What is 'Commercial Invoice' and how does it look like? ( I/V )

A commercial invoice is a document used in foreign trade. It is used as a customs declaration provided by the person or corporation that is exporting an item across international borders. Although there is no standard format, the document must include a few specific pieces of information such as the parties involved in the shipping transaction, the goods being transported, the country of manufacture, and the Harmonized System codes for those goods. A commercial invoice must also include a statement certifying that the invoice is true, and a signature.

A commercial invoice is used to calculate tariffs, international commercial terms (like the Cost in a CIF) and is commonly used for customs purposes.

Commercial invoices are in European countries not normally for payment. The definitive invoice for payment usually has only the words "invoice". This invoice can also be used as a commercial invoice if additional information is disclosed.

What should the commercial invoice look like?

Here the following details should appear in the commercial invoice:
  • The document title should clearly state "Commercial Invoice"
  • The name of the exporter (referred to as the shipper) and their contact details (tel, fax, cell, e-mail), including physical (not postal) address
  • The name of the importer (referred to as the consignee, meaning the person or firm to whom the goods are to be sent) and their contact details (tel, fax, cell, e-mail), including physical (not postal) address (In the case of transshipment, there may be an intermediate consignee and their contact details and address should then also be included on the invoice.)
  • If the person or firm buying the goods (the importer) is not the same as the person or firm to whom the goods are being sent, then you should include both their contact details and addresses in the commercial invoice
  • The name of the person and company to notify once shipment has taken place and their contact details and physical address (here the contact details such as telephone, fax and cell number and e-mail address are more important than the physical address)
  • A commercial invoice reference number
  • A carrier tracking number
  • A purchase order number or similar reference to correspondence between the supplier and importer
  • The date of issue of the commercial invoice
  • A complete, detailed and clear description of the goods in question, incorporating the appropriate HS codes and brandmarks if applicable (here the importer may ask you to remove these codes as they may not be the same in the importing country and may thus incur additional or higher duties to the importer's detriment because of their inadvertent misuse)
  • The quantity of goods in question, including the number of units/items
  • The packing details unless provided in a separate packing list, including their external dimensions, cubic capacity, weight, numbers and contents of each package shipped, and kinds of packaging involved (pallets, boxes, bags, etc.) - if a separate packing list is used, reference should be made in the commercial invoice to the packing list
  • The grand total price of the goods for the whole consignment
  • Where applicable, the unit prices should be indicated - the unit price multipled by the number of units/items should be reflected in the line total. The various line totals (in the case where different items are included in the same commercial invoice, or where additional services are itemised in the invoice), should add up to the total price for the whole consignment (also referred to as the 'Grand Total')
  • The currency in which the goods will be sold (e.g. US dollars or rands)
  • The type and amount of any discount given, where applicable
  • The likely delivery schedule and delivery terms
  • The payment methods (for example cash in advance, documentary collection, L/C, etc.)
  • The payment terms (for example 30 days on sight)
  • The Incoterms ( Term of Trade by International Chamber of Commerce) be used (Incoterms - EXW.(Ex works), FOB (Free on Board), FAS (Free Along Side), FCA (Free Carrier), CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight), CFR (Cost and Frieght), DDP (Delivery Duty Paid), DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid) etc.
  • Who is responsible for the banking fees and other related costs (insurance and freight costs are covered by the incoterms in question)
  • What the freight and insurance charges are
  • The exporter's banking details
  • A declaration of the country of origin of the goods
  • The expected country of final destination
  • Any freight details such as the port of loading and discharge
  • Any additional exporter-provided services that should be added to the invoice to come to the grand total
  • Any transhipment requirements
  • The validity of the commercial invoice - that is, when does the offer expire (leaving it open-ended could be very risky)
  • Reason of export
  • Type of export
  • Any other information relevant to the order
  • Make sure the commercial invoice is signed, together with the signature's name written underneath, with initials, title and position
ใบเรียกเก็บเงินทางการค้า (commercial invoice)

(I/V) เป็นเอกสารสำหรับประกอบการส่งออก ออกโดย ผู้ขายสินค้า เพื่อใช้ตรวจสอบว่าสินค้ารายการใดต้องมีการชำระเงินและมีความจำเป็นในการนำสินค้าผ่านด่านต่างๆ ซึ่งในใบเรียกเก็บเงินทางการค้านี้ (i/v) จะประกอบไปด้วยรายละเอียดเกี่ยวกับสินค้า ผู้ขาย ผู้ส่ง ราคาสินค้า เงื่อนไขการชำระเงิน เป็นต้น