What is a commercial invoice?

For all international shipments, commercial invoices are required to be attached to the shipment in order for it to clear the export and import process. Often times they are used for foreign exchange reasons. Import duties and taxes are assessed after reviewing the commercial invoice.

What if I don’t attach one to my package?

Unfortunately, shipments without a commercial invoice will likely be “returned to sender” as this is a required document. At I’d Ship That, we are often contacted by the carrier when such documents are missing and can sometimes resolve the issue and restore deliverability. That being said, it is always a good idea to attach both the shipping label and commercial invoice to the outside of the parcel.

Why are there multiple copies of the commercial invoice for my shipment?

You may run into the situation where there are up to 3 pages of commercial invoice for your shipment- this is often the case with UPS packages. In this case, it is recommended to print out all 3 pages single sided in a commercial invoice envelope affixed to the outside of the package. As the package makes it’s journey, the copies of the commericial invoice may be retained for documentation purposes. Ultimately, this is why all 3 copies should be affixed in a easy-to-remove fashion for such shipments.

Cover art provided courtesy of:
İlteriş Yağıztegin Eroğlu, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons