Once you have decided what method of transport is best to move your goods from one destination to another, you need to ensure that you have the correct documents in place.

It is always wise to ask your customer what documents may be required by them on importing into the agreed destination.

Commercial invoice

This is generated by the seller and is a complex document with details of the commercial transaction. It is vital that this document is accurate as it is used by customs officials worldwide in the clearance process. It will also be used in the payment process with reference numbers etc.

See previous article on commercial invoices for more information.

Packing List

The is again generated by the seller in order to show what is contained within the consignment. It will have accurate weights and dimensions which are used by airlines and shipping lines to declare freight for both safety and security reasons.

Certificate of Origin or EUR1

Some countries will require proof of origin in order to get preferential tariffs on duties and or taxes. Discuss this with your customer as to what their requirements would be for such documents.


Some products may be of dual use, i.e. military and civilian. This will mean they might need a license for export.

Export Customs declaration

A customs declaration is an official document that lists and gives details of the goods that you are exporting.

As the seller/exporter you have a legal duty to ensure that you lodge a customs declaration for your goods. You can do this yourself or hire an expert freight forwarder like us to do it for you.

For all goods leaving the UK the customs declaration needs to be lodged with the UK Customs Office and this can be done electronically here.

It is a relatively simple process if you know what you are doing but for first timers and those businesses looking to export regularly it makes sense to use a trusted partner to handle custom procedures.

Our friendly and knowledgeable team can help with tailored advice so do give us a call 01952 270699 or email