in our shipping instructions. You may see the fully functional version of the form of the document in this link.

Important note to shipments to/via European Union: 24H EU Rule effective on January 1st, 2011. All commercial invoices or valued packing lists for shipments to/via E.U. require filing at least the first six digits of the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule. Shippers to other counties may leave the H.S. Code column blank. However, filing H.S. Codes in other countries is highly recommended.

Shippers may find U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule on the following websites: or

IMPORTANT! While submitting or receiving your international shipping documents online, always double-check all information in the document. If you see any errors or typos, urgently re-submit the document or ask us to correct it. During submitting your documents for shipping from the USA, you will have several opportunities to edit and re-submit the documents. Keep in mind that as soon as documents are submitted to the ocean freight carrier, all further corrections may be subject to amendment fees. As soon as your goods are entered into the commerce zone of your destination country, all further amendments will be under the supervision of the destination country's officials.

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