Commercial Invoice

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A commercial invoice is a document for export and import that accompanies shipments outside the EU. Find out how to fill it out and send packages seamlessly.

What is a commercial invoice?

A commercial invoice is an important document used in customs processing for both exports and imports outside the EU.

A commercial invoice serves the essential purpose of assisting the customs authorities in the recipient country in assessing the applicable duties and taxes for the shipment.

The commercial invoice contains comprehensive information about the value, description, and country of origin of the goods, providing an overview of the terms agreed upon between the seller and buyer.

A commercial invoice is typically issued by the seller, who is often the sender and is used in import or export shipments when it is the recipient who must pay for the goods being sent.

Below is an example of a commercial invoice for a shipment from Denmark to Norway, including sender/seller details, recipient details, product description, tariff code, quantity, and unit price.

An example of a commercial invoice issued in Shipmondo

When should you use a commercial invoice?

A commercial invoice is required when goods are sold and shipped outside the EU.

Shipments outside the EU must go through the customs authorities in the recipient country, and the commercial invoice forms the basis for the customs declaration and thus the customs duties levied by the authorities.

This also means that shipments sent within the European Union do not require a commercial invoice.

For international shipments, for example, from Denmark to Canada or the USA, a commercial invoice must always be attached.

Do you have a handle on customs regulations and how you can streamline your customs work? Read our customs guide.

What should a commercial invoice include?

A commercial invoice must contain several important details to facilitate the customs process and ensure accurate registration of the shipment.

These details include, but are not limited to:

  • Sender and recipient information.
  • A detailed description of the goods, including information such as the total quantity, type, size, weight, and any specifications.
  • VAT/ EORI number.
  • Declaration of the total value of the goods sold.
  • Tariff code.
  • Any surcharges, if there are additional duties, costs, or information relevant to the trade, should also be included.

With Shipmondo, you can easily fill out your commercial invoice without further concern. When you book a shipment, a commercial invoice is automatically generated, and you are automatically prompted to fill in the necessary information electronically, ensuring that your commercial invoice is comprehensive.

Learn more about filling out commercial invoices in Shipmondo with the button below.

What is a proforma invoice?

Although a proforma invoice in many ways resembles a commercial invoice, the two documents differ in significant ways and serve different purposes.

A proforma invoice should be included in cases where the recipient is not required to pay for the item, unlike a commercial invoice.

This can be, for example, when sending a replacement item, a product sample, a return item, or gifts. Therefore, the item being shipped is not intended for resale.

What does CN22 and CN23 mean?

When shipping goods to a country outside the EU, it’s important to specify both the content and value to facilitate a swift customs clearance process. CN22 and CN23 labels are used for this purpose.

CN22 is a simplified customs declaration label suitable for lower-value shipments.

If the value of the contents is below 300 SDR (Special Drawing Rights, the International Monetary Fund’s unit of account), equivalent to approximately 2,500 Danish kroner, the shipment should be labeled with a CN22 customs label.

However, if the value is above 300 SDR, a CN23 customs label should be affixed instead. CN23 is a more detailed customs declaration label designed for higher-value shipments.

It’s important to note that the use of CN22 or CN23 labels is based on the value of the contents, but there may be additional customs requirements depending on the destination country and the nature of the items being shipped.

Customs Labels in Shipmondo

In Shipmondo, CN22 and CN23 are only used in a few specific cases.

At PostNord, a CN22 label appears on the label if you order letter products (Tracked/Untracked Maxibrev/Storbrev) outside the EU and have specified 6 or fewer items.

If there are more than 6 items, a proforma invoice is attached. When shipping with PostNord, a CN23 must be attached, as you can see below.

an example of a PostNord CN23

You can see an example of a PostNord CN22 shipment below.

an example of a PostNord Tracked Maxibrev shipment

At Deutsche Post, a CN22 customs label is included as part of the label when you send items outside the EU. Below is an example of this.

an example of a CN22 customs label from Deutsche Post

Send paperless customs documents

Several carriers have made it possible to send customs documents paperless - meaning without physical paper.

Here, the necessary documents such as proforma invoices or commercial invoices are filled out and sent electronically.

UPS is one of the carriers that offer the option to send paperless when signing up for UPS Paperless Invoice. Carriers like DHL Express and FedEx also offer paperless.

In Shipmondo, you can fill out the product details during the booking, and they will be automatically sent electronically, allowing customs processing to begin earlier.

When you place an order for a shipment through Shipmondo, you will be notified of when the shipment requires physical copies of the invoice and customs declaration.

Learn more about how to fill out customs information electronically.

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