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HomeGuest ArticleOverseas Shipping: The Required Forms

Overseas Shipping: The Required Forms

This is a guest post written by Nisha Sharma who is a freelance writer, on behalf of http://www.premier-international-movers.co.uk..

Businesses that are globally expanding, families with loved ones abroad in the military and self-employed individuals who offer their products internationally are a few of those who use overseas shipping as a means to transport goods and merchandise. Overseas shipping is not as easy as placing a package on a meter to determine the cost and adding postage to the package before sending it to be shipped off; however, it does not necessarily have to be a difficult process. One important factor that will assist in a smooth process of overseas shipping is knowing which forms must be completed.

The required forms for shipping abroad depends largely on what is being shipped, where it is being shipped from, where it is being shipped to. Some forms are optional in some countries but required in others. Some forms only need to be accompanied with certain kinds of shipments. And some forms are required to be completed and presented before the shipping process while others are required after the shipment has reached its destination. Each form serves its own purpose.

There are, however, certain forms that are required for all overseas shipments. One such form is known as a Bill of Lading. A Bill of Lading serves two purposes. It documents the type and quantity of the shipment, and it serves as a receipt to verify that the shipment has reached its destination.

Some Bills of Lading are country specific. Country specific Bills of Lading are required for some shipments between certain countries. For example, shipments from the United States to Mexico need to be accompanied by a completed Mexico Bill of Lading. Similarly, shipments from Canada to the United States require a Canada Bill of Laden. Bills of Laden that are not country specific are known as Uniform Straight, or Straight, Bills of Lading, which are universal across all other borders.

Another form that is necessary for all international shipments is a Commercial Invoice. This form serves as a bill of sale between the buyer and the seller of the product being shipped. It is used by governments to regulate imports and calculate tariffs. Some of the information provided on a Commercial Invoice includes a full product description and its intended use, the commercial value of the product and the country in which the product was produced or manufactured.

A Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) is a governmental form that needs to be completed in order to track and record export statistics. It is used for shipments in which the value of the contents exceeds $2,500 and all shipments that require an export license.

A form that is not required but strongly recommended for overseas shipping is the NAFTA Certificate of Origin. It is typically used for shipments between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its purpose is to determine if imported shipments qualify for reduced or eliminated tariff obligations. The primary prerequisite of these shipments is that they must be entirely obtained or produced in one or more of the three North American countries.

Other forms used for international shipments are either optional or only required under certain conditions, such as Power of Attorney, packing slips and a Letter of Authority for Blind Shipments.

All of the required documents are mandated by all governments in order to monitor and control the traffic of merchandise across international borders. In order to assure efficient overseas shipping, all forms must be properly completed with accurate information. Missing, incomplete, or inaccurate forms or information could result in a delay in the shipping process and possibly lost or damaged merchandise.

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  1. Hello Dear,

    I am waiting for my merchandise coming from China(Saler country) so I asked the saler to send me Manufacture’s letter
    • Certificate of origin
    • Packing list
    • Certificate CE and ISO
    • Declaration of conformity
    He comes back telling me that he will send all documents after the shipping.

    why insisting after the shipping ??!!

  2. Good article and very clear. Many thanks. I would lilke to know how about shipments from UE to USA… I supose some particulars papers have to be complete before shipment effected. I’d appreciate some clarification on this matter. Thanks beforehands


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