For over 40 years, UK exporters have been using SITPRO standards, based on the UN Layout Key (UNLK), for their export documents. These standards were created to make it easy for businesses and regulatory authorities to check data, and have helped reduce the number of documents and the amount of data required for international trade. Although electronic/online services are replacing some traditional documents, there is still a requirement for paper documents to travel with the goods, or to convey information at their destination.
The Commercial Invoice remains a key document in an international transaction since it contains most of the information about your shipment. Unlike the Invoice used for payment purposes, the Commercial Invoice contains much more information about your shipment, such as the parties to the transaction, transport details, terms of delivery and payment, ancillary costs such as freight and insurance and a value for customs purposes. Information about the goods themselves including item descriptions and amounts, weights and dimensions, the origin of the goods being shipped and special declarations are also included on the Commercial Invoice.
If you are new to exporting, completing a Commercial Invoice online, is a good starting point for your export documents as it will guide you through the information you will need in order to ship your goods. This is also a good starting point for other documents you may need to produce, most of which will share the same header information and much of the other information about the shipment. If you need to produce other documents such as an Export Packing List, Advice of Shipment, a Standard Shipping Note (SSN) or a Dangerous Goods Note (DGN or IATA DGN), then you will already have created much of the data needed. To obtain certified Certificates of Origin, or an EUR1 or A.TR, you can simply send that same data to the e-z Cert service offered by all UK Chambers of Commerce.
If you want to check out what UN / SITPRO aligned documents look like then you can find them in e-z Consign and you can try completing them FREE of charge. You will only be charged if you decide you want to use the documents you have created to ship your goods. Once you publish your shipment then you can distribute documents by email and if you want a second opinion on whether they are correct, you can give an expert access to e-z Consign to check your documents before you use them.
Working online gives you so many choices on how to manage your export shipments, and the security of knowing that the UN / SITPRO documents will guide you through the information you need, and have a track record for doing the job, getting your goods moving and getting you paid.