The documents you need for international shipping

The documents you need for international shipping is the thing that scares people the most when global trade is concerned. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons why people are staying away from this kind of business, even though it’s very profitable. Unsurprisingly, such immense paperwork is not easy to handle. However, there are situations where things could be simpler, like when you are shipping from Kuwait to Dubai. Or between other countries that have signed free-trade or agreements for economic cooperation. If you are trading between countries that do not have signed trade agreements, things will be more complicated. Nevertheless, there are ways to ease this process even if the regulations and paperwork are numerous. That’s by hiring experienced freight forwarders to handle this for you. However, managing this on your own could increase your earnings. At least to some degree.

The documents you need for international shipping depend on a few things

As mentioned above, the documents you need for international shipping are vast. But the number and types of documents will mostly depend on two things. The type of product that you will be shipping. And the economic relationship between the two countries.

However, there are also side things that could appear along the way that will require additional papers. Besides those that are considered as main documents that you need to get the product in or out of the country. Things like, storing your product in a warehouse Dubai, hiring additional mechanization to handle or transport the product to its final user, or hiring expert professionals that will supervise the process. Still, before you go down this road, it is important to learn about essential documents you need for transnational distribution that you will certainly come across during your work.

Illustration of a truck and a world map
International shipping is complicated and so is the required paperwork

Things you need to know before you start dealing with international shipping paperwork

Before you start thinking about the paperwork you need for international trading, you need to know a few more things.

Document requirements also depend on the type of transportation you use

The difference in the paperwork requirement also depends on the type of transportation you are planning to use for your merchandise. Here are the transportation solutions that are available:

  • Airfreight Kuwait is the fastest, but the most expensive way to ship your cargo. However, the paperwork required for this type of shipping is not so demanding.
  • Sea freight Kuwait is the slowest way to ship your merchandise, but usually the cheapest.
  • Rail freight can be a good solution to ship your goods, but it strictly depends on the rail network coverage.
  • Road freight is the most popular way to transport commodities, but there are a few downsides to this. The most obvious is that it is not available for overseas trade.

International document requirements tend to change frequently

International trade rules, regulations, and laws are very strict. However, they tend to change frequently. The things you know today may not apply tomorrow. The problem with this is that government notification systems are not that regularly updated. Sometimes, you may think that you know everything and organize the process according to your understanding without knowing that the rules have changed suddenly.

Filling out the paperwork requires attention and knowledge

Another thing that you need to know regarding international trade paperwork is that filling the paperwork requires maximal attention. One wrong letter and your papers will be rejected. And that’s when the real problems will begin. So besides knowing what document you need to prepare, you also need to know how to fill them out properly.

Illustration of a man and a paper
You need to know how to fill out the documents

Working with experienced freight forwarders in Kuwait is the best way to handle documents you need for international trade

Even though, the changeability and strict requirements sound scary for an inexperienced shipper there is an easy way out. By hiring freight forwarders in Kuwait, understanding of the rules will be out of your concerns. They are always updated in terms of requirements. Furthermore, if your cargo gets stuck in customs, they can always find the way out. Either through their personal connections. Or with the help of their vast understanding of the matter.

The list of documents you need for international shipping

Now that you understand different obstacles that you might come across during international shipping, you can start learning about different documents that you will encounter. Here is the list of documents that every shipper should know about:

  • Proforma Invoice is the first of the documents you need for international shipping
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Certificates of Origin
  • Shipper’s Letter of Instruction
  • Bill of Lading

Proforma Invoice

This is the first paper that the sides of the trade will exchange. When the inquiry is made, the supplier will provide the purchaser with a proforma invoice. It serves as a quote and it looks a lot like a standard invoice. It should specify the following:

  • The buyer and seller information
  • Detailed specification and classification of the goods
  • The price and payment details and currency
  • The delivery details

Commercial invoice

The commercial invoice looks very similar to a proforma invoice. This is the most important document that will accompany the goods.

Illustration of a hand and a calculator
Invoice is one of the essential documents you need for international shipping

Packing list

This document should contain all details regarding your merchandise quantity. The gross and net weight, number of boxes, number of pallets, etc.

Certificate of Origin

A certificate of origin is essentially proof that your product originates for a specific country.

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction is the document that you will provide to your freight forwarder. It will contain instructions on how to transport your goods.

Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading is a contract between an exporter and a shipper. If your goods will be traveling inland, you will need an inland bill of lading. For sea freight, you will need an ocean bill of lading. When you are using airfreight, prepare an air waybill.

The documents you need for international shipping are vast but with a good freight forwarder nothing is too complicated

Those are the most common documents you need for international shipping. Unfortunately, that is not all. There are bank drafts, health certificates, dangerous goods forms, vet certificates, phytosanitary certificates, and other documents depending on the countries and type of your goods. But, if you have a good freight forwarder by your side, you will have no trouble whatsoever.