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COMMON EXPORT DOCUMENTS
The Section covers to documents that are commonly used in exporting, but specific requirements vary by destination and product. It is divided in the following
sections: common export-related documents, certificates of origin, other certificates for shipments of specific goods, Export licenses and Temporary shipment
documents.

COMMON EXPORT DOCUMENTS
Airway Bill
Air freight shipments require Airway bills, which can never be made in negotiable form (click here for sample). Airway bills are shipper-specific (i.e. USPS, Fed-
Ex,UPS, DHL, etc).

Bill of Lading
A contract between the owner of the goods and the carrier (as with domestic shipments). For vessels, there are two types: a straight bill of lading, which is non-
negotiable, and a negotiable or shipper's order bill of lading. The latter can be bought, sold, or traded while the goods are in transit. The customer usually
needs an original as proof of ownership to take possession of the goods (
click here Sample Short Form Bill of Lading and click here Sample Liner Bill of
Lading).

Commercial Invoice
A bill for the goods from the seller to the buyer. These invoices are often used by governments to determine the true value of goods when assessing customs
duties. Governments that use the commercial invoice to control imports will often specify its form, content, number of copies, language to be used, and other
characteristics (
click here Sample).

Export Packing List
Considerably more detailed and informative than a standard domestic packing list, it lists seller, buyer, shipper, invoice number, date of shipment, mode of
transport, carrier, and itemizes quantity, description, the type of package, such as a box, crate, drum, or carton, the quantity of packages, total net and gross
weight (in kilograms), package marks, and dimensions, if appropriate. Both commercial stationers and freight forwarders carry packing list forms. A packing
list may serve as conforming document. It is not a substitute for a commercial invoice.

Electronic Export Information Form (Shippers Export Declaration)
The EEI is the most common of all export documents. Required for shipments above $2,500* and for shipments of any value requiring an export license. SED
has to be electronically filed via AES Direct (free service from Census and Customs) online system (
click here)
*Note: EEI is required for shipments to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the former Pacific Trust Territories even though they are not considered exports
(unless each “Schedule B” item in the shipment is under $2,500).  
*Note:Shipments to Canada do not require an SED except in cases where an export license is required. (Shipments to third countries passing through
Canada do need an SED.)

CERTIFICATES OF ORGIN
Generic Certificate of Origin
The Certificate of Origin (CO) is required by some countries for all or only certain products. In many cases, a statement of origin printed on company letterhead
will suffice (
download generic certificate (click here) or click here for sample with explanation). The exporter should verify whether a CO is required with the
buyer and/or an experienced shipper/freight forwarder or the Trade Information center.
Note: Some countries (i.e. Middle East) require that certificate of origin be notarized, certified by local chamber of commerce and legalized by the commercial
section of the consulate of the destination country.
For textile products, an importing country may require a certificate of origin issued by the manufacturer. The number of required copies and language may vary
from country to country.

Certificate of Origin for claiming benefits under Free Trade Agreements
Special certificates may be required for countries with which the United States has free trade agreements (FTAs) (
click here). Some certificate of origin
including those required by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the FTA’s with Israel and Jordan, are prepared by the exporter. Others
including those required by the FTA’s with Australia, CAFTA countries, Chile and Morocco, are importer’s responsibility). Click on a specific country below to
learn details on how to document origin.
Australia
Bahrain (importer to check with Govt. of Bahrain on format/information)
CAFTA (Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua) (click here for sample)
Chile Chile & United States Free Trade Agreement (click here) sample)
Colombia  
Israel ( Green form needs to be purchased from Vendor or US-Israel Chamber of Commerce or a publishing house )
Jordan (notarized generic certificate of origin required)
Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS)
Morocco (importer makes a claim on the basis of supporting evidence)
NAFTA (Mexican & Canada) (North American free trade agreement certificate - CBP Form 434 (click here)
Oman Free Trade Agreement
Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA)
Singapore (no certificate of origin is required. However, the importer is required to produce the necessary permits together with an invoice, at the time of cargo
clearance.)
Trade.gov FTA Website             
US Trade Representative          


OTHER CERTIFICATES FOR SHIPMENTS OF SPECIFIC GOODS
ATA CARNET/Temporary shipment certificate
An
ATA Carnet a. k. a. "Merchandise Passport" is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs
and value-added taxes (VAT) or the posting of a security deposit normally required at the time of importation.
Apply for an ATA Carnet.

Certificate of Analysis:
A certificate of analysis is required for seeds, grain, health foods, dietary supplements, fruits and vegetables, and pharmaceutical products.

Certificate of Free Sale
Certificate of free sale may be issued for biologics, food, drugs, medical devices and veterinary medicine. More information is available from the
Food and
Drug Administration (
click here). Health authorities in some states as well as some trade associations also issue Certificates of Free Sale.

Dangerous Goods Certificate
Exports submitted for handling by air carriers and air freight forwarders classified as dangerous goods need to be accompanied by the Shipper’s Declaration
for Dangerous Goods (
click here for sample) required by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The exporter is responsible for accuracy of the form
and ensuring that requirements related to packaging, marking, and other required information by IATA have been met.
For shipment of dangerous goods it is critical to identify goods by proper name, comply with packaging and labeling requirements (they vary depending upon
type of product shipper and country shipped to).  More information on labeling/regulations is available from the
International Air Transportation Association or
Department of Transportation - HAZMAT websites (click here).

Inspection Certificate
Weight and Quality certificates should be provided in accordance with governing USDA/GIPSA regulations for loading at port and loading at source/mill site as
appropriate. A certificate of origin certified by local chamber of commerce at load port and a Phytosanitary certificate issued by APHIS/USDA and Fumigation
certificate are to be provided to buyer. Costs of all inspection, certificates/ documents at the load port are usually the responsibility of the seller.

Insurance Certificate
Used to assure the consignee that insurance will cover the loss of or damage to the cargo during transit (
click here Sample). These can be obtained from your
freight forwarder or publishing house (
click here for sample). Note: an airway bill can serve as an insurance certificate for a shipment by air. Some countries
may require certification or notification.

Steamship or Airline Company Certificate
A declaration attached to a bill of lading or airway bill stating that the shipper will not stop at an unscheduled port, attesting to the accuracy of the shipping
route and providing other shipping information such as name of vessel/plane, nationality of vessel/plane, owner of vessel/plane, names of ports of call
including port of leading and discharge.

Other (product-specific) certificates
Shaving brushes and articles made of raw hair must be accompanied by a recognized official certificate showing the consignment to be free from anthrax
germs. Used clothing requires a disinfection certificate. Grain requires a fumigation certificate, and grain and seeds require a certificate of weight. Many
countries in the Middle East require special certificates for imports of animal fodder additives, livestock, pets, and horses.

Weight certificate
Certificate of weight is a document issued by customs, certifying gross weight of the exported goods.

EXPORT LICENSES
Export license (click here) is a government document that authorizes the export of specific goods in specific quantities to a particular destination. This
document may be required for most or all exports to some countries or for other countries only under special circumstances. Examples of export license
certificates include those issued by the the
Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (dual use articles) (click here), the State Department’s
Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (defense articles) (
click here), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (nuclear materials) (click here), and the US Drug
Enforcement Administration (controlled substances and precursor chemicals) (
click here).

Destination Control Statement
Destination Control Statement (DCS) (
click here) is required for exports from United States for items on the Commerce Control List that are outside of EAR99
(products for which no license is required). A DCS appears on the commercial invoice, ocean bill of lading or Airway bill to notify the carrier and all foreign
parties that the item can be exported only to certain destinations.

OTHER EXPORT RELATED DOCUMENTS
Consular Invoice
Required in some countries, it describes the shipment of goods and shows information such as the consignor, consignee, and value of the shipment. If
required, copies are available from the
destination country's Embassy or Consulate in the U.S. (click here)

Import License
Import licenses are the responsibility of the importer and vary depending upon destination and product. However, including a copy of an import license with
the rest of your documentation may in some cases help avoid problems with customs in the destination country.

Pre-shipment Inspections
The governments of a number of countries have contracted with international inspection companies to verify the quantity, quality, and price of shipments
imported into their countries. The purpose of such inspections is to ensure that the price charged by the exporter reflects the true value of the goods, to prevent
substandard goods from entering the country, and to deflect attempts to avoid payment of customs duties. Requirements for pre-shipment inspection are
normally spelled out in letter-of-credit or other documentary requirements. Inspections companies include
Bureau Veritas, SGS and Intertek. Some countries
require pre-shipment inspection certificates for shipments of used merchandise.

Shippers Letter of Instruction
Issued by the carrier or the forwarder includes shipping instructions for air or ocean shipment sample (
click here)

TEMPORARY SHIPMENTS
ATA CARNET/Temporary shipment certificate
An
ATA Carnet a. k. a. "Merchandise Passport" is a document that facilitates the temporary importation of products into foreign countries by eliminating tariffs
and value-added taxes (VAT) or the posting of a security deposit normally required at the time of importation.
Apply for an ATA Carnet.

Customs Certificate of Registration
Customs Form 4455 (
click here) may be used (often in conjunction with temporary import bond or ATA Carnet for goods that are leaving the United States on
temporary basis for alteration, repair, replacement, and processing.