What documents do you need for an export shipment?

Various documents are required for the international transportation of goods. The most commonly used international transport documents are the proforma invoice (or commercial invoice), the packing list, the air waybill, the bill of lading and other export licenses required by the respective country.

Commercial invoice

Commercial invoice: This document contains detailed information about the goods sold and is used to determine the value of the goods and to calculate customs duties and taxes.

Shipping or transport document

 Shipping or transport document: This is usually a bill of lading, air waybill or a consignment note (CMR), depending on the type of shipment. This document serves as proof that the goods have been shipped and provides information about the sender, the recipient, the carrier, the date and the place of shipment.

Export declaration

 Export declaration: These documents are required in some countries and are used to authorize the export of goods and to monitor foreign trade.

Certificate of origin

Certificate of origin: This document provides information about the origin of the goods and is used to check trade preferences and calculate customs duties.

Export license

Export license: Some goods require an export license in order to be exported, especially sensitive goods such as weapons or chemicals.

Certificate of analysis

A certificate of analysis may also be required to confirm the chemical composition of goods. For animal and agricultural products such as food, wood, textiles and live animals, a health certificate, attestation or certificate is required to officially confirm that these products are free from epidemics and diseases.


 When transporting excise goods through Germany, timely registration is required for participation in the electronic procedure.


Depending on the countries involved and the goods to be transported, further specific documents and permits may be required. It is advisable to check with the relevant authorities before transporting goods internationally to ensure that all necessary documents are available and that the legal requirements are met.

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