FMC #020398F

1-877-877-4125


Frequent Asked Questions & Important Terms


Q. What export documents might be required during an international move?

A. There are many documents involved in international shipments. Following is a list of the common export documents and their definitions.

Ocean Bill-of-Lading
A receipt for the cargo and a contract for transportation between a shipper and the ocean carrier. It may also be used as an instrument of ownership which can be bought, sold, or traded while the goods are in transit. To be used in this manner, it must be a negotiable "Order" Bill-of-Lading. This is sometimes abbreviated as "Blading, or B/L"
Clean Bill-of-Lading
A clean Bill-of-lading is issued when the shipment is received in good order. If damage or a shortage is noted, a clean bill-of-lading will not be issued.
On Board Bill-of-Lading
An On Board Bill-of-Lading certifies that the cargo has been placed aboard the named vessel and is signed by the master of the vessel or his representative. On letter of credit transactions, an On Board Bill-of-Lading is usually necessary for the shipper to obtain payment from the bank.
Ship's Manifest
This document is prepared by the steamship line when all Bills-of-Lading are processed. It summarizes all cargo aboard the vessel by port of loading and discharge.
Inland Bill-of-Lading
An Inland Bill-of-Lading is used to document the transportation of the goods between the port and the point of origin or destination. It should contain information such as marks, numbers, steamship line, etc., to match with a dock receipt. It is also known as a waybill on rail or the "pro forma" bill-of-lading in trucking. It can be abbreviated as "pro" or "pro ticket", or "waybill."
Inspection Certificate
Some countries nominate a firm to inspect for quality, quantity, and pricing. After verifying correctness, they may issue an Inspection Certificate or a "CRF", a "Clean Report of Findings."
Dock Receipt
A dock receipt is used to transfer accountability for the cargo between domestic and international carriers at the ocean terminal. This document is prepared by the shipper or forwarder, and is signed by the ocean carrier and returned to the delivering inland carrier to acknowledge receipt of the cargo.
Delivery Instructions
Delivery Instructions provide specific information to the inland carrier concerning the arrangement made by the forwarder to deliver the merchandise to the particular pier or steamship line. This has to do with the export of cargo and should not be confused with a Delivery Order which is used for import cargo.
Export Declaration
Required by the United States Department of Commerce to control exports and act as a source document for export statistics, an Export Declaration includes complete particulars on the shipment. It is commonly abbreviated as "Export Dec".
Letter of Credit
A letter of credit is a financial document issued by a bank at the request of the consignee guaranteeing payment to the shipper for cargo if certain terms and conditions are fulfilled. Normally it contains a brief description of the goods, documents required, a shipping date, and an expiration date after which payment will no longer be made.
Consular Invoice
A Consular Invoice or Customs Invoice is a special form required by some countries to control and identify goods shipped, and may require legalization by their Consul.
Commercial Invoice
A Commercial Invoice is a bill for the goods from the seller to the buyer. It is often used by governments to determine the true value of goods for the assessment of Customs duties. It is also used in the preparation of consular documentation. Governments using the commercial invoice to control imports often specify its form, content, number of copies, language to be used, etc.
Certificate of Origin
A Certificate of Origin is a document which is used to assure the buying country precisely in which country the goods were produced. The certification of the origin of the merchandise is usually performed by a recognized Chamber of Commerce.
Insurance Certification
An insurance certification assures the consignee that insurance is provided to cover loss or damage to the cargo while in transit.
Transmittal Letter
A Transmittal Letter is a list of the particulars of the shipment and a record of the documents being transmitted together with instructions for disposition of the documents. Any special instructions are also included.

Q. What import documents might be required in an international move?

A. There are a number of import documents that may be involved in an international move. Following is a list of common import documents with definitions.

Arrival Notice
Sent by the carrier, the Arrival Notice informs the "notify party" of the estimated arrival date of the vessel, identifies the shipment with some details, such as number of packages, weight, etc., and indicates when free time expires. Often the Arrival Notice is also a freight bill.
Customs Entries
A form required by United States Customs for entering goods into the United States. The form contains information as to the origin of the cargo, a description of the merchandises and estimated duties applicable to the particular commodity. Estimated duties must be paid when the entry is filed.
I.D. Entry
A set of documents and forms which, when presented to U.S. Customs in proper form, will release the cargo. Within 10 days after release of the cargo a set of documents and forms known as the Entry Summary, which contains the tariff schedule numbers and duty calculation, must be filed, accompaniied by the duty check.
Entry Summary
A combination of the Entry and the Entry Summary this is a set of documents and forms required by U.S. Customs for certain "trade sensitive" imports, such as textiles and any other quota merchandise. Payment of duties must accompany submission of documents.
Delivery Authorized Document (DAD)
A form prepared by the Customs Broker and authorized by U.S. Customs after presentation and approval of Entry or Entry Summary, and lodged with the carrier as evidence of Custom release.
Immediate Transportation Entry (I.T. Entry)
Allows the cargo to be moved from the pier to an inland destination via a bonded carrier without the payment of duties or finalization of the entry at the port of arrival.
Transportation and Exportation Entry and Immediate Export Entry (T.&E. or I.E. Entry)
Allows goods to enter the U.S. for the purpose of trans-shipments to a third country
Carriers Certificate and Release Order
Used to advise Customs of the details of the shipment, its ownership, port of lading, etc. By means of this document the carrier certifies that the firm or individual named in the certificate is the owner or consignee of the cargo. This is commonly known as the Carrier Certificate.
Delivery Order
Issued by the consignee or his Customs Broker to the ocean carrier as authority to release the cargo to the inland carrier. Includes all data necessary for the pier delivery clerk to determine that the cargo can be released to the domestic carrier.
Freight Release or Freight Bill Receipt
Evidence that the freight charges for the cargo have been paid. If in writing, it may be presented a the pier to obtain release of the cargo. Normally, once the freight is paid, releases are usually arranged without additional documentation.