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Providing documentation to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) dictates the basis for all CBP decisions. Without complete and accurate information results in delay and added expenses. What are the documents usually involved in international trade?

The Invoice:
1. Provides the documents evidencing the commercial transaction.
2. Government agencies such as CBP, Food and Drug Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission use the invoice to determine importing compliance.
3. Special information may be required accompanying the invoice. For example, Footwear requires the following:

Footwear, classifiable in headings 6401 through 6405 of the HTSUS-
(1) Manufacturer’s style number.
(2) Importer’s style and/or stock number.
(3) Percent by area of external surface area of upper (excluding
reinforcements and accessories) which is:
Leather a._________%
Composition Leather b.__________%
Rubber and/or plastics. c. __________%
Textile materials d.__________%
Other (give separate percent for each type of material) e.__________%
f. ___________%

Certificates of Origin:
The certificates of origin are declarations as to where the imported goods are originating from.
1. Important for establishing preferential treatment for rates of duty if they come from a certain country e.g., Israel, Canada, and Mexico.
2. For certain programs if the certificate of origin is missing the goods may be seized.

Documents of Transportation and Title:
Bills of Lading (Water and Ground Shipping) and Air Waybills (Air Shipping) are the documents under which goods are transported.
1. They are contracts! Thus, they list the terms and liabilities for goods that are damaged during shipment.
2. They evidence the right to delivery or possession of goods.
3. They evidence the right to make a CBP entry into the U.S.

Export Licenses
Export Licenses provide that government authorizations to export certain types of products to a specific country. Highly technological goods such as electronics or military products generally require a validated license.

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