Definitive Guide on Preparing Export Documentation 

Preparing export documentation in advance is always a better idea to make your export procedure smooth and hassle-free. This detailed guide on preparing export documentation will help you in going through the export procedures swiftly. 

Step-by-step Guide For Export Documentation 

Here is a simple procedure you need to follow while preparing shipping documentation :

Step 1: Receiving an Inquiry

This is the very first step in the export documentation procedure. When a potential buyer wishes to purchase your products, he will send a letter of inquiry consisting of all the requirements, terms and conditions along with a request for a quote. 

Step 2: Screening the Potential Buyer and His Location 

Once you have got the letter of inquiry, the next step is to make sure that the buyer is legit and it is safe to make a deal with him. You can easily do this by going through their personal details and matching them against the list published by the government. Alternatively, you can also take help from a screening software or service. 

Step 3: Offering a Proforma Invoice

Once screening is done and everything comes out to be good, you can proceed by sending a proforma invoice. A proforma invoice is an informal document that contains the estimate of the products along with the details and price. It acts as a raw invoice so make sure to do it right. 

Step 4: Finalizing the Sale

After receiving the proforma invoice, your buyer will either accept or reject your proposal. Also, this is the time when negotiations take place. If this happens, create a written contract and get it signed by both parties. Further, the contract should clearly outline all the terms and conditions and the agreed price. 

Step 5: Preparing the Goods and the Export Documents

Commercial Invoice

Once the sale has been finalized and you’ve prepared your goods, the next step is to prepare the necessary export documents. These include a minimum of three copies of the Invoice along with the following documents.

Packing List

A packing list should outline the information about the items, the shipments, packaging details and the numbers/codes marked outside the boxes. This list is used by the carrier, freight forwarder as well as consignee. 

Certificate of Origin

The certificate of origin is a document that serves as proof that the goods originated in the country mentioned in the certificate, package list or commercial invoice. 

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction of SLI provides details to your company such as who received the export documents, who issued the shipping control information, who to ask queries regarding the shipment, etc. 

Bills of Lading

At least one bill of lading is a must in your shipping documents. If necessary, you may also need to attach several bills of lading. [Learn more here:]

Step 6: Running a Restricted Party Screening

Before the goods are shipped, you should run a restricted party screening test again to make sure that nothing is denied or changed by the restricted party. 

Step 7: Preparing Miscellaneous Forms and Shipping Your Goods

There can be a few other documents you might need to prepare before dispatching your goods for export. Identify these documents and prepare them carefully. 

Once these documents are prepared and all the steps have been followed, you can go ahead and ship your goods. 

These are the few simple steps you need to follow to prepare your export documents and ship your goods to the desired location. But here is one additional tip, don’t forget to keep copies of all these documents you’ve prepared. It will help you in maintaining the record of the deal and will also help in case any document goes missing in the procedure.