Commercial Invoice, Packing List and Pro-forma Invoice: Samples & Complete Guide

Pro-forma invoice acts as a contract and is preliminary quotation for any trade. Commercial Invoice and Packing List are necessary for export of goods to file shipping bill and other necessary documents. It is always recommended to have a physical document with information regarding the transaction in case of any mishap. In addition, commercial invoice and Packing List are mandatory documents for export and import of goods.

Pro-Forma Invoice

is a quotation containing information issued by the seller to the customer concerning the goods before purchase. Further, it describes in detail the cost, shipping charges, shipment weight and so on. However, it is only issued when the seller is enquired by the customer before the actual transaction or a Commercial invoice. This invoice is not mandatory, nevertheless, it is a good practice to issue it with every transaction.

A Pro-forma Invoice contains the following details
  • Pro-forma Invoice No
  • Date and validity
  • Name and Address of the export company
  • Name and Address of the importer company and consignee
  • Details of the goods with packaging detail
  • Payment Terms
  • Stipulations and conditions of sale
  • Net Weight
  • Total Amount of Invoice
  • Specification of Goods
Find the Sample Pro-forma Invoice below

Commercial invoice

Commercial Invoice is a legal bill that stands as proof of the transaction between the customer and the supplier. Usually, it is the document required by customs to release the shipment. As it contains information on the shipment such as the value of the shipment, the number of units shipped and the conditions for sale between the parties. Also, is it very important for the information provided in the invoice to correspond to the packing list. The Pro-Forma invoice and the commercial invoice, though they look alike they are not entirely identical. One striking difference between the two is that one a pro-forma is issued the buyer can forfeit the deal. However, on issuing the Commercial invoice, the buyer is bound to his duties of the deal.

Commercial Invoice Contains the following:

  • List of Goods in the Shipment
  • Name and Address of the Seller
  • A detailed description of packaging (the type of container and shipment weight)
  • Name and Address of the Buyer
  • Respective quantity of goods
  • Name and Address of Consignee
  • Value of each Item
  • Final price, unit price, and other charges
  • Invoice number and date of invoice
  • IEC Code and GST Number
  • Terms of Sale
  • Payment Terms
  • Bank Details
  • GST Amount
Find the Commercial Invoice Sample below
Packing List

Packing List is a more informative and detailed description of the packed goods for import or export. It indicates the packing material used for packaging and the number of bags per master packaging. Markings, HS Code, Net Weight, Gross Weight and individual bags weight is necessary to be mentioned on the packing list. In addition, customs and shipping agents use packing list to determine the exact cargo weight and volume.

The Packing List Contains the Following
  • Invoice No and Date
  • Shipper Name and Address
  • Consignee Name and Address
  • Buyer Name and Address
  • HS Code
  • Marking
  • Net Weight
  • Gross Weight
  • Weight of Individual Item
  • Master Packing Weight
  • Type of Packaging
  • Date of Packaging
  • Date of Expiry of Goods (if applicable)
Find the Packing List Sample below
Few Significant Distinctions

Unlike the Pro-Forma invoice, the commercial invoice is mandatory for all exports and imports. Additionally, the price declared in the commercial invoice stands as the definitive non-negotiable cost of goods. Most importantly, the commercial invoice stands as a proof of goods.

In conclusion, failing to issue the commercial Invoice and packing list may result in the delay of shipment, no shipping of consignment in case of export or no entry of consignment in case of import.

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