Free Commercial Invoices Templates to Download in All Form

One of the most famous types of invoices is the commercial invoice. It is the most used invoice in international shipping and trade. It provides detailed information about the product (price, value, and quantity), sales terms, payment, the buyer’s information, and the seller’s information.

All you need to know about commercial invoices and their uses. We provide Free downloadable templates (1)

If any mistakes occur, they could result in serious problems and long shipping delays.

In this article, you will learn 

  • What are commercial invoices and their uses? 
  • How to make a commercial invoice?
  • What is the difference between commercial invoices and all the other types of invoices?
  • How to make commercial invoices for export?
  • With downloadable for export commercial invoice template in all the forms to customize your invoice.
  • And more.

Let’s Dive In!

What Is A Commercial Invoice?

A commercial invoice is a contact invoice that works as proof of sales. The seller issues this type of invoice to the buyer to describe the goods, prices, value, and quantity. Although it is not a statement of ownership, it is necessary for customs clearance in international imports and exports.

A commercial invoice is a document that makes it easier for you to export packages through customs authorities. It prevents any delay in shipping your package. It also makes it easier for authorities to decide the import duties and taxes on the shipped package. 

Who Should Issue The Commercial Invoice?

The sellers or exporters are the ones who are responsible for issuing the commercial invoices to the buyers or importers. It works as legal proof of sale in international trade.

When is a commercial invoice required?

As We discussed, commercial invoices are required in international trade. Its main purpose is to ease the process of customs control and charges. 

But It depends on the countries entitled. As some countries make shipping and trade easy with their allies and though not require a commercial invoice. For example, exporting from the UK requires commercial invoices only to countries outside the EU.

In addition, few countries may require a certain format of commercial invoices. So, you need to be well aware of the local requirements of the countries’ customs. For example, it may be required to add the U.S. schedule B number, even the number of digits of the classification number.

On the other hand, other countries may require other additional documents besides the commercial invoices. For example, some require additional customs declarations such as the CN22, CN23, and/or CP71. Others may add to those the CO (Certificate of Origin) as an additional requirement.

So, you need to consult a specialist who is fully familiar with the regulations of the countries you are exporting to or importing from.

What is the importance of Commercial Invoices for international shipping?

There are many benefits of issuing and having commercial invoices for your sales. It is a legal document that testifies the sale transaction between the seller and the buyer. Other benefits are the following:

  • Legal Binding

Commercial invoices are legal documents that are necessary to maintain the records of exports and imports. In addition, it guarantees your payment and could work as a reminder for payments due.

  • Speeds up your shipping

The commercial invoice is an important factor when it comes to shipping. If done correctly, it could 2x speed up your transaction process and the operation in customs clearance. It avoids any possible delays and shipping pop-up issues.

  • No additional fees

When you speed up your package, it is less likely that the buyer would pay extra fees for delaying procedures.

  • Legal evidence of sale

The commercial invoice is the clearest evidence for sale as it contains detailed information about the products and the whole transaction.

  • Better Safety for exporters

The commercial invoices provide some additional protection for the seller in case of re-exporting. I mean, if the buyer wants to re-export the package to a prohibited end-user.

The Difference Between Commercial Invoices And Other Types Of Invoices

There are many types of invoices that people could refer to interchangeably with commercial invoices. Although there are similarities between some types of commercial invoices, there are other genuine differences.

Difference Between Commercial Invoice And Proforma Invoice

The commercial invoice is one of the closest invoices to the proforma invoice although they are used for different purposes. Both invoices are used for international transactions and contain detailed descriptions of the goods. But the main difference is the timing:

  • The proforma invoice is issued before shipping the goods. It is just a draft invoice sent to the buyer to ensure that both parties are on the same page. 
  • On the other hand, the commercial invoice is issued after the proforma invoice as a legally binding invoice for both parties.
The difference between the commercial invoice and the proforma invoice
Commercial Invoice Vs Proforma Invoice

Difference Between A Commercial Invoice And Cn22/Cn23?

When discussing the uses of the commercial invoices, we touched on these two shipping forms: Cn23 and cn22. They are mandatory forms to be attached to the packages that were transported by a postal company. 

  • The Cn22/Cn23 forms are used to give the customs authorities required information about the items in the shipping packages. Upon that, they will decide on the tax and import duties.
  • On the other hand, sometimes people confuse these two forms with commercial invoices. Although the commercial invoice also contains information about the goods, it also contains information about the buyer and the seller. 
  • If you want to avoid any delays, it is recommended to add both types; the commercial invoice, Cn22, and Cn22.

Difference Between A Commercial Invoice and Packing List

The packing list and commercial invoice contain almost identical information about the goods. They are also issued by the seller but they are used for extremely different purposes and different receivers. 

The commercial invoice:

  • It focuses more on the financial aspect of the transaction (payment, terms, payment methods .. etc). 
  • It is sent to the buyer who is entitled to pay for the goods. 

The Packing list:

  • Focuses more on the physical description of the goods.
  • Sent to the consignee (the receiver of the goods).
  • Helps solve the disputes that may arise during shipping lines and customs. 
  • It also ensures that all merchandise shipped is organized in a good manner to help the customs and stock keepers.

Difference Between A Commercial Invoice And A Bill of Lading

A bill of lading and commercial invoices are all used and necessary for international trade, although they differ. Whereas the commercial invoice is issued between the seller and the buyer to detail the payment and goods.

The bill of lading, on the other hand, imposes some differences:

  • It is considered a binding contract between the exporter and the shipping company that describes the details of the goods. It has nothing to do with the buyer.
  • This bill, unlike the commercial invoice, indicates the ownership of the sold goods to the exporter.
  • The content of both forms is different as each one handles a different angle of the transaction process.

Difference Between Commercial Invoices And Tax Invoices

Many exporters consider the commercial invoice to be similar to the tax invoice (also known as the VAT invoice). The reason for this misunderstanding is that they saw both invoices inform the buyer of the payment required. However, both invoices are used for different purposes.

A commercial invoice acts as the standard payment demand issued for the buyer after the delivery of goods. On the other hand, the VAT invoice imposes other differences:

  • They help the tax authorities to decide and process taxes for sale. 
  • They include additional information about the goods such as the goods and services tax (GST).

Difference Between A Commercial Invoice And Consular Invoice

A commercial invoice is similar to a consular invoice in terms of the content, but they genuinely differ. The consular invoice is a commercial invoice verified by the importing country’s consulate. Both invoices are identical, in essence, but they differ in practice and authorizing entity.

How To Add The Commercial Invoices To Your Shipment?

You normally need three versions of the commercial invoice:

  • One invoice for the buyer who receives the goods (better to be inside the package).
  • Another invoice for the country you ship from (attached with the packing list envelope outside the package).
  • the other invoice for the country you ship to (attached with the packing list envelope outside the package).

Note: It is better to also keep with you a copy of the commercial invoice (as well as all the other invoices, forms, and bills). These copies are sometimes needed if shipping issues pop up.

How To Make a Commercial Invoices For Export

There are many ways to make a commercial invoice online. You can use an easy commercial invoice generator to customize your invoice to suit the requirements. Or you can use downloadable commercial invoice templates (attached below) and edit a preferred template to fit your needs.

But you should first know what to include in your commercial invoice.

What Should Be Included In The Commercial Invoices?

Many requirements should be fulfilled in any commercial invoices, but there is no exact format for the successful implementation. However, there are guidelines that you need to answer when using any invoice template. The more guidelines fulfilled, the fewer delaying days.

  1. Transaction information:

You need to add all the basic information about the whole transaction, such as:

  • The unique invoice and order number.
  • Invoice date.
  • Unit and total sale amount.
  • Payment terms and the currency.
  1. Buyer and sellers information:

The commercial invoice should include details about both parties such as:

  • Basic information about both parties (name, address, phone number … etc).
  • Local address for both buyer and seller.
  • Terms and contract details. As well as notify party contact.
  • The tax identification number of the seller and the buyer (if a company and not the end-user).
  1. Shipping details:

This would include the reason for export (trade or gift for example). The shipping date and the shipping number. You also need to add the freight and insurance costs separately.

  1. Incoterms Details

The incoterms are 11 internationally accepted regulations that identify the payment responsibility of both seller and buyer. For example, the incoterms should include who is responsible for paying the insurance, customs clearance, and other logistical processes.

  1. Goods Description

It is recommended to add a detailed description of the goods exported:

  • Include not just the names of the products, but also a detailed description of their components.
  • Add the Item code (SKU number).
  • Add the quality and the quantity of the shipped items, and group similar items together.
  • Identify the country of origin of the products.
  • Add a specific net and gross weight of the products.
  1. Shipping Of The Merchandise Detail

You need to add detailed information about all aspects related to the merchandise:

  • Harmonized System (HS) Codes. (It is an internationally standardized numerical method that helps the customs authorities to classify the exported products. It also helps the authorities to process the taxes and duties for the sale.)
  • The Bill of Lading number (discussed above).
  • Forwarding agent (The company responsible for receiving and shipping the goods).
  1. Authorized Signature

You end the document with a nice authorized signature of the exporter.

Free Commercial Invoice Templates, Forms, and Examples For Export

Here are blank commercial invoice templates that can be customized to suit your needs. 

Note: Don’t forget to make a copy or download the version you like and then start editing these international invoice templates:

Free Commercial Invoice Software

You can easily create your commercial invoice using Onlineinvoices free commercial invoice software in a much easier way. We also offer a commercial invoice software/generator that is super easy, user-friendly, and covers the standard commercial invoice and the necessary information needed.

See You There!

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