Export and Import Expertise

1324 E 2nd St.
Muscatine, IA, 52761, USA
2765 Boulevard du mono 06 BP: 62048
Lome, Togo, Africa
+228 90 155 155

Mon – Sat: 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 12 pm – 5 pm

What Is A Customs Invoice

Jun 30, 2022International Trade Logistics

What Is A Customs Invoice?

A customs invoice is a document that importers and exporters use to declare the value of goods for customs clearance. The mandatory information on the customs invoice is essential for clearing customs in the receiving country. Customs authorities use the customs invoice to assess duties and taxes, if any, on the incoming cross-border shipment.

Why is a Customs Invoice Important?

A customs invoice is a document that summarizes the contents of a freight shipment. Customs authorities use this paperwork to determine if a shipment is allowed to enter the receiving country, and to assess any duties or taxes that may be levied on the specified goods. In effect, the customs invoice is the most important document for obtaining customs clearance of any goods. Customs invoices also allow businesses to ship and receive goods across borders, even if there is no history of working together.

What is a Customs Invoice Used for?

Customs invoices are necessary to help ensure the smooth passage of goods through customs. An accurate and complete customs invoice can help customs authorities determine which taxes and import duties apply to a particular shipment, facilitating trade and preventing delays. Customs officials can also use the information on the invoice to determine whether the freight complies with all mandatory rules and regulations.

What details are required on a Customs Invoice?

The customs invoice must include the following information:

-The place and time when the merchandise was sold

-The name, address, contact information, and tax identification number of the seller

-The name, address, contact information, and tax identification number of the buyer

-The name, address, contact information, and tax identification number of the ship-to party if different from the buyer

-A detailed description of the merchandise that includes the Harmonized System (HS) number, the name by which each item in the shipment is known, the grade/quality of the items, the numbers/symbols associated with the items, country of origin, country of shipment, quantity, price per unit, and the relevant trade terms

-A signature from the person responsible for the shipment, as well as the title of the signor and the date of signing

The customs authorities may also require additional certifications and statements, depending on the country of origin, the destination of the goods, the mode of payment, and other relevant laws and regulations.

How do I fill out a Customs Invoice?

The Customs Invoice must include the following information:

-The name and full address of the shipping company

-A relevant contact name, contact information, and tax identification number for both the shipper and the recipient

-The buyer’s name, address, and contact information (if different than the recipient’s)

-The buyer’s tax identification number (if known)

-A reference or invoice number for the shipment

-The date the order was placed and the shipping date

-Details of the contents of the shipment, including the name of the product, its use, its value, and the details of the materials used (so that its fragility, toxicity, size, and weight can be determined)

-Serial numbers for the products being shipped (if any)

After verifying all the information on the Customs Invoice, sign the form before presenting it to customs authorities.

Where is a Customs Invoice attached?

Customs invoices are an essential component in international trade. The sender must print and attach the customs invoice and shipping label to the package before it is handed to the shipping company or courier agency.

It is best practice to print three copies of the invoice, as customs authorities are likely to take one away during transit. It is also a good idea to slip an extra copy of the invoice inside the package, in case the original becomes lost or damaged during transit.

The customs invoice must be fastened to the exterior of the parcel. This will allow customs authorities to check the contents and determine the value of the goods, so they can calculate any taxes that need to be levied.

A documents-enclosed pouch is the best way to display the customs invoice on a package. Using a clear plastic wallet or envelope is also a good idea. Just make sure it is taped down securely, so the documents don’t move while in transit.

Standard envelopes that are taped down to the side of the package with ‘Customs’ written on the outside of the envelope are also an accepted and permitted practice. However, you must make sure the taped document does not obstruct any barcodes on the shipping label.

Customs Invoice vs Commercial Invoice

A customs invoice is a document that enables the import and export of goods. Customs invoices are used by businesses to help clear cross-border shipments through customs. Customs invoices may look similar to commercial invoices, with the only difference being a label such as ‘Pro Forma’ or ‘Customs’ affixed to the document. The main difference between commercial invoices and customs invoices is the type of businesses that use them and the purpose for which they are used. Customs invoices are primarily used for shipments going through customs, while commercial invoices may be used for other purposes such as domestic shipping or business-to-business transactions.

Customs invoices are documents that outline the value of goods being shipped from one country to another. They serve as a finalizing document for high-value transactions and may incur extra costs while in transit. Customs invoices are similar to commercial invoices, but may also contain additional information about the shipment, such as restrictions or duties that may be due. Customs agents use customs invoices to determine if duty and taxes are owed on a shipment, and whether or not the shipment is permitted in the country. Large importers and exporters may sometimes use a commercial invoice instead of a customs invoice if the goods being shipped differ from what is listed on the invoice.

A commercial invoice is a document used by customs authorities to assess the duty and taxes owed on a shipment. The invoice includes information such as the price of the item, its HS Code, its value, and the quantity sold. Commercial invoices are used for shipments where the customer has already paid for the goods in advance.


Do I require a customs invoice for documents?

When shipping internationally, you will need to fill out the relevant shipping documents. In most cases, a customs invoice is not required for documents.

Do I need a customs invoice for returns?

Yes. If you are returning goods back to the country of origin, you will need to provide a customs invoice in order to facilitate the return of your shipment. Customs invoices can be obtained from your local post office or online through a shipping company.

Do I need a customs invoice for personal items?

If you are shipping personal items, you will need to create a customs invoice. This document is important in order to determine the value of the items for insurance purposes, as well as to list the contents of the shipment. Customs invoices are typically required for any type of commercial shipment, but may also be requested for personal shipments by some Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.


Latest News


1324 E 2nd St, Muscatine, IA 52761

(563) 277-8002

Looking for an export or import solution?

We can help!

Partnership Opportunities

Collobrate with us as a Operational Partner, Leadership Partner or Financial Partner

We are proud to work with corporations, foundations, governments and the media from around the world to support our work.  Partners help deepen our impact and expand the breadth of our work.  We help our customers to build new businesses and find solutions to global challenges through trade.  Partnering with us allows you to create sustainable business opportunities and get involved in international innovation networks.

Have an Idea?

Reach out today!


1324 E 2nd St, Muscatine, IA 52761

(563) 277-8002

Looking for an export or import solution?

We can help!

Looking to invest worldwide?Let us help you find opportunities!
Follow by Email


Click one of our representatives below to chat on WhatsApp or send us an email to [email protected]

× Connect on WhatsApp