Resources - Documents required for customs clearance

Documents required for customs clearance

(All you need to know about: Bill of Lading, Packing List, CE certificates, Certificate of Origin and other)

Documents required for customs clearance in China

As we mentioned before, import from China is a complicated process. Before the cargo reaches its destination, you should prepare all of the necessary documents. As for verifying the certificates provided by your supplier, it should be done earlier, during business negotiations – otherwise you may face many problems. As soon as your supplier ships cargo, you should receive the set of documents and send them to customs agency to perform necessary checks. Those documents include:

Commercial invoice, issued by a Chinese company

The invoice should contain the following:

  • Name and address of the supplier, contact details
  • Name and address of the buyer, contact details
  • Date
  • Serial number
  • Name/codename of the product
  • Unit price in the specified currency
  • Amount (pcs./kg/t)
  • Terms of delivery according to INCOTERMS, f.e. FOB Shanghai, CIF Manchester, DDU Warsaw)
  • Country of Origin information (China, Peoples’ Republic of China, PRC)
  • Signature, company’s valid stamp.

If one of those is missing, we will be asked to send the invoice again. The rule applies even to the circumstances in which we have missed the signature or haven’t written the date – in this case, Customs Office will not accept the invoice.

Bill of Lading - sea waybill (including shipping)

In the case of sea transport, Bill of Lading will be necessary. You can obtain it using two various ways: First way is when the Chinese supplier will send you three original Bills of Lading, Second – the supplier will notify shipping company that the cargo will be released on the basis of telex (so called “telex release”), in this case, he should send the Bill of Lading with “Telex release” stamp through e-mail or fax. The another possible form is an Express Release, used in situations which require immediate action, f.e. when the shipper doesn't have time to print the bills and courier the same to the consignee. Read more about the Bill of Lading.

Packing List

The Packing List is the detailed list of the transported cargo, which includes net and gross weight, amount of goods, numbers of packaging and other required information.

CE certificate

When the products are imported to European Union, CE marking is necessary. Every product should have CE marking on the unit container, the company which is importing from China should obtain it from the Chinese supplier.

Certificate of Origin

For several products, such as textiles, certificate of origin is required. It is a document that indicates the origin of the goods, or where the product was manufactured. Read more about the Certificate of Origin.

Other documents

The documents presented above are only the basic documents, required for import from China. Many industries have their own requirements, certificates etc.