Import Invoices and Special Requirements

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Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires a commercial invoice from importers and custom’s brokers for each shipment. As required by the Tariff Act, the invoice must contain information such as cargo destination, buyer and seller, and country of origin, among other data points

The importer of record is responsible for using reasonable care to enter, classify, and determine the value of imported merchandise and to provide any other information necessary to enable CBP to properly asses duties. CBP is then responsible for fixing the final classification and value of the merchandise.

If an importer of record fails to exercise reasonable care, the release of your merchandise could be delayed, a focused assessment audit could be triggered, and penalties may be levied. This is equally true for custom’s brokers, like Trans-Border, who transact customs business on behalf of others and must exercise responsible supervision and control.

Commercial Invoice Requirements

A commercial invoice should contain enough information for a CBP Officer to determine if the goods being imported are admissible. To make the entry process as efficient as possible, it is important to include the correct classification and valuation of the imported goods. For further guidance, see the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS).

Although there is no specific format to abide to for commercial invoices, CBP does require certain information to be included. If you would like a template, please find one here.

At minimum, on your invoice you should:

  1. Describe the item clearly
  2. List the HTS number
  3. List the quantity
  4. State the value (either price paid, or estimated value based on other considerations.) Give the value in both U.S. and foreign currencies.
  5. List the country of origin (where item was made)
  6. State where the item was purchased
  7. List the name of the business or person selling the merchandise
  8. List the location of the business or person selling the merchandise
  9. List the name and address of business or person buying the merchandise, and if different than the importer
  10. List the U.S. address of the person or business the goods are being shipped to

Special invoicing requirements

It is important to note that certain commodities are subject to special invoicing requirements. For example, if you are importing bed linen and bedspreads, you must include a statement as to whether or not the article contains any embroidery, lace, braid, edging, trimming, piping, or applique work.

According to 19 CFR 141.89(a) Invoices for the following classes of merchandise, classifiable under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), shall set forth the additional information specified: [75-42, 75-239, 78-53, 83-251, 84-149.]

To see if your imports require special information, please visit 19 CFR 141.89 – Additional information for certain classes of merchandise.

Additional Resources

For further guidance on invoicing requirements, please visit 19 CFR 141.86 – Content of invoices and general requirements.

If you seek the full content of 19 CFR, please see CFR Title 19 – Customs Duties.

It is important to communicate invoicing requirements to your vendors or create a pro forma invoice to ensure compliance. If you have any questions, please reach out to Bill Carey, Import Compliance Manager, at, or give us a call at (800) 493-9444.

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