What Documents Do I Need?

Be prepared before you ship!

Along with a shipping label, shipments may also need other documents such as a customs invoice or destination specific documents to accompany the shipment. 
A shipping label contains all the information DHL needs to know to keep your package moving through the network to its ultimate destination. A shipping label is commonly referred to as a waybill.
Information typically included on a label:
  • Shipper’s and Receiver’s information, such as phone number, mailing address and email address
  • A full description of the shipment contents – what the goods are and quantity of each included
  • Shipment details including the number of packages in the shipment, total weight of the shipment and dimensions
  • Desired transit and supporting services, including shipment protections
  • Payment for services as well as destination duties and taxes
  • If the shipment is dutiable (non-document), the value of the goods and associated codes
  • When required, an export license number, the receiver’s VAT (Value-Added Tax number) or shipper’s EIN (Employer Identification Number)

Customs invoice (Commercial/Proforma) details are provided by the shipper and is used for declaring relevant information to customs authorities for clearance purposes. The details assist the customs authorities in assessing and determining the applicable duties and taxes, conduct risk assessments and other relevant procedures.

Customs invoice details should include all the key information and complete commodity details for efficient and timely customs clearance. Some key data elements include (but not limited to) are:

  • Shipper/exporter and receiver/importer address and contact details
  • Identification number and/or tax ID for the shipper and/or the receiver
  • Breakdown of transaction costs, such as goods value, insurance, freight and packaging
  • Currency code used in the transaction
  • Incoterm and place applied
  • Reason for the export, such as sale, gift, return, sample
Each commodity in the shipment must be listed with these details
Each commodity in the shipment must be listed with these details
  • Description of good in precise and plain language
  • Harmonized System (HS) code

  • Country of Origin (where the item was produced or manufactured)

  • Quantity, Unit of Measure

  • Weight

  • Value

As needed requirements should be documented
As needed requirements should be documented
  • Proof of Origin Statement
  • Export/Import Permits, Licenses and Certificates
  • Other Government Requirements
Invoice Types
Invoice Types

There are two different types of invoices required for customs clearance: Commercial or Proforma. The invoice you use depends on the purpose of the shipment and regulations of the countries involved. 
Commercial Invoice
  • Generally used when items shipped are part of a commercial transaction (between the buyer and seller of the goods)
Proforma Invoice
  • Typically used when items shipped have not been purchased and are not intended for resale, like personal items, gift or a return shipment
  • Use of Proforma invoice is subject to regulations of countries involved
Some shipments may require a General Sanctions and Export Controls Warranty and Indemnity Letter.
View More About Sanctions Restrictions 
View More About Sanctions Restrictions 

It is DHL's policy to comply with applicable international trade laws including relevant export control and sanctions restrictions. In parallel with our trade compliance measures, DHL generally does not accept payments for shipments (or other transactions) outside of the United States in U.S. Dollars for U.S. sanctioned countries. (i.e. Cuba, Crimea, Iran, Syria and North Korea).
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