Buying Guides

Shipping Checklist: What Measures are Required for International Shipping?

Last updated on June 19th, 2022 at 03:20 am

The international shipping process is nothing like the usual interstate or intrastate shipping process. It requires assistance from professionals to help you throughout the complicated shipping process. Even a slight mistake or negligence during the shipping process can delay your shipment for days or even months. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to hire services from reputable and reliable service providers whether you are shipping across the country or to different countries.

Experienced professionals possess years of knowledge in dealing with various kinds of national and international shipping problems. They will help you determine the best shipping option and, in some cases, also help you deal with legal requirements. If you are looking for ways to learn more about the right measures you are required to take for international shipping, we are to help. 

In this article, we will walk you through some of the most significant information and facts that you need to take into account before scheduling your international shipping. 

1. Determine if you can ship your commodity?

Most countries have created restrictions regarding what commodities can be shipped across the borders and what is strictly prohibited in their country. Therefore, while scheduling your shipment, ensure to check whether your product is eligible for the process or not and if there are any further restrictions applied for the same. 

2. Choose your shipping option wisely

Which shipping option to select mainly depends on the type of your commodity and the requirement of the product. If you require the product for an emergency need or the product you are transporting is of perishable nature, then you might opt for the fastest mode of transportation, such as an airplane. If the product is not of perishable nature, then you can consider different modes of transportation. 

3. Complete your documents

When it comes to documentation, you need to pay utmost attention and care while filing your documentation. Here is a list of documents you must prepare while opting for cross-border shipping.  

-Bill of lading

It is one of the essential documents that you must prepare. It specifies the nature, weight, and other important information about the commodities. In other words, you need this document to monitor any cargo you decide to transport or take to another country. You are required to submit the original copy of the bill of lading during the process. 

-Transport insurance certificate

Transport insurance helps you secure your shipment against uncertain situations, such as theft, misplacement, damage, etc. An insurance certificate can help you save a lot of money and cover the cost of maximum expenses involved during such a situation. You can either take insurance from the shipping company or from other individual parties. 

-Packing list

A packing list is another important document that includes details about the commodity being shipped. The information mentioned in the packing list can be incorporated into the bills of lading for the shipment process and also used by customs authorities to identify things that they must examine.  It can be quite helpful to verify all goods being shipped to different countries.


Other documents such as the proforma invoice, documents of dangerous goods, commercial invoice for shipping, and more are also some important documents that you should consider submitting during the process. You can also seek guidance from your shipping company to help determine which documents you should be prepared during the process. 

4. Clear customs

Getting your customs cleared can be a quite complicated and challenging part of the whole process. However, with proper measures and practice, you can minimize your delays and maximize efficiency. Make sure your product information is consistent and accurate across all documents, keep your answer and information specific and error-free, list each commodity separately, provide a detailed explanation, and provide a phone number or fax information of the parties involved. 

Staying updated with the latest international shipping regulations and laws for different countries can help you stay ahead and complete the process efficiently. 

Invoices – Commercial and Proforma

At least in the United States, commercial and proforma invoices are interchangeable terms for preliminary sales invoices. They are delivered to the shipper prior to the shipping or delivery of goods and act as a promise to transport the items by a certain date and time.

A proforma invoice details the work covered in the agreement, the shipment weight, and any additional fees. See this page for more information.

In the United States, proforma invoices do not have much legal weight, but in Europe and South America, they may be required to cross customs. For the paperwork to pass via the Automated Export System (AES) and clear customs, it must mention the following:

  • Who is the issuer? (the seller)
  • To whom it is issued (the buyer)
  • The stated price of the product
  • Detailed description, ideally accompanied with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code

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