Overview of documents accompanying the cargo

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Different documents are necessary for the international trade of goods include the following:

  • Papers issued by the consignor
  • Export documents of the country of origin
  • Import declaration
  • CMR - international waybill

Since Estonia joined the EU (in 2004), there is no need for neither export nor import declarations when crossing the country borders within EU anymore. In this case, having the following documents alongside will do:

  • CMR - international waybill
  • Packing List and Invoice (not obligatory, can be sent via e-mail).

Additional documents may be required in case of specific goods, e.g. alcohol and hazardous cargo.

Countries, where it’s still necessary to fill in export or import declarations in Europe are for example Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Andorra. TIR-type trailer (with the possibility to seal the whole load) is also required upon transport to/ from Russia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro.

The papers issued by the consignor certainly include the invoice, which is necessary for determining the customs value, as well as other documents or special permits verifying the quality of goods.

Export documents of the country of origin include the customs export declaration issued by the consignor, unless otherwise agreed with the transportation company.

NB! The third sheet of the cargo export declaration prepared by the consignor is to be returned to the consignor. Based on that sheet the consignor is able to prove that the goods have left the country and the consignor does not have to pay the VAT.

Import declaration - for further description of customs declarations and formalities, please refer to the chapter on Customs and Customs Formalities.

CMR is the international waybill, completed by the carrier on site. One copy of the said document shall be given to the consignor, one to the consignee and one to the carrier as a proof of the transportation executed. The original shall be sent to the client together with an invoice for transportation services. Sample CMR.

Cargo agreements

Cargo agreements may be divided in two: long-term and single cargo agreements. Long-term cargo agreements are considerably more detailed than the single agreements. Long-term agreements are generally concluded for a period of one year and they stipulate the rights and obligations of the parties in the given legal relationship. Single cargo agreement is generally a simple e-mail or fax, which in addition to the loading and unloading addresses includes the contact persons and telephone numbers, quantity of goods, loading date, desired (requested) unloading date and the agreed transportation price.

Customs and customs formalities

As mentioned above, the trade with the members of EU is relatively easy and the amount of documents accompanying the cargo is significantly smaller in that case than the amount of papers accompanying the cargo from/to non-EU members. In the latter case, be prepared for some additional paperwork.

Below you will find a brief description of customs formalities, the documents accompanying the cargo while importing and exporting. In order to not frighten you with the huge of amount of the necessary paperwork, it should be mentioned, that our expert customs brokers are kindly ready to help you with the documents.

The documents necessary while importing:

The cargo, yet without the customs clearance, from outside EU will reach to Estonia whether:

  • through other EU-countries, bonded warehouse, or customs terminal with transit declaration (T1), or;
  • straight from the non-EU countries with TIR-Carnet, and;
  • the movement of cargo to the inland customs house is also possible with the entry declaration (SD) from the border.

After that, import declaration is filled in. However, the goods may not be used before the final declaration (IM4) is prepared and customs charges (VAT, state duty, possible excise duties) are paid.

In addition to the above mentioned, the following documents are also needed for smooth customs clearance:

  • Invoice
  • CMR (the international waybill)
  • Packing List
  • The document confirming the country of origin (and often also allowing tax benefits) (EUR1, Form A, the certificate of origin)
  • In case of certain Incoterms (e.g. FCA, FOB, EXW), the transport invoice is also necessary
  • Some goods (e.g. edibles, groceries) require Phytosanitary Certificate for the border, or upon importing to EU, notification, that the goods meet the EU-norms.

The documents necessary while exporting:

For exporting from the European Union, the following possibilities can be used:

  • Transit declaration (T1),
  • TIR Carnet, or
  • The cargo will move to the EU border with the export declaration.

In the latter case, it’s important to confirm the border crossing (in a customs institution of the European Union a note is made on the customs declaration), which proves the act of export to the Tax and Customs Board.