export documentation

Export Documentation- A Complete Guide

International trading is glamourous, but its documentation is not. Exportation seems fun because we can get unique things to explore, but its documentation can be hectic if not done carefully. To make successful international shipping, export documents play a significant role. Export Documentation is crucial and it’s the core of exportation.

That is why they must be accurate. But there are many chances that export documentation may go wrong. Name, contacting information; product descriptions can go wrong, failing exportation or the wrong exportation. Documentation is the most essential part of international exportation. Proper documentation leads to successful exportation.

Process of Product Clearance

For the clearance of a product, various documents are required. There are many documents involve, from the placement of order to delivery of the product. It involves processes such as inquiry, order, shipment, and the arrival of the product.


It is the process between buyer and seller. Buyers can inquire about the products to the seller. This process requires documentation called quotation. 

  • Quotation: This document contains information about product size, count, price, payment details, etc. 


This process is done when the buyer confirms the order. It contains the following documents.  

  1. Purchase order: It contains detailed information about the products.
  2. Proforma invoice: It contains a confirmation of the order. The buyer needs to sign it agree to the terms and conditions.


In the old days, goods were shipped by ship. That is why it is called shipping when the product is in the process of delivering. After the above procedure, when the seller packed and sent goods, it is known as shipping. The document procedure during this process is essential.

  1. SLI or Shippers Letter of Instruction: It is a document that provides instructions to the export agent about shipping. It is an essential document.
  2. VGM or Verified Gross Mass: It gives instructions about the weight of the cargo. It is useful when cargo is filled with products.
  3. Bill of Lading: It is the most critical document. It is issued to the shipper, and the shipper sends a copy of it to the importer. Bill of Lading (BoL) has the following categories.
    • Ocean Bill of Lading: If the good is exporting by ship, it requires an ocean bill of lading. It has two types, a Straight bill of lading, which is initially sent to the carrier, and a Negotiable bill of lading, which can be sent to a bank of buyer’s country.
    • Inland Bill of Lading: This is a bill about the condition of the goods and its going. It may not for the buyer, but a carrier or third party. 
    • Air Waybill of Lading: It is essential for the products shipped by plane. It is required for the contract between carrier and shipper.
  4. Commercial Invoice Document: It contains all the information about the shipped goods.
  5. Packing List: This document states how packaging is made with package weights, sizes, and types.
  6. Packing Declaration document: This document is about the type of material used for packing. It is a declaration that the goods are free from animal and plant material.
  7. Certificate of Origin (COO): This is an essential international document that specifies a specific product is manufactured or processed in a particular country.


There is still some documentation process after the arrival of products. 

  • Custom Clearance Document
  • Arrival Notice
  • Invoices

These documents increase or decrease according to the product types or the country of import. These are the most common documents.

Common Mistakes of Exportation

If something goes wrong with the above-mentioned documents, the exportation never becomes a piece of cake. It is already difficult to work, and a single mistake can lead to a headache. Some common mistakes can be reasons for the failure of exportation. 

  1. Wrong information about contact, payment: The incorrect information may delay shipment. It will be so hectic for both seller and buyer. So both need to verify the information carefully.
  2. Wrong product description: The description of the product should match with all other documents. Otherwise, it will cause a delay in the delivery of the product.
  3. Wrong classification of goods: The wrong classification of goods can create misunderstanding, and it can cause a fine. Therefore it is essential to classify the goods with extra care. The type can be done using Schedule B or Harmonized System (HS) codes. 
  4. Wrong value: If export documentation contains a false value, it will not be suitable for you. The incorrect value in the commercial invoice can be considered fraudulent.
  5. Export license: Export license is a must-have thing for exportation. Some products require classification numbers under International Traffic in Arms Regulations(ITAR) or the Export Administration Regulations(EAR). Most products do not require a classification number, but it is always good to check whether a product needs an export license or not.

Export documentation is not only for the product description but is essential for quality control inspection. For fair trading, export documentation is the most crucial part. There are many aspects to the documentation. They change from country to country. The documentation goes through the taxation process, quality checking, and many more.

The documentation should follow all the country’s rules and regulations, which is exporting, and the country which is importing the products. Export documentation controls the flow of trading, and that is why it is considered as the crucial element, and along with that comes corruption. Feeling wrong information in dangerous goods form, showing incorrect value, or anything similar to that can harm your organization and customer’s faith.

To avoid such things, take proper training of exportation and its documentation. The documentation used to hectic because of its vast paperwork. But today, we have various technologies and software available for the ease of documentation. They create fewer errors and manage them efficiently. If you don’t want to frustrate with documentation mistakes, you should go for a good software solution to export documents.

Why Sarita Nimble?

For the efficient and error-free management of export orders, Sarita Nimble is the ideal software. It is an export management software that can provide export documentation solutions. To know more about our products and get a free demo, contact us today @+91 9499652305 or email us at [email protected]  and Have a happy exporting!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Fatal error: Uncaught wfWAFStorageFileException: Unable to save temporary file for atomic writing. in /home/tanvi/web/saritainfotech.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordfence/vendor/wordfence/wf-waf/src/lib/storage/file.php:35 Stack trace: #0 /home/tanvi/web/saritainfotech.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordfence/vendor/wordfence/wf-waf/src/lib/storage/file.php(659): wfWAFStorageFile::atomicFilePutContents('/home/tanvi/web...', '<?php exit('Acc...') #1 [internal function]: wfWAFStorageFile->saveConfig('livewaf') #2 {main} thrown in /home/tanvi/web/saritainfotech.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wordfence/vendor/wordfence/wf-waf/src/lib/storage/file.php on line 35