7 documents you need as part of Australia’s export requirements

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When exporting products from one country to another, there are a number of important documents that must be obtained to ensure a smooth and legal transaction. By following the necessary export requirements, businesses can avoid delays and tap into new markets with confidence.

E-commerce sales have been steadily growing over the past few years. In fact, according to eMarketer’s Global E-commerce Sales Growth Report, global e-commerce sales are projected to total US$5.5 trillion in 2022, and this number is only going to continue to grow in the coming years. If you have plans to tap into e-commerce and expand your business into international markets, it is also important to take into account the relevant export requirements. 

Exporting products from Australia to a foreign country can be a complex process, and there are a variety of documents that will be required in order to complete a shipment. Some of these documents needed to clear customs include: commercial licence, bill of lading, Certificate of Origin, and insurance certificates. In many cases, it is also necessary to apply for an import and export licence or obtain permission from the relevant authorities before exporting. 

Before shipping your goods out of Australia, here are some of the documents you may need to ensure a hassle-free export process: 

1. Export declaration

For starters, all exports from Australia are subject to customs control. As part of the Australian Border Force’s (ABF) export requirements, an export declaration or exemption code is required for all goods leaving Australia, with a few exceptions. This means that the ABF must be notified of goods that:

  • Have a value of more than AUD$2,000

  • Require an export permit

  • Are dutiable or excisable goods where the duty or excise duty is unpaid

  • Have a duty drawback that is being claimed

The ABF will assess the goods to ensure that they meet all the necessary requirements for export. If the goods are found to be compliant, they are cleared for export and a permit is issued. 

2. Import licence

In addition to getting an export permit in Australia, you may also need to apply for an import licence from the relevant governmental authority in your destination country. The process and requirements for obtaining an import licence vary from country to country, but generally, include the submission of a completed application, supporting documentation, and a fee. Once the application is approved, your business will be granted an import licence that allows you to export goods from Australia to your country of choice. Import licences typically need to be renewed on a regular basis, and businesses may need to reapply if they make changes to their operations.

For examples on how to register and get an import licence, you can learn more about the process when you have decided on the countries you want to do business with. For instance, when exporting to China, the application process for an import licence will be with the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). On the other hand, you will only need an Import Export Code (IEC) from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) when shipping goods into India. An import licence will only be required if you are shipping restricted, canalised or prohibited goods.

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3. Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice is a document that is used to provide information about a shipment of goods. The invoice will typically include a description of the goods, the total value of the shipment, information about the shipper and the correct Harmonised System Code. Maintained by the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the Harmonised System (HS) is an internationally standardised numerical method for the classification of products traded between countries. Comprising six to 10 digits, be sure to determine the correct HS code for your goods and include this information on your commercial invoice.   

4. Bill of lading

A bill of lading (BoL) is a legal export trade document that lists the items being shipped, the names of the sender and shipping company, and other important information. It serves as a receipt for the sender and as a contract between the sender and the carrier. The BoL also specifies the terms of transportation, such as the mode of transportation, the route, and any special instructions. In the event of damage or loss, the BoL can also be used to file an insurance claim.

5. Air waybill

An air waybill is a type of BoL that accompanies goods shipped by air. As per export requirements, the air waybill typically includes information about the shipper, the consignee, and the route of the shipment. Your air waybill should also have details about the contents of the shipment and instructions for its handling. In addition, this document will include an air waybill number, which is used to track the shipment. The air waybill is an important part of the shipping process, and it is essential that all information be accurate and up-to-date.

6. Certificate of origin

A certificate of origin (CO) is a document that certifies that your product is wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. CO forms are required for many international shipments in order to comply with country-specific import regulations. In addition, the CO must be accompanied by a bill of lading and other supporting documents.

7. Insurance certificate

Finally, obtaining an insurance certificate for your shipment is always a good idea. They provide proof of insurance coverage in the event that a shipment is lost or damaged. This ensures that the buyer or consignee will be compensated for any goods that fail to reach their destination. It also protects the shipper from any liability if something happens to the shipment. 

Start exporting

In today's increasingly connected world, consumers have more choices than ever before. It is important for businesses to differentiate themselves in order to stay competitive. To simplify the customs preparation process so that your shipments reach your customers quickly, consider engaging a global express delivery provider like DHL Express and focus on growing your e-commerce orders instead. 

With DHL Express, you can easily create your DHL air waybill online when it comes to exporting goods and shipping to your customers overseas. Learn how you can ship large items fast and improve your customer experience with a great delivery strategy today.