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Types of documents an importer should submit for customs clearance

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In clearing imports across the custom barriers, relevant documentation plays a significant role. The availability of the correct documents, the accuracy of the details filled in the documents and the aptness in submitting the documents to the customs department defines the efficiency of the entire customs clearance process. The non-availability or delays in filing of relevant documents can prolong the clearance process which means the importer stands to incur liquidated charges for contravening the lay time on the imported cargo. So what are the documents that an importer should submit to the customs department?

Commercial invoice

This document outlines the description of the import cargo and reflects the overall cost. Customs evaluation is normally based on the rates shown on the commercial invoice. Moreover, the customs clearance office can also choose to verify the prices effected on the commercial invoice and may raise queries with the prices applied in case there's reason to believe that the prices charged do not conform to the international market rates, or the bill statement is under-valued to evade custom duties.

Packing list

It serves to identify the packages as belonging to the specific consignment under the supposed invoice. The information about the number of packages in the consignment, their sizes, the shipping marks, both the gross and net weight of respective packages as well as the number of units enclosed in each package is classified in the style of packing list.

Certificate of origin

Particular bilateral agreements would enjoy cost-effective tariffs for import levies. In such cases, when the shipment is shipped from such member countries, the entitled Export Agency grants certificate of origin to the shipper or importer for submission to the customs department. On the basis of this certificate, the customs office of the importing country categorizes the shipment under particular schedule.

Bill of lading

This is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper or importer of a particular cargo describing the type, volume, and the port of destination. Thus, the bill of lading acts as evidence of receipt of the shipment by the shipping company mandating him to transport the cargo to the consignee. It confirms the transportation agreement and identifies the owner of the cargo. This legal document should always accompany the shipment, regardless of the mode of transportation, and should be signed by the shipment company, the importer and an authorized representative at the customs clearance department.