Essential export documents
1. Commercial Invoice:
- Purpose: A commercial invoice serves as a bill from the seller (exporter) to the buyer (importer). It is a critical document for customs clearance and payment purposes.
- Contents: The commercial invoice must include the complete names and addresses of the buyer, seller, and manufacturer, a detailed description of the products with quantities, Harmonized System (HS) codes of the goods, total value per item, the country of origin, and a statement and signature certifying that the invoice is true.
2. Certificate of Origin:
- Purpose: The certificate of origin is a document indicating where products being imported were manufactured, produced, or grown. It ensures that products originating in certain countries get the preferential treatment to which they are entitled.
- Issuing Authority: Certificates of origin are usually issued by exporting countries’ state agencies or chambers of commerce.
- Contents: The certificate of origin includes information such as contact information for the importer, exporter, and producer; the basis for which preferential treatment is claimed; and a description of the imported merchandise.
3. Bill of Lading or Airway Bill:
- Purpose: The bill of lading is a contract between the owner of the products and the carrier. It serves as proof of ownership and facilitates the release of goods to the buyer.
- Types: There are two main types of bills of lading:
- A straight bill of lading, which is non-negotiable.
- The negotiable or shipper’s order bill of lading, which can be bought, sold, or traded while goods are in transit and is used for letter-of-credit transactions.
- For Air Shipments: For air carriers, the bill of lading is known as an airway bill.
4. Export Packing List:
- Purpose: An export packing list provides detailed information about the contents of each package and their weights. Customs officials use it to verify consignments at inspection points.
- Contents: The export packing list specifies the material in individual packages and shows their net, legal, tare, and gross weights in both U.S. and metric values. It is usually attached to the outside of the package in a clearly marked waterproof envelope.
5. AGOA Textile Visa (Textiles Certificate of Origin):
- Purpose: AGOA Textile Visa is specifically required for textile and apparel exports under AGOA. It certifies that the textile or apparel product meets AGOA eligibility criteria.
- Issuing Authority: Textile visas are typically issued by relevant authorities in Uganda, such as the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Cooperatives.
- Requirements: To obtain an AGOA Textile Visa, the exporter must provide detailed information about the product, including its origin and compliance with AGOA regulations.
6. Manufacturers Certificate for AGOA Visa (if applicable):
- Purpose: This certificate is needed for certain products to confirm their eligibility for AGOA benefits.
- Issuing Authority: Similar to the AGOA Textile Visa, manufacturers’ certificates may be issued by relevant Ugandan authorities.
7. Phytosanitary Certificate (if applicable):
- Purpose: For agricultural products, especially plants and other agricultural items