Commercial Invoice

What is a commercial invoice?

A commercial invoice is normally sent with products that are imported or exported for the purpose of being sold, meaning products that require a payment.

When should a commercial invoice be sent?

When shipping outside of the EU, you are required to include a so-called customs invoice. There are two types of customs invoices: proforma invoice and commercial invoice. You can easily create them via the PostNord platform.

A commercial invoice is similar to a ‘normal’ invoice, because it’s included when importing or exporting products meant to be sold. A proforma invoice, on the other hand, is a form of value specification for products that don’t require any payment (gifts, returns, test products).

The difference between a commercial invoice and proforma invoice:

  • Commercial invoice: sent with products that require payment
  • Proforma invoice: sent with products that don’t require payment

Customs declaration

A customs declaration consists of a special form on which you must provide information about the contents of a shipment. The declaration must, among other things, include information on the type of product, value, restrictions, and customs fees. When importing or exporting products outside the borders of the EU you must send a customs declaration to Tullverket.

See also: How long does a customs declaration take?

What should a commercial invoice contain?

When sending products outside the Nordic countries, the commercial invoice must be in English. In other cases, you can write it in Swedish. The following information must always be included:

  • Information about sender/receiver: name, address, postal address
  • EORI number: your registration number which acts as the company ID inside the EU
  • Invoice address: who the invoice is meant for
  • Payment instructions: who is to pay customs fees, etc.
  • Delivery address: must include organisation number (internationally called VAT number)
  • Issue date of the invoice: the date when the invoice was created
  • Invoice number: for commercial invoices, the same invoice number as on the payment invoice is used
  • Information about the shipment: number of units, specific instructions, gross weight, net weight, etc.
  • Total sum: must include VAT (6%, 25%, etc.)
  • Payment information: account number, due date, OCR number, BIC/Swift, etc.

Send commercial invoices using PostNord’s business tool

Using PostNord’s smart business tool, Skicka Direkt Business, will save you time and resources. Actions that normally take a lot of time can be automated, like notifications and the scheduling of shipping. You can also easily and efficiently gather information and categorise shipments, for example by “International shipments”, “Paid/unpaid invoices”, “Returns”, and so on. All to simplify logistics for you!

Learn more about customs

More articles on the subject can be found on our Customs page.

Frequently asked questions about commercial invoices

What’s the difference between a commercial invoice and a proforma invoice?

A commercial invoice is used for products that are exported or imported to be sold, while a proforma invoice is used for products that don’t require any payment. The latter is sent ‘for formality’s sake’.

Do I always need to send a customs invoices, and if so, why?

The purpose of a customs invoice is to simplify the work of customs authorities, so yes, you must always include a customs invoice. There are two types of customs invoices and you need to use the one that matches the contents of your shipment: commercial invoice or proforma invoice.

Do I always need to write commercial invoices in English?

No, it’s only when delivering outside of the Nordic countries that you need to fill out your commercial invoices (customs invoices) in English. In other cases, you can write them in Swedish (or another relevant language).