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Trade pioneers and traders often get asked the question What documents are required for import? What documents are required to export to India?

Get your documents in place: An Import-Export documentation checklist

Trade pioneers and traders often get asked the following question: What documents are required for import? What documents are required to export to India? Is there an Indian set procedure for import-export documentation?

Therefore, we have decided to answer each of your questions individually, beginning with the first, which is a detailed and comprehensive checklist of all necessary import-export documentation required for your trade company.

One caution: The export and import of all items are not the same. They are divided into different sections. This means that the documents that pertain to these items may be different.

However, you can still follow the list of import-export documentation provided below. So, let’s get started!

Export documentation Checklist and Document Details

  • Shipping Bill – This is the first document that the Customs Authority requires to allow shipment. This document includes the following details: the buyer, seller, and shipowner.

  • Customs Declaration Form – This form lists the details of the goods being imported and exported when a visitor or citizen enters the country.

  • Dispatch note – This document describes the actions to be taken if the item being sent is returned undeliverable or if an incorrect address has been provided.

  • Commercial Invoice – The commercial invoice is between the exporter (or customer) and clearly describes the goods and the amount due. It is one of the most essential documents that customs use to calculate customs duties.

  • Customs Invoice – Countries such as the USA and Canada. This document is crucial. It is prepared in a specific form and presented by the Customs authorities from the importing country. It is used to facilitate the entry of goods into the importing countries at a preferential rate.

  • Legalized Invoice – This is a document that proves the legitimacy of a seller to the authority.

  • Certified invoice – A certified invoice is required by some countries, especially when goods are being shipped with a letter of credit. These invoices must be certified by a Chamber of Commerce prior to goods being dispatched. The Chamber of Commerce stamps the document after the exporter presents the invoice. The exporter submits the invoice to a Chamber of Commerce, who then stamps the document.

  • Packing list – This document details the intricacies of your export.

  • Certificate of Inspection – This certifies that the items have been inspected and are in good condition.

  • Black List Certificate – This certificate is needed if two countries do not share a cordial relationship. This certifies that the vehicle exported has not visited any of these countries in its travels. It also certifies that the goods are not being exported from these countries.

  • Certificate of Chemical Analysis – This certificate is needed to verify the quality of any exports of metals, pigments, or dyes.

  • Certificate of Shipment – It’s a document that certifies the export shipment contains goods that were produced, manufactured, or otherwise processed in a country.

  • Shipping Order – A Shipping Order (SO), is a document issued to the carrier by which a shipment’s booking has been confirmed on a vessel. An SO will provide details such as where the container is located for pickup and details about booking details, such as vessel number and sailing time.

  • Cart Ticket – Also called a cart card, a cart ticket can also be known as a cart chip. This is the document that the exporter prepares. It contains details about the vehicle number as well as the description of goods and quantity.

  • Shipment form – This form is submitted to the port customs officials. It advises on the shipment of short quantities of goods that are required for the return.

Some documents may need to be added at export. However, these documents are subject to change.

Import documentation Checklist and Document Detail Specifications

  • Bill of Entry- This is a legal document filed by customs clearance agents or importers on or prior to the arrival of imported products. It includes details such as the Packages and Quantity of the goods, Customs Duty, Additional Duty, and IGST. Once the form is filed, the customs officers examine the goods and issue a ‘pass out the order’. The goods can then be cleared of customs.

  • Commercial Invoice – This is the most important document required for customs clearance. The item’s quantity is then assessed and checked for value. This ensures that there is no over-invoicing.

  • Bill of Landing- This document details the details of the carrier and terms of delivery.

  • The Import License – Although not required to import all products at once, it is necessary for specific products.

  • Important document: The insurance certificate – This document allows customs officials to check if the selling price for an item includes insurance.

  • Purchase Order (PO) – This is the most crucial document needed for customs clearance. It contains all of the details necessary for assessment.

  • Supplemental literature (if applicable) – For the import of technical items such as machines, the functions, and details of each part must be described in a separate document.


After having mentioned all these, you will need to have some additional documents. These are case-specific. India’s import-export documentation procedures are easy if you have all the necessary documentation and are well-versed in the process. However, if you’re not familiar with the trade market, you might encounter a few hiccups. It is best to consult an Import Export Consultants who have experience in this field before proceeding. We offer all trade services, including consulting and advice, business setup, and trading. We can help you if you need any of these services.

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