Customs Clearance: Basic Documents You Need to Get Ready

Customs Clearance: Basic Documents You Need to Get Ready

Just like you can’t move from one country to another without authorized access, you can’t move your products across borders in unauthorized ways as well. 

Whenever you export or import products across international borders, you have to get permission from the related customs authorities of both countries. 

You also have to show them what you are exporting and importing, so as to make sure you are not exporting or importing anything illegal or banned in the country. 

The customs clearance authorities give shippers documents that authorize them to carry out their exports or imports. 

Required Documents

You must have a customs declaration document for your shipment to be allowed to cross international borders. Clearit USA customs clearance services can be extremely helpful in this regard because it would be impossible for you to manage all the documents on your own. 

The following are some of the main documents you must have:

  • Export and Import License

You must have a license in order to be allowed to move goods freely across international borders. All export and import licenses are not the same because they depend on the nature of your goods. Sometimes the license may also authorize you to import restricted goods. 

  • Pro Forma Invoice

You must also attach the pro forma invoice along with the documents. This is to make sure there is a legitimate agreement between all the parties involved in the transactions. 

Some countries even use pro forma invoices as alternatives to commercial invoices. This information is and can be used to determine taxes and duties as well. 

  • Customs Packing List

This is a list of all the products and goods that are included in a shipment. The main purpose of the customs packaging list is to help transportation companies in tracking your shipments. 

  • Country of Origin

You have to show the customs clearance authorities where you are exporting goods to and from where you are importing goods. This goes for all products whether they are manufactured, processed products, or any other items. 

  • Commercial Invoice 

Commercial invoices provide proof between parties. Usually, it contains the following information:

  • Your name and address
  • Receiver’s name and address 
  • Addresses 
  • Customer reference number
  • Volume of goods
  • Weight of goods
  • The number and date of the invoice
  • Currency of payment for the goods
  • Description of goods
  • The unit price of the goods
  • Mode of shipment
  • Freight insurance details
  • Tax identification numbers 
  • Certifications

There are also many other documents that you must have, but the mentioned ones are the basic ones that you must keep ready. 


Documentation is crucial to customs clearance. If your documentation is incomplete, you may be fined, and your delivery may get delayed. In some cases, the customs clearance will hold your goods and you would also have to pay the holding price. So, make sure your documents are 100% accurate.