Documents Required for Import or Export

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Documents Required for Import or Export

The Government of India recently made ‘Ease of Business’ a more streamlined process. One of the steps was to reduce the number of documents required for export-import. The documents required are not the same for all product’s exports/imports. To import or export goods into India, the following mandatory documents are prescribed per the Foreign Trade Act 1992.

Import Export Code (IEC)

The Import Export Code is a primary document necessary for commencing Import-export activities. The IE code is to be obtained for exporting or importing goods or services.IEC has numerous benefits for the growth of the business. Indeed, you cannot ignore the necessity of IE code registration, as it is mandatory. You can apply for an Import Export code through IndiaFilings and obtain it within 6 to 7 days.

Documents Required for Export of Goods

It requires the following documents for the export of goods from India:

  • Bill of Lading / Air Way Bill
  • Commercial invoice-cum-packing list
  • Shipping ill or Bill of Export

Documents Required for Import of Goods

It requires the following documents for the import of goods into India:

  • Bill of Lading / Air Way Bill
  • Commercial invoice-cum-packing list
  • Bill of Entry

In addition to the above documents, Import Export Code (IE Code) would always be required to undertake an import or export transaction.

World Bank’s 2015 Report listed mandatory documents respectively for export and import to India.

Export of Goods

The below following documents are for the Export of Goods.

  • Shipping Bill
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading
  • Foreign Exchange  Control Form (SDF)
  • Terminal Handling Receipt
  • Technical Standard Certificate

Import of Goods

The below following documents are for the Import of Goods.

  • Bill of Entry
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of Lading
  • Foreign Exchange Control Form (Form A-1)
  • Terminal Handling Receipt
  • Certified Engineer’s Report
  • Cargo Release Order
  • Product Manual
  • Inspection report

Bill of Lading

A Bill of Lading is a legal document between a shipper and a carrier that specifies the type, quantity, and destination of the goods being carried. The bill is also a shipment receipt when the carrier delivers goods at the predetermined destination. This document accompanies the shipped goods, not considering the mode of transportation. An authorized carrier representative, shipper, and receiver must sign it.

Click here to learn more about the Types of Bills of Lading

Shipping Bill or Bill of Export

To acquire clearance for export from the Customs, an exporter must apply called the ‘shipping bill.’ One cannot load the goods unless the exporter files the shipping bill. The export may be by air, vehicle, or vessel. The goods can only be taken on board if the goods are accompanied by certain documents as described below:

At the seaport/ airport Shipping bill
At the land customs station Bill of export
For goods transshipment Bill of transshipment.

A shipping bill is to be submitted electronically. However, the Principal Commissioner or the Commissioner may grant an exemption and accept a physical application where electronic submission is not feasible. A shipping bill has various forms which are differentiated by color. The color schemes denote the following:

Sr. No. Form Name Colour
1. Dutiable Goods Yellow
2. Duty-free goods White
3. Goods with drawback claims Green
4. Goods allowed to be exported as duty-free ex-bond Pink
5. Export goods under DEPB Scheme Blue

Click here to learn more about the Shipping Bill or Bill of Export

Bill of Entry

When goods are imported, a legal document is filed by the importer or a customs agent on their arrival. This legal document is called a bill of entry. The bill of entry forms an essential part of the customs clearance procedure and is submitted to the customs department.

Click here to learn more about the Bill of Entry.

Other Documents for Import or Export

In addition to the documents mentioned above, for import or export of specific goods or categories of goods that are subject to restriction or require specific compliance (for instance, FSSAI license for food products or Drug Controller for pharma products), then such a regulatory authority can notify additional documents for import or export.

Further, the regulator can request additional documents or information, as deemed necessary, to ensure legal compliance on a case-to-case basis.

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