What are customs forms and commercial invoices?

Customs forms and commercial invoices are crucial international documents that provide details about international transactions and help your packages get through customs. Properly completed forms for export helps customs authorities quickly decide which taxes and import duties apply to your package. Ultimately, this prevents the package from being unnecessarily delayed.

The term customs forms refer to the CN22, CN23, and CP72 forms you would typically get from your local post office. The term commercial invoice refers to the official transaction record between a shipper and a recipient when using a private carrier like UPS, FedEx, or DHL. When shipping internationally, you will use whichever form your carrier requires.

Private carriers often require you to print multiple copies of a commercial invoice and include them in a clear pouch on the outside of the parcel. For example, UPS international shipments require you print 3 copies of the commercial invoice to include on the package.

If you are unsure of the requirements around shipping internationally with a specific carrier, make sure to contact your carrier account manager for more details.

Learn how to create customs declarations in ShipStation.