Important Information

DOCUMENTS NEEDED FOR CUSTOMS CLEARANCE

COMMERCIAL INVOICE

Each commercial invoice should include the following information:

  1. The port of entry where merchandise is to be shipped.
  2. The date of purchase and the address of the purchaser and/or consignee if consignee is different from purchaser.
  3. A detailed description of the merchandise including the name of each item, quantity and marks/numbers on each item. The marks and number of packages should also be noted.
  4. The weight and measure, either in metrics or U.S. system of measurement.
  5. The price of each item in the currency of purchase. This should be a fair market value.
  6. Type of currency used in transaction.
  7. All additional charges such as commission, insurance, freight and packing should be shown.
  8. All discounts, itemized separately, that have been granted by the shipper.
  9. The invoice should be in English, or an English translation must be provided by the consignee.
  10. Invoice should be signed by either the shipper or his agent.
  11. Country of origin must be on the invoice.

PACKING LIST
A packing list should state in adequate detail the contents of each package. A packing list is essential when a shipment consists of more than one package.

CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN - FORM A
The Certificate of Origin allows duty-free entry of certain items being shipped from developing countries. Only those countries appearing on the list provided under the Generalized Systems of Preference (GSP), are eligible. This document should be presented at the time of Customs clearance in order to receive the benefits of this provision.

CARIBBEAN BASIN INITIATIVE, ISRAELI FREE TRADE ACT, AND NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
A Certificate of Origin is required as proof of the country of manufacture, for all programs. Please note that not all commodities qualify and eligibility should be verified prior to importation of goods.

AIR SHIPMENTS
The following documents should be attached to the air waybill, enabling timely (within 24-48 hours) Customs clearance:

  1. Commercial Invoice - 3 copies
  2. Packing List - 3 Copies
  3. Certificate of Origin (if eligible) - The original must be provided In order to expedite Customs clearance, you may choose to indicate your Broker as the notify party on the air waybill.

OCEAN SHIPMENTS
The following documents should be received by your Customs broker prior to the shipment's arrival:

  1. Original Bill of Lading and Copies
  2. Commercial Invoice - 3 Copies
  3. Packing List - 3 Copies
  4. Certificate of Origin (if eligible)

LETTER OF CREDIT SHIPMENTS
In the case of shipments made against a Letter of Credit, the original documents will be sent to your bank for processing. It will then be necessary for you to obtain these documents from the bank prior to Customs clearance. In the case of any air shipment consigned to the bank, a Bank Release must be issued to the airline carrying the goods.

If you have questions regarding documentation, please feel free to call anytime.

PRE-SHIPMENT CHECKLIST
The following is a list of questions that you as the importer should ask yourself when preparing to purchase/receive merchandise from a foreign country.

  1. HAVE I OBTAINED A LETTER OF CREDIT THROUGH MY INTERNA-TIONAL BANKER? (If this is the terms of purchase)
  2. DOES OUR SHIPPER HAVE A LIST OF THE DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR CUSTOMS CLEARANCE IN THE U.S.
  3. HAVE I RESEARCHED ALL THE IMPORT COSTS I CAN EXPECTTO INCUR? (Freight, insurance, brokerage, duty)
  4. ARE ANY LICENSES/PERMITS REQUIRED FOR THE MERCHANDISE BEING IMPORTED? (Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, State Department, Food & Drug, Fish & Wildlife)
  5. DO I HAVE A CUSTOMS BROKER WHO CAN ASSIST ME IN THE IMPORTATION AND CUSTOMS CLEARANCE OF MY MERCHANDISE?

SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR SUPPLIER

FOR FASTER CUSTOMS CLEARANCE:

  1. Include all information required on your customs invoices.
  2. Prepare your invoices carefully. Type them clearly. Allow sufficient space between line items. Keep the data within each column.
  3. Make sure that your invoices contain the information that would be shown on a well-prepared packing list.
  4. Mark and number each package so that it can be identified with the marks and numbers appearing on your invoice.
  5. Show on your invoice a detailed description of each item contained in each individual package.
  6. Mark your goods legibly and conspicuously with the name of the country of origin, unless they are specifically exempted from the country of origin marking requirements, and with such other marking as required by the marking laws of the United States.
  7. Comply with the provisions of any special laws of the United States which may apply to your goods, such as the laws relating to foods, drugs, cosmetics, alcoholic beverages, and radioactive materials.
  8. Observe closely the instructions with respect to invoicing, packaging, marking, labeling, etc., sent to you by your customer in the United States.  He has probably made a careful check of the requirements which will have to be met when your goods arrive.