Do You Ship Products Across Borders? You Need These Documents Legalized and Translated

Shipping products internationally is different than doing business domestically as important information will need to be conveyed to multiple parties, such as customs authorities, carriers, and foreign governments. 


Companies that expand their customer base by importing or exporting products to and from other countries must have the correct documentation. These documents may also need to be translated into the language of the foreign country and then approved by a local authority. If these documents aren’t processed correctly, it can result in shipping delays, fines, or the goods being seized.


Therefore companies need to research their target region and rules surrounding the product they are shipping thoroughly when expanding out of their home territory. We will look at some of the necessary documents for international trade and which ones typically require translating and legalization.



Common documents companies need to sell goods internationally

When shipping goods internationally, it is important to understand the documents required. There are several different documents and forms that need to be filled out correctly and completely for the shipment to reach its destination legally and without any issues or delays. 


Exporting goods internationally requires a lot of paperwork. At the most basic level, you will need an invoice, insurance certificate, and Certificate of Origin as your fundamental documents for any shipment. But exporting to different countries will require more documents based on what you are shipping and how.


Let’s take a closer look at some of the common documents you will need when shipping internationally:


Commercial Invoice

This essential document includes detailed information about the item being shipped, including a description of the items, the price, and the contact information of the buyer and seller. This document serves as proof of purchase and allows customs agents to determine if any duties or taxes are due on the shipment. The invoices must be accurate for customs clearance procedures to go smoothly.


Certificate of Origin

In most cases, a certificate of origin must accompany the shipment serving as an official statement of where the particular goods are produced. These certificates must be recognized by a governing authority to assure the importing country that all necessary regulations have been adhered to and that the shipment complies with any free trade agreements, regulations, and duties. There can also be additional country-specific certificates of origin.


Insurance Certificate

Having a valid Certificate of Insurance is crucial to minimizing the potential impact of the risk associated with international shipments. Without it, businesses may not be covered for losses or damages that occur during transit, may face higher duties due to incorrect product classification, as well unforeseen delays at customs.


Export License 

This document authorizes the export of specific items abroad. Government agencies review each application and determine whether the individual or business is qualified to receive it. Once an export license has been issued, companies can proceed with their international shipment knowing that they comply with applicable laws and regulations. 


Obtaining these documents efficiently and correctly is essential for businesses engaging in cross-border trade, but this is only the first step.


Inspection Certificate

For certain buyers and international destinations, an inspection certificate is required to ensure that the products meet quality standards. A reliable third party or independent testing organization typically performs these inspections with precision to guarantee ideal results.


Gathering these essential documents is often only the first step, and they may also need legalization and translation once they are procured.


Documents that may need to get legalized and translated to ship goods

Once issued, documents such as certificates of origin, inspection and insurance certificates, and export shipping documents must be officially authenticated to make sure global trading practices are being met.


Translation and legalization are required so that the receiving government entity can be sure that it isn’t a fake document. This process will differ slightly depending on the country and items being exported, meaning it can easily become a complex and time-consuming endeavor, particularly if the company ships globally or has a high volume of orders to deal with.


For example, if a company is shipping bike helmets from The Netherlands to Argentina, then all of the regulations and manufacturing details of the helmets will need to be translated into Spanish. They will also need to be legalized in The Netherlands before being shipped to Argentina, as required by the Argentinian government.


There are also industry-specific certifications that may need to be procured. In the instance of pharmaceutical or food shipping, approval will be needed from government agencies such as the European Medicines Agency or the United States Food and Drug Administration (or their equivalents). All the details of the medicine or the food will need to be registered and approved in the country you are shipping to. These documents will also need to go through the translation and legalization process.


So how can companies simplify this process and focus on their sales?



Lex Documents can help with import and export document legalization and translation.

Lex Documents offers businesses support with the movement of goods and international trade. With decades of expertise in global mobility solutions, we not only facilitate the cross-border movement of people but also assist companies in easily and quickly carrying out their cross-border business transactions.


We can offer both translation and legalization services so businesses don’t have to negotiate with multiple entities to get the job done. Our experienced and knowledgeable team ensures that international trade is carried out efficiently and compliantly. 


Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you with your international import and export requirements.


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