Commercial invoices

A commercial invoice must be used when the goods shipped reflect a commercial transaction (i.e. the goods have been purchased by the receiver), and are for permanent export. The invoice must be in English unless otherwise stated by the destination country. A commercial invoice is not required for goods shipped within the EU.

A commercial invoice must contain the following information:

  • Full name and postal address of the seller and the buyer with contact details
  • Number and date of issue of commercial invoice and the number of the order for the goods
  • Marks, numbers, kind and gross weight of packages
  • Trade description of goods in plain language and in sufficient detail
  • Quantity of the goods expressed in units normal in trade and their gross and net weight
  • Price of goods (article specific unit price and total price of the consignment) and currency
  • Discounts and grounds therefore; additional charges (i.e. insurance), if any – the discounts and additional charges should be indicated in the invoice only if they are mentioned and are fixed in the contract, otherwise, it will be difficult to confirm the prices indicated in the invoice
  • Terms (Incoterms® 2010 Rules) time and mode of delivery as well as terms, time and mode of payment
  • Country of origin of the goods (manufacturer name is not obligatory, but helpful)
  • Transport route and means of transport used
  • Reference to sales contract number and date
  • A minimum of two original signed copies of the invoice is required, but this may increase depending on destination country.
  • The full value of the shipment including goods, insurance, shipping/freight charges plus any additional relevant charges must be declared

Important Information:

Description of Goods
More detail is required than ever before and broad generic trade descriptions (like machine parts) are no longer sufficient. Descriptions must indicate what it is, what it’s made of, what it’s used for and how many there are.

NOTE: DHL imports department can provide a list of unacceptable descriptions if required.

Harmonised Tariff Codes (HTC)
The Harmonised System covers 98% of world trade and provides a product with an identification code that is used around the world. This HTC is used to determine the duty and taxes at destination.

NOTE: Incorrect tariff codes will either cause delays or mean the wrong duty is applied.

Commerical Invoice