Create Accurate Documentation

UPS uses your import and export documents to properly declare your shipment to customs in both the country of export and the country of import.

For shipments between member nations of the European Union, no export documentation is required to clear customs when the goods shipped are in free circulation. For goods that are not in free circulation, you will need to complete and include a commercial invoice.

First, answer the following questions about your shipment. These answers will help you create accurate documentation.

Is the commodity you're shipping listed in the country profile as a document?

Whenever you ship internationally, you should always begin by determining if the item you're shipping is a document, or not.

Although the question seems straightforward, different countries classify documents differently, and those classifications can be confusing.

Example: In some cases, blank CD-ROMS are treated as non-documents, while those containing data are considered documents. In others, five or fewer brochures are classified as documents, while a shipment of more than five brochures is classified as non-document.

Generally, a commodity which is typed, written, or printed matter with no commercial value is treated as a document. Typically, this type of commodity does not require an invoice.

If the commodity you're shipping is part of a commercial transaction, or has commercial value, it may be considered a non-document, thus requiring an invoice.

To be sure about your commodity's classification, check the country-specific documentation checklist within Import/Export Country Regulations section prior to creating the international forms for your shipment. Classifications differ among countries, so always check.

Go to Country Regulations to Learn if Your Shipment is a Document

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Does the commodity you're shipping have any country-specific documentation stipulations?

Regulations and requirements for documentation for individual commodities vary from country to country. It is essential to review commodity-specific documentation stipulations for both the country of origin and the country of destination.

Example: When shipping books to Brazil that are not for resale, the invoice and waybill must describe the shipment as "books" only, and state that the shipment is "not for resale" or that it has "no commercial value-value for Customs purposes". Otherwise, duties and taxes will be assessed.

You can find Commodity-Specific Stipulations by country within Import/Export Country Regulations section.

Find Commodity-Specific Documentation Stipulations

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Does the commodity you're shipping require any special clearance requirements in the origin or destination country?

Depending on the commodity and its use, special licensing and notations upon accompanying documentation may be required.

Example: When shipping samples to Brazil, the invoice must show "sample without value". Additionally, duties of 60% and VAT of 18% will be paid.

You can find Special Clearance Requirements by country within Import/Export Country Regulations section.

Determine if Your Commodity Has Specific Clearance Requirements

Create International Forms for Export

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Get Help with International Forms

UPS can recommend which forms you need based on a few simple criteria. Forms can be completed online or printed.

See Which Forms You Need

Select the link below to view a detailed explanation about each of the four most common international forms.

View Forms Details