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Cross-border E-commerceNov 9, 2023
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Understanding and Utilizing Invoices in International Shipping

Understanding and Utilizing Invoices in International Shipping

One essential document required for trade and business transactions with foreign countries is the invoice. If you are involved in a job that entails sourcing products from abroad or selling products overseas, you will inevitably encounter this document. Therefore, it's important to have at least a basic understanding of its meaning, types, and necessary details to be included.

The Role of Invoices in International Shipping

Invoices are essential documents in international trade, serving as detailed lists of goods, bills, delivery notes, and transport documents. They play a crucial role in customs procedures, providing detailed information about the products, quantities, prices, and destinations. This information is used for assessing goods and calculating tariffs at customs.

Types and Characteristics of Invoices

  1. Proforma Invoice: Acts as a quotation, provided before the finalization of a sale. It is not an official invoice and is subject to price changes, thus considered a provisional document.

  2. Commercial Invoice: Functions as an official bill and is the most important type of invoice. It is used for tariff calculations in customs and requires accurate details.

  3. Shipping Invoice: Serves as a delivery note, used for shipment notifications and freight charges, but not for official declarations.

  4. Customs Invoice: Created for customs, necessary for determining taxable value. In some countries, submitting this invoice is mandatory for imports.

Essential Elements of an Invoice

  1. Sender and Recipient Information: Includes names, addresses, phone numbers, country names, and sometimes email addresses or tax numbers.

  2. Invoice Date and Place of Issue: The date and country of issuance are noted.

  3. Parcel or EMS Label Number: Label numbers according to the method of transportation are included.

  4. Shipping Method: Methods like 'EMS' or 'International Mail' are specified.

  5. Item Name, Weight, Quantity, Unit Price, Total Amount: Detailed product information is provided.

  6. Currency: The currency used in the transaction is noted (e.g., JPY, USD).

  7. Total Number of Items, Total Weight, Country of Origin: The total number of items, weight, and country of origin of the goods are listed.

  8. Signature: The signature of the person who prepared the invoice is required.

Points to Note When Creating an Invoice

  1. Create in the Language Used in the Destination Country: Invoices should be prepared in the language of the destination country or in English or French.

  2. Follow the Rules of Exporting and Importing Countries: Prepare invoices according to the regulations of each country and check the import and export restrictions for specific goods.

Summary

Invoices are essential documents in international shipping and cross-border e-commerce. Accurate documentation and understanding are crucial for smooth international transactions. It's important to be aware of the types of invoices, necessary details, and points to note when creating them.


Handling post-purchase shipping tasks, such as filling out invoices, is a significant challenge for businesses, involving considerable effort and resources. Challenges include selecting cost-effective shipping companies for each destination, entering information into shipping forms and invoices, and increasing staff during busy periods. To address these challenges, the use of the AnyLogi international shipping automation platform is recommended.

AnyLogi automatically imports order information from Shopify, allowing you to easily check shipping costs and delivery dates from multiple carriers. It also features functionalities that significantly reduce the workload for businesses, such as displaying shipping costs and duties on the Shopify checkout page and automatic translation of shipping addresses.

AnyMind Group, the provider of AnyLogi, has extensive global knowledge across 13 countries, offering reliable support for businesses new to cross-border e-commerce.

We have numerous resources available on cross-border e-commerce. If you are interested, please contact us using the link below.

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