What is Export Invoice & Its Types?

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An invoice includes the list of goods sent and a statement of the sum due to a bill. The role of an invoice in any export process is vital to describe the start to finish of the export transaction. 

International trading is a way to expand your business abroad and earn money in dollars. But, doing business abroad is not as easy as it sounds. A lot of paperwork is included in the task of exporting goods and products. 

An export invoice is one of the documents you must have to do business with foreign countries. This document states all the necessary information to the buyer, shipment forwarder, customs, the bank, and other parties involved in international trade. 

Read More: Move Abroad Hassle-Free With Certificate Attestation

If your export invoice has loopholes, it can put you in trouble, and shipment delays. 

The invoices you use for international trade include crucial information contrary to the invoices you use for domestic sales. Due to incomplete export invoices, exporters’ shipments are stuck in customs, and they face issues getting paid.

Sometimes newcomers in international trade get trapped in trouble because of their incomplete or complicated export invoices. Or lack of information about an export invoice and its types. 

What is Export Invoice?

An export invoice is a document that the seller uses to mention the details of the export goods’ number, size, value, and weight. This international trade document helps government officers calculate and assess customs duties and taxes. 

Types of Invoices in Export 

There are five types of invoices that businesses use for international trade, and they are:

1. Commercial Invoice

This export invoice is commonly known as Documents of Contents because it provides you with the information necessary for the preparation of all other documents needed for international trade. 

It is the seller’s bill for products or goods sold by him. There is no standard format companies use to create commercial invoices. Your commercial invoice for export should contain the following details. 

  • Date
  • Name & Address of Seller & Customer,
  • Order No.
  • Contract No.
  • Performa Invoice No.
  • Quantity and quality of the goods
  • Terms of sales
  • Port of shipment & destination
  • Value of the goods
  • Advance payment details (If Any)
  • Shipping mark or number on packages

2. Performa Invoice

It is a document the seller sends to the prospective foreign buyer to give clear information about the type, quality, value, and weight of goods. On the same side, a Performa invoice includes the transportation charges. This export invoice, with a quotation, is accepted by the buyer once he acknowledges it by sending the purchase order.

3. Consular Invoice

If you are the seller of the goods to foreign countries, the importer country embassy or consular issues a consular invoice prior to your goods being sent abroad. 

This export invoice provides an accurate record of the type of goods shipped abroad, along with the merchandise quantity, value, and other vital information. The other main reasons for using consular invoices are:

  • Facilitate the fixing of duties in the Importer’s country
  • Speeds up the inspection process in the Importer’s country 

4. Customs Invoice

It is to do export business in countries like the USA, Canada, etc. The Counsel office of the importer country provides the format of customs invoices to traders. The purpose of this export invoice is to give information about the customs import value at the port of destination.

The information described on the customs invoice is similar to the content in the commercial invoice seller except for the Freight value, Insurance Value, Packing costs, etc.

5. Legalised Invoice

It is a type of export invoice stamped and attested by the counsel of the Importer country present in the exporter’s country. The only difference between a consular invoice and a legalized invoice is in the prescribed format, unlike a consular invoice. This last export invoice is generally used in the eastern countries.

Read More: Commercial Document Attestation

Now you have gained the best knowledge about what export invoice is and the types of invoices. Let’s read about the different international exports. 

What are the Different International Exports?

Direct Export 

For instance, if you have good exports in a foreign country, and you, with your marketing team, manage to generate leads and potential customers to buy your goods abroad, you export your goods abroad directly to the consumer. It is called Direct export. You are directly selling, and your customer is directly purchasing from you.

It is b2c marketing. The benefit of doing direct export is that you get the 100%  advantages of direct exporting for your goods. No one is there to control the export process and share higher profits. There is a recruiter between you and your customer. 

You can maintain a closer relationship with your overseas customers and attract opportunities to learn what you can practice, boosting your skills and pitching to people to generate more leads for your business. 

Indirect Export

For instance, you have appointed a third party or an agent to represent your company and sell your products abroad. It is an indirect export. In indirect export, communication, and business between you and your customer are performed through a middle agent or distributor. 

Due to the involvement of third parties in indirect export, you can focus on the marketing part of your business. In indirect export, you might feel free from the concern of the shipment and accomplishment of other vital tasks linked with international trade. 

Merchant Export 

In merchant export, you buy goods from the local manufacturer and export them to the international market. 

A merchant exporter is responsible for dealing with all the botheration involved in sales and credit risks. You pay directly to the manufacturers against the purchase price of their goods. 


International export is a way to expand your business to different countries by selling products or goods. It is a way for customers to get chances to try a variety of goods from abroad. On the same side, an exporter grows his business on an international platform. Export invoices are vital to keeping business-related information crystal clear with exporters and buyers countries.