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Valued packing list and commercial invoice in international cargo transportation from the USA

In shipping goods from the USA overseas, a valued packing list (VPL) is a substitution for commercial invoices (CI), if accepted.

Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice is the essential shipping document in international cargo transportation. It must be submitted to any international shipment unless a valued packing list substitutes it. Your cargo cannot be released to international shipping until you provided a commercial invoice on your shipping goods or valued packaging list.

In shipping goods from the United States, a commercial invoice serves different purposes. The most important commercial invoice is to consider and assign customs duty upon arrival shipping goods to the destination. However, a commercial invoice can be used to calculate marine cargo insurance, act as proof in international trade, identify a commodity shipping abroad for the U.S. CBP, etc.

When ship goods from the USA, commercial invoices must be in English. In the U.S., commercial invoices must comply with Section 141.86 of U.S. customs regulations on internationally shipping merchandise from the United States of America. It must provide information on:

Typically, an accurate invoice from a seller or a detailed purchase receipt from a buyer complies with the above requirements. If you buy and ship or sell and ship from the United States, this is a good idea to submit a copy of the original invoice to your international shipment.

Valued packing list

However, if you're shipping a commercial cargo, and for some reason, you cannot submit a copy of your sale-purchase receipt, you may consider submitting a proforma commercial invoice in the form of a valued packing list. Most of the time it works, but it may cause questions at customs.

Valued packing list in shipping household goods and personal effects from the USA overseas

If you ship from the U.S. household goods or personal effects, then the only way to comply with the international shipping regulations is to submit a valued packing list.

To prevent confusions when an inexperienced shipper fills a valued packing list, here are some suggestions:

And perhaps this is the most frequently asked question, "How detailed should I describe the content in boxes?" 

The answer is: On the one hand, you don't have to list each spoon and fork that you are shipping. On the other, the description should clearly reflect the content.

You can describe it like this: 3 boxes with used clothes, toys, and dishes. The weight 60 lbs. The value US$600.

However, avoid too uncertain descriptions. Do not submit on the whole shipment like this: 12 boxes with household goods. The weight 360 lbs. The value $2,499.

 
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