One question we often hear from people thinking about importing goods from abroad is about documentation. It’s so essential to have all your documents filled out and taken care of so your shipment can sail through customs and safely reach its destination in a timely manner. As always, we’re happy to answer all your questions about the import and export process. Feel free to give us a call at 1-310-322-3228 or email William@cciusa.net anytime. Put our expertise to work for you – that’s what we’re here for!
So, now to address the question at hand: What documents are required for import shipments?
Well, the most basic documents that you will need to have filled out perfectly are:
- Commercial invoice
- Packing list
- Copy of the airway bill or ocean bill of lading
In addition, you should be aware that a copy of the commercial invoice must be included in your shipment. It must be filled out in detail and much include the sellers/buyers name and address, a thorough description of the merchandise included, incoterm, value, as well as its country of origin. Depending on what’s included in your shipment, certain types of merchandise require special invoices or additional invoice details. Examples of these special kinds of merchandise include footwear, wearing apparel, bearings, and other.
How about insurance?
Another key question we often receive from potential importers is about insurance. There’s no doubt that insurance coverage can add an extra expense to your shipment – but in our professional opinion, it’s definitely worth it in most instances for your peace of mind. While it’s not required to import or export items, you should carefully consider your potential for deep losses. All carriers limit their liability in terms of carriage, so you could be on the hook for a lot of money if something were to happen along the way. Generally, trucking companies and customs brokers limit their liability to $50 per shipment, ocean carriers to $500 per shipment, and air carriers to $20 per kilo. Insurance rates are relatively low, so make sure you consider adding insurance coverage to your import or export shipment. We recommend requesting insurance quotes in writing from your broker or forwarder before importing or exporting items.
What do I need to know about bonds?
In most cases, only shipments valued at over $2500 USD will need an entry bond. CBP can always require a formal entry with bond, no matter what the value of the shipment may be. Some items may be subject to other government agencies. Food items and drugs require a bond for 3x the value of the shipment, for instance. If your commercial shipment is arriving via ocean and is valued at over $2500, you’ll need to post a separate bond for your ISF-Importers Security Filing. Or you can simply file a continuous bond to cover all of your shipments for a one year period.
Not sure what to do?
Let the experts at Customs Clearance Intl. make your entire import (or export) process a breeze. We’ll take care of all the details and answer all your questions each step of the way. Call us at 1-310-322-3228.