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How to Complete a Commercial Invoice

Introduction

A commercial invoice acts as a proof of sale for customs agents and other regulators tasked with collecting taxes, duties, surcharges and fees. Completing a commercial invoice properly and with all the required information is the best way to ensure a parcel is delivered on time.
The commercial invoice contains important information about a shipment like details of the buyer and seller, consignees, description and value of goods among others.

ShipHub™ is SPL Group’s proprietary software that offers our customers an easy, efficient way of filling out the commercial invoice form.

  • Value – The true market price of the goods being shipped.
  • Description – a detailed description of the contents of the parcel
    • What item/s are in the parcel
    • List multiple items separately (shirts and pants)
    • What materials the contents of the parcel are made of
    • The intended use – commercial or consumer goods.
  • Bill To – party responsible for paying for the shipment. This can be either the sender, the consignee, or a third party.
  • Package Remarks – shipping/delivery instructions or notes to customs agents when applicable.
  • EEI Number – Electronic Export Information number. Prior to shipping, the sender should acquire the Schedule B number for the goods they intend to export. The Schedule B number must be reported in the Automated Export System (AES) to identify the goods being exported.
  • Under the “Declare Customs Value” title, click “Add Item”.
  • HS Code – Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System. It is an internationally accepted sequence of numbers given for each individual item. Most governments have a website where you can look up the six-digit code for classifying globally-traded products used to identify duty and tax rates (e.g. Saffron 091020): https://hts.usitc.gov/
  • On the “Add Declared Item” page, fill in the ECCN (Electronic Control Classification Number) – The ECCN is a five character identifier issued by the Department of Commerce for certain items set to be exported. If the item has an ECCN, an export license issued by DoC is required. Not every product set to be exported from the US has an ECCN.

If the ECCN number corresponding to your item appears on the government’s Commerce Control List, you will need a special license to export your goods outside of the U.S. If your item does not apply to an ECCN it should be designated as EAR99.
How to determine your ECCN Number

  • Country – Use the drop down menu to find and click on the country where the product is being shipped.
  • Total Weight – The total weight of the item and packaging combined.
  • Quantity – list total amount of items in the parcel.
  • Unit – list how many units of each item is in the parcel.
  • Val./Unit – list the market price of the goods in your shipment according to the currency used for purchase. If customs request proof that the stated value corresponds to the actual price, you may be asked to provide evidence of the amount listed.

Additional Tips for Filling out the Commercial Invoice

  • Make sure the information on the commercial invoice is identical to data appearing on the Airway Waybill.
  • Include three copies of the commercial invoice (original + two copies) with the shipment.

Where should the form be attached?

Once you have printed the invoice, attach the commercial invoice to the package with the shipping label. This will make it easier for couriers to see it.

If you are shipping your package in a cardboard box, attach the document with the help of a protective cover or packing tape. When using packing tape, tape all four sides of the document to ensure it’s securely fastened.

→ Possible issues resulting in failing to fill out a commercial invoice

You are legally required to fill out the commercial invoice and failure to do so may result in lengthy shipping delays. Providing false information on the form may result in the underpayment of local duties and taxes, possibly followed by legal complications.

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