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What Type of Documents Need to Be Authenticated for Export?

Did you know that United States exports are worth more than $528,000 million?

However, standard documentation is needed for exporting when selling and transporting your goods outside of the United States. Knowing which documents need to be legalized or authenticated is the best way to ensure the export process is fast, smooth, and simple.

If you are unsure of what documents are needed, keep on reading this guide to learn more about document legalization and authentication.

What is Document Legalization or Authentication? 

The legalization or authentication of documents allows them to be used in other countries. There are usually several steps involved in the process. There are several types of documents that can be legalized, including civil status documents, court orders, diplomas, and manufacturing certificates.

When it comes to exporting purposes, there are a few documents that will need to be legalized to ensure your product is not held up in an international port.

But what kind of documents would you need to get legalized? We’ll get to that in a moment

Document Legalization With an Apostille Service

An apostille is a simplified and official way to legalize a document for use in countries who are part of the Hague Convention. Apostilles are stamps or stickers affixed to official documents that declare that document authenticate and valid. There is no need to take any further steps after this. 

For document legalization or apostille services, check out this link!

Document Legalization Without an Apostille

Getting a document authenticated is a bit harder and more complicated without an apostille.

In cases where one or both of the countries involved in your legalization are not parties to the Apostille Convention, legalization often requires two steps. 

The first step goes typically goes as follows. It is usually the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Country A that checks that the document has been signed by the relevant official authority.

In the event that the document has been approved, a stamp or sticker is applied. This demonstrates to Country B that a legitimate authority in Country A issued the paper.

The second step then goes as follows. A stamp or sticker from Country B verifies the document and legalizes it. Typically, an embassy, consulate general, or honorary consul of Country B in Country A performs this. You can use the document in Country B once it has been legalized.

Pro Forma Invoice

Before an export shipment, a pro forma invoice is a crucial document used as a negotiation tool between the seller and the buyer.

The seller should use this document to quote at the start of an export transaction; later, when the products are cleared by customs in the importing nation, it will be utilized as the final commercial invoice. The document is a promise by the seller to give the customer the goods and services at the time and price stated and includes a description of the goods.

Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice is a legal document that identifies the items being sold and the price that the customer is expected to pay between the exporter and the buyer.

One of the primary papers used by customs to calculate customs charges is the commercial invoice. A commercial invoice is a statement from the seller to the customer for the goods.

Governments frequently utilize these records to calculate the actual value of products for determining customs charges. Governments that employ the commercial invoice to regulate imports will frequently impose restrictions on its format, content, number of copies, acceptable languages, and other elements.

Export Packing List

An export packing list is much more thorough and detailed than a typical domestic packing list. It includes a lot of information, such as the following:

  • the seller/buyer
  • the shipper
  • invoice number
  • shipment date
  • carrier
  • type of package
  • number of packages
  • total package weight/dimensions

Packing list templates are available from both commercial stationers and freight forwarders. You could use a packing list as a compliant document. It does not serve as a replacement for a business invoice.

The packing list may also be used by foreign and American customs officers to inspect the goods; thus the commercial invoice should accurately mirror the information on the packing list.

Transportation Documents

Airway bills are necessary for air freight shipments. The paperwork gives comprehensive details about the shipment and makes it possible to track it. Unlike “order” bills of lading used for ship shipments, air waybills are shipper-specific and non-negotiable papers.

A bill of lading is a legal agreement between the carrier and the owner of the goods. A straight bill of lading, which is non-negotiable, and a negotiable bill of lading, also known as a shipper’s order bill of lading, are the two most prevalent varieties for ocean shipments.

With the latter, you can trade, buy, or sell things while they’re on the road. To confirm ownership, customers often need an original bill of lading to acquire the goods from the carrier.

Export Compliance Documents

Data filed electronically via the Automated Export System (AES) is known as Electronic Export Information Filing (EEI). Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) information is the electronic equivalent of export data previously collected. 

Census and Customs offers a free service called the Automated Export System online, where you can file your EEI electronically. Export licenses are required for shipments of any value exceeding $2,500 per Schedule B number or for any shipments of any value that require one. 

Now You Know All About Document Legalization

Document legalization is often a necessary step when exporting goods to foreign countries. When you are shipping products overseas, always make sure that you have the right documents authenticated so that the package ends up where it needs to be.

Learn more about our document authentication services so that you can make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible!