The term boilerplate refers to standardized text, copy, documents, methods, or procedures that may be used over again without making major changes to the original. A boilerplate is commonly used for efficiency and to increase standardization in the structure and language of written or digital documents.
Traders when was the last time you reviewed your Commercial Invoice for accuracy or updates? Chances are it has been quite a while, given the more immediate challenges in logistics today. The same question applies to documents produced by your freight forwarder. Checking your CIs for accuracy is a best practice and can help reduce customs delays. Reviewers with “fresh eyes” are an even better idea.
While there is no universal standard format for commercial invoices, including the following key elements will help reduce customs delays and entry mistakes:
Description of goods – Vague or incomplete descriptions are the most common cause of customs delays. Avoid trade names, brand names, jargon. What is it? What is it made of? What is it used for?
Recipient or Importer of Record contact info- customs delays are often prolonged by slow communication between CBP and importers or between exporters and customs agencies in other countries. Make sure phone and e mail info is spelled out on the CI.
Invoice Number, Page Numbers – Avoids confusion for entries with multiple CIs or CIs with multiple pages.
Country of Origin– Best to use ISO country codes.
Related/Not Related parties
Incoterms and currency- these are elements of the sales contract. Indicate version of Incoterms (2010, 2020) as all parties may not be aware of updates.
Harmonized tariff code to the 6 digit level– if unsure best not to include this info.
Summary of Value- must include IV Invoice Value. Can also include NDC Non Dutiable Charge (subtractions), AMMV Add to Make Market Value (additions), NEV Net Entered Value (bottom line- dutiable).
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