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Freight from the USA
 

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The essential shipping documents

A set of documents is required to have cargo released for international transportation from the USA and pass customs clearance in the destination country, depending on the kind of commodity and the destination countryHowever, if you're shipping from the U.S. overseas general commodity, most of the time, all you will need is:

This is typically all that an average exporter should know when shipping general commodities from the USA abroad.

However, certain countries require special documents or apply certain restrictions on goods imported from the USA. A particular commodity may require a specific set of papers the ocean freight carrier accepts for international transportation from the United States and passing the destination country's customs.

Providing a proper set of shipping documents at the origin and destination is the exporters' and importers' responsibility. If you are unsure about the documents you will need in your international shipping from the U.S., contact your destination country's Consulate in the United States before shipping or ask a customs broker licensed in the country. We'd recommend you visit the Intertek.com website and contact them if you have questions.

Sea freight bill of ladings that acts as titles of cargo shipping from the USA typically states 'SHIPPER LOAD AND COUNT' and 'SAID BY SHIPPER TO CONTAIN.' That means neither the carrier nor the U.S. freight forwarder is held responsible for any information related to commodity description. Freight forwarders should support shippers in international cargo transportation and the documentation flow. However, the shippers' and consignees' responsibility is to provide all necessary documents related to their international shipments. A lack or delay in providing documentation in proper forms during international shipping from the USA overseas may result in cargo delay, additional fees, administrative penalties, or even civil or criminal charges in countries of origin or destinations.

Please note that all documents necessary to obtain a freight release for the USA's shipping goods must be provided to the ocean freight carrier before or at the latest on the day of cargo delivery at the ocean carrier's freight terminal (CFS).

 

Shipping documents with AMID Logistics

When you ship LCL freight from the U.S. overseas with AMID Logistics using our online freight calculator, you should be able to submit and receive essential shipping documents online.

Here is the "typical minimum" shipping documentation that every exporter should receive or provide until cargo departs from the USA. AMID Logistics will guide you step-by-step through the international cargo shipping procedures. With us, you will receive everything online, no matter where in the world you are:

 

*Filling U.S. Shipper's Export Declaration (SED)

All goods shipping from the USA overseas or trans-shipping via the U.S. must be declared in AESDirect by submitting the U.S. Shipper's Export Declaration in ace.cbp.dhs.gov and prove that in the bill of ladings by providing ITN. 

ITN is an Automated Export System (AES) generated number assigned to shipments transported out of the USA. The ITN confirms that the SED was accepted and is on file in the AES. This number allows the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to retrieve the shipment if needed.

However, there are exceptions when filling out the SED. The most common exceptions are:

If shipping from the U.S. is regular cargo, then average exporters should know if the value of shipping goods declared in the commercial invoice or valued packing list is under US$2,500. Filing a U.S. Shipper's Export Declaration (SED) is NOT required [REF: 15 CFR 30.55 (h)].

If SED is required, then AMID Logistics can fill a SED on the shipper's behalf for the fee of US$35, limited by up to two (2) Harmonized Tariff Codes. $20.00 per Harmonized Tariff number after that. Please note that shipping household goods or personal effects from the USA typically requires just one Harmonized Code in the SED filing.
 
At the time of booking an international shipment in our online booking form, the international shipper/consigner MUST request the SED filing OR provide ITN as the proof of filing the U.S. Shipper's Export Declaration in separate e-mail no later than 72 hours before the ETD (Estimated Time of Departure of cargo shipping from the USA). No international shipments without the ITN number will be permitted international shipping from the United States unless it is exempt from filing SED.

IMPORTANT!: To file the shipper's export declaration, the consigner (the shipper), besides submitting a commercial invoice or valued packing list, must PROVIDE A U.S. FEDERAL TAX ID# (EIN) or A COPY OF THEIR FOREIGN PASSPORT. 

Since 2009, U.S. Social Security Numbers (SSN) have NOT been accepted by the U.S. CBP for filing SEDs. All U.S. residents or visitors, whether individuals or businesses, must obtain a TAX ID (EIN) from the IRS.

If you are a U.S. citizen without an EIN, please do not be frustrated. You can get a temporary EIN on the IRS.gov website in almost no time.

 

Other shipping documents

Certain destination countries, particularly countries in South America, Africa, countries of the former Soviet Union, and Eastern Europe, depending on the commodity, may require an additional set of documents to get carriers' cargo released for departure from the United States or to be released in the destination country by the destination country's customs. In this link, you can consider customs clearance procedures by learning about such practices in the United States concerning dealing with a U.S. customs broker.

 

Mandatory documents in shipping goods from the USA

A. International Sea freight Bill of Ladinggenerated by ocean freight carriers as soon cargo has been loaded on board the vessel. Shows cargo routing, consigner, consignee, cargo description, etc. The title of goods transported from the USA overseas.

B. For international commercial shipments, use the Commercial Invoice - a complete description of the shipped commodity.

C. For shipping household goods and personal belongings from the USA – Valued Packing List. An inventory list with the value assigned to each item in US$.

Please note that some countries require proforma commercial invoices for importing household goods and personal belongings from the USA. However, having an accurate valued packing list submitted in the USA upon the destination country's customs request, that valued packing list can be considered or transformed into a form of a proforma commercial invoice.

 

Additional documents may be required.

D. Packing List for an international commercial shipment - Breakdown description: pieces, weights, and packing materials. (Examples - Wood Pallets, Skids, Crates, Boxes, Dunnage, Straw Packing, etc.)

E. Fumigation Certificate - Certification that internationally shipped cargo and its packing materials were fumigated and are free of infestation.

F. Arrival Notice

G. Other specific documents in shipping goods from the U.S. overseas. Depends on commodity, country of origin, and destination:

 

Special requirements and limitations by country

Importing and exporting can be simple or full of regulation. It all depends on the commodity you ship and the country you are shipping to. As soon as cargo enters the commerce zone of the destination country, neither U.S. Freight Forwarders nor carriers will be able to assist you in your import recovery in the destination country.
 
We routinely publish some incoming information related to shipping goods from the U.S. to particular countries on our website. However, this information may not be updated. Before sending any cargo from the USA abroad, the shipper should find special import recovery requirements in a destination country. Contact a consulate of the country where you will ship goods in the U.S., or ask a destination's customs broker about special requirements in advance. You may also want to check for updates on Intertek.com.
 
Below are some special requirements and limitations listed by countries of destination that we occasionally face in our practice.

ALGERIA: Shipping freight from the USA to Algeria must be covered by a Letter of Credit. Find more about shipping to Algeria in respect of the Letter of Credit in this link. Also, a Certificat de contrôle de qualité is required for all exports to Algeria.

AUSTRALIA: Australian shipments are restricted to wood packing. Find more about shipping freight from the USA to Australia concerning ISPM15 regulations in this link.

BANGLADESH: Exports of second-hand capital machinery to Bangladesh may require an Inspection Certificate for Customs clearance.

BOTSWANA: Exports to Botswana must comply with the requirements of the Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) Import Inspections Regulations (SIIR) to Standards Programme for the goods to clear customs.

BRAZIL: Shipping freight from the USA to Brazil requires an NCM number and CNPJ. Find more about shipping to Brazil regarding the NCM number and CNPJ in this link.

CAMEROON: Programme d’Evaluation de la Conformité Avant Embarquement (PECAE) for Exports to Cameroon.

CHINA: Shipping freight from the USA to China requires the consignee's TAX ID# or consignee's USCI#. Find more about shipping to China regarding TAX ID# or consignee's USCI# in this link.

COLUMBIA: Shipping cargo to Columbia requires an NIT (Colombian business tax number).

EGYPT: According to new security regulations, all shipments that go to/or are transshipped via EGYPT and SPAIN require a copy of the consignee's passport (or visa). Find more about shipping freight from the USA to/via Egypt in this link. Shipments also must be approved by GOEIC to issue the mandatory Certificate of Inspection for exports of Regulated Products to Egypt.

ETHIOPIA: A certificate of Conformity is mandatory.
 
GABON: Trading with Gabon must comply with the Gabon government's office's requirements, Agence Gabonaise de Normalisation (AGANOR) Conformity Assessment Programme called PROJECT for their goods to clear customs.

ISRAEL: Shipping freight from the USA to Israel requires the consignee's VAT (TAX-Number). Find more about shipping to Israel regulations in this link.

ITALY: Shipping to Italy household goods or personal effects is subject to Italian Government restrictions and regulations. If you ship household goods or personal belongings to Italy, contact your local Italian Consulate in advance. Find more at this link.

IVORY COAST: The Government of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has introduced a Verification of Conformity program for all exports to the country.
 
KENYA: To assure Kenyan consumers of the safety and quality of the imported goods they buy and to protect Kenyan manufacturers from unfair competition, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), a statutory organization of the government of Kenya, has implemented guidelines called the Pre-Export Verification of Conformity (PVoC) to Standards Programme for exports to Kenya.
 
KUWAIT: The Public Authority for Industry of the State of Kuwait (PAI) implemented specific guidelines to verify the conformity of all 'Regulated Products' exported to Kuwait.' These guidelines are diligently enforced and form the Kuwait Conformity Assurance Scheme (KUCAS). Exports to Kuwait of these products' Regulated Products require a Technical Evaluation Report (TER) and a Technical Inspection Report (TIR) to clear customs.
 
MOZAMBIQUE: Regulated goods (known as the Positive List) may be subject to pre-shipment inspection in the country of export before being allowed into Mozambique. Goods on the Positive List must comply with these regulations and be accompanied by a Documento Unico Certificado (DUC).

NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand shipments are restricted to wood packing. Find more about shipping freight from the USA to Australia concerning ISPM15 regulations in this link.

NIGERIA: Shipping freight from the USA to Nigeria requires an 'M Form' before departing. Find more about shipping to Nigeria in respect of the 'M Form' provided in this link. The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has implemented a strict set of guidelines for exports to Nigeria called the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP).

QATAR: Exports of vehicle spare parts, tires, and some electrical products to Qatar require a mandatory Certificate of Conformity for Customs clearance. Through the Qatar Ministry of Business and Trade – Department of Consumer Protection and the Qatar General Organization for Standards and Metrology (QGOSM), the Government of Qatar has issued strict rules regulating the import and sale of Vehicle Spare Parts and Vehicle Tyres.

RUSSIA, BELARUS, KAZAKHSTAN, ARMENIA, and KYRGYZSTAN: Compliance with Customs Union Technical Regulations is required when exporting to the Eurasian Economic Union - EAEU (former Customs Union). Member states are Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan. GOST certification systems for individual member states are gradually replaced by certification to the Customs Union Technical Regulations (CUTR).

TANZANIA: To assure Tanzanian consumers of the safety and quality of imported goods they buy and to protect Tanzanian manufacturers from unfair competition, the Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), a statutory organization of the government of Tanzania, implemented guidelines called the Pre-Shipment Verification of Conformity (PVoC) to Standards Programme.

SAUDI ARABIA: When shipping freight from the USA to Saudi Arabia, every package, carton, and box must be permanently marked, stating the Country of Origin. Find more about shipping to Saudi Arabia regarding the Country of Origin marked in this link. A Conformity Assessment Program has been implemented for all exports to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All products require a Certificate of Conformity, also called an SASO CoC, to be cleared through Saudi Customs.

SOUTH AFRICA: Shipping freight from the USA to South Africa is under certain restrictions. Find more about shipping to South Africa's rules in this link.

SPAIN: According to new security regulations, all shipments that go to/or are transshipped via EGYPT and SPAIN require a copy of the consignee's passport (or visa). Find more about shipping freight from the USA to/via Spain in this link.

UGANDA: Require a Certificate of Conformity for products regulated under the Uganda Pre-Export Verification of Conformity to Standards Programme (PVoC).

UNITED KINGDOM: Shipping freight from the USA to the UK requires ToR1 filing before departing. Exempts from filing ToR1 are commercial (B2B) shipments and shipments to the UK consigned to UK citizens. If a load to the UK is consigned to a UK citizen, then a copy of the consignee's UK passport must be provided before the shipment departs from the country of origin. Find more about shipping to the UNITED KINGDOM regarding ToR1 filing in this link

VIETNAM: All export shipments to Vietnam destinations require an HS code and Consignee Tax ID in all export documentation. Failure to provide this information will delay cargo from loading.

You may also want to check for updates from Intertek.com.

 

 
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