What is an Invoice in Foreign Trade?

When it comes to foreign trade and international logistics, the term “Invoice” is widely used and represents an essential document for formalizing and proving the purchase and sale of services and products between countries. In this article, we will explore in detail what an Invoice is, what information should be included, its importance, and how to issue this document in the context of international trade.

What is an Invoice?

The Invoice, also known as a Commercial Invoice, is an accounting and legal document used in foreign trade. Its purpose is to record the transaction of buying and selling goods and services between companies and customers located in different countries. This invoice formalizes the commercial agreement and serves as evidence of the operation, being required by customs and fiscal authorities for the clearance of goods in import or export.

In short, the Invoice is a detailed record that documents essential information about the international transaction, ensuring legal compliance and security for both parties involved in the business.

What should be included in an Invoice?

An Invoice in foreign trade must contain detailed and accurate information to ensure the correct identification of goods and facilitate the customs process. The information that should be included in the document includes:

  • Full name and address of both parties: The details of the Invoice issuer (seller) and the recipient (buyer) must be clearly specified.
  • Date of issuance and validity: The Invoice must have a clear issuance date and a validity period, indicating the duration during which the invoice is valid.
  • Complete product description: The goods must be described in detail, preferably using the Common Mercosur Nomenclature (NCM) to ensure correct fiscal classification.
  • Currency, unit value, and total value: The unit value of each commodity and the total value of the operation in foreign currency must be provided.
  • Quantity and weight: The quantity and weight of the goods should be clearly expressed to facilitate goods verification.
  • Payment method: The payment method should be indicated on the Invoice.
  • Terms or conditions of sale (Incoterms): The sales terms, also known as Incoterms, which define the responsibilities and obligations of each party during the transportation and delivery of goods, should be mentioned.
  • Loading and unloading locations: The places where the goods will be loaded and unloaded should be clearly specified.
  • Type of transportation used: The mode of transportation used for sending the goods should be indicated.
  • Banking information: Banking information for payment should be provided.
  • Issuer’s signature: The Invoice should be signed by the issuer to authenticate the document.

How to Issue an Invoice?

The issuance of the Invoice can be carried out by professionals specialized in foreign trade, such as customs brokers or freight agents. However, there are various tools and templates available for companies to issue the document on their own.

Some free tools available for creating an Invoice include “Free Invoice Generator by Shopify,” “Invoice Generator,” and “Incomee.” Additionally, text editing software like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel can also be used to create a customized Invoice template.

Importance of Invoice in Foreign Trade

The Invoice is an essential document in foreign trade, as it not only formalizes the commercial transaction but also serves as the basis for calculating import and export taxes and for customs clearance. The correct issuance of the Invoice ensures the legality of the operation and prevents issues with regulatory authorities.


The Invoice, or Commercial Invoice, is an indispensable document in international trade, acting as legal proof of the commercial transaction between companies located in different countries. Its correct issuance, with all necessary information and in compliance with customs and fiscal regulations, is crucial to ensure the security and efficiency of import and export operations.

By using available tools or relying on specialized professionals, companies can ensure the proper preparation of the Invoice, contributing to a more agile and successful international logistics.

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To learn more about our innovative solutions, visit our website and follow us on social media. There, you will find relevant content about foreign trade, logistics, and the supply chain. We are ready to drive the success of your company in the global market. Join us and discover how we can make a difference for your business.