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Freight from the USA

Commercial Invoice (or purchase receipt)

Any cargo exported from the U.S. must be accompanied by a document describing the commodity and indicating its value in US dollars. If goods are shipped from the USA for commercial purposes, exporters need to provide copies of commercial invoices or purchase receipts as proof of the value of the goods.

A commercial invoice or purchase receipt is mandatory 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 cannot be released for international transportation from the USA without an accompanying copy of a commercial invoice or purchase receipt.

If, for some reason, a commercial invoice or purchase receipt is not available, OR shipping from the U.S. household goods or personal belongings, then a Valued Packing List may substitute a commercial invoice. An adequately filled valued packing list for goods transported from the USA contains the same information as commercial invoices in commercial cargo transportation.

However, the value assigned to goods on valued packing lists by shippers may not reflect the fair market value of the goods on the day of departure from the U.S. Therefore, both the U.S. and the destination country's Customs may reassess the value of the goods to ensure that it corresponds with the fair market value. 

  • If you're shipping commercial cargo from the USA, providing copies of original commercial invoices or purchase receipts is highly recommended. If, for any reason, you miss such a document, then a proforma commercial invoice in the form of a valued packing list may be sufficient to release your goods to shipping from the USA. However, in certain circumstances, destination country authorities may insist on copies of original commercial invoices or purchase receipts.
  • If you're shipping from USA household goods or personal effects, you must submit a valued packing list. You describe commodities and assign the value of exporting goods by yourself.

Occasionally, a commercial invoice or valued packing list used to release cargo from the USA may not be sufficient for destination Customs. In that case, you must furnish another document sufficient to the Customs. You or your customs broker may be able to convert the shipping document provided in the US into the form 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. It is highly recommended to have a U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule Code (HS Code) on it. If the value of shipping goods exceeds US$2499, then the exporter's U.S. Tax ID (EIN) is required in order to submit the U.S. Shipper's Export Declaration (SED).

  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):

  • The port of entry to which the goods are designated;

  • Shippers (sellers) and Buyers' full name, address, and valid contact information;

  • A detailed description of shipping goods;

  • The number and type of shipping units and the weight and measures;

  • Value of each item in USD based on the exchange rate on the date of export;

  • The country of origin of the goods; and

  • All products or services furnished for the production of goods being imported are not included in the invoice price (if any)

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 must always provide commercial invoices or purchase receipts in forms acceptable for shipping goods from the USA abroad. The corresponding shipping document must also accompany household goods and personal belongings transported from the USA overseas.

If it is a commercial shipment, we encourage customers to email us a copy of the commercial invoice or purchase receipt in a PDF file.

Our customers can fill out and submit a valued packing list online. The document may be considered a proforma commercial invoice. The web link to submit the valued packing list is provided in our shipping instructions. Sea freight carriers typically accept this document for both commercial and personal shipments to release cargo for export from the United States.

According to our experience, it is usually acceptable by destination countries' Customs as well. However, not always. Sometimes, the destination country's Customs may ask for a more specific document. Then, the consignee must work on it with the Customs on a case-by-case scenario.

Upon your booking request on our website, we will email 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 the European Union: The 24H EU Rule is 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.

  • Regarding international shipping from the USA mixed household goods or personal effects, if no major commodity is described, we may suggest the HS Code 4016.99.05 "Household articles not elsewhere specified or included."

  • Any commercial shipments must provide H.S. codes (at least the first six digits)

Shippers may find the 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. While submitting your documents for shipping from the USA, you will have several opportunities to edit and re-submit the documents. Remember 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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