List of Documents Required to Export Goods from India.

. 6 min read
List of Documents Required to Export Goods from India.

Small and medium-sized business owners or entrepreneurs often find themselves in a constant dilemma on the documents required for export. Those who are in the export business know that the rules related to the export of goods are ever-changing. Therefore, it is challenging to keep a track of the rules. Moreover, exporting goods from India requires a lot of documentation. In India, the Foreign Trade Act 1992 lays down the procedure and documents required for the import and export of goods. The documents required depend on the type of product and its destination. That said, many common documents are required. We have prepared a list of documents that you would typically need to export goods from India. Our aim through this post is to enlighten business owners and entrepreneurs on the documents required for the export of goods from India.

Do refer to the table given below for the checklist of documents required to export goods from India:


Documents required for export

Bill of lading/Airway bill/Lorry receipt/Railway receipt/Postal receipt

Commercial invoice cum packing list

Shipping bill/Bill of export/Postal bill of export

Proforma invoice

Export order/Purchase order

Commercial invoice

Certificate of origin

Bill of exchange

Letter of credit

Certificate of inspection

Phyto-sanitary certificates and fumigation certificates

Marine insurance policy

Mate’s receipt

FEMA declaration 

Let export order

Other documents

#1. Bill of lading/Airway bill/Lorry Receipt/Railway Receipt/Postal receipt

The bill of lading is proof of a contractual agreement between the shipper and the exporter. It specifies the quantity and condition of the goods. It is an important document for the export of goods. If you are transporting your goods via aircraft, you will need an airway bill. Similarly, for transportation via roads, a lorry receipt or a postal receipt applies.

#2. Commercial invoice cum packing list

Presently, exporters can merge the commercial invoice and the packing list into one document. The commercial invoice gives details on the sales, and the packing list contains the quantity and specifications of the goods. This document helps the customs authorities to assess the value of the goods and their applicable duty.

#3. Shipping bill/Bill of export/Postal bill of export

A shipping bill is an application made by the exporter to the customs authority for the export of goods. This document is required to load the goods onto the ship or aircraft. Similarly, at land customs stations, a bill of export is required.

Proforma Invoice written on orange paper note pinned on cork board with white thumbtack

#4. Proforma Invoice

A proforma invoice is a legal document given by the exporter. It is a commercial document required to export goods from India. This document contains details on the payment terms, date of delivery, and rate of the goods.

#5. Export order/Purchase order

The buyer places his order for export, based on the proforma invoice (mentioned in the previous point). He specifies details of the quantity, quality, and other details in the export order/purchase order document. The exporter, based on this document, prepares his consignment for export.

#6. Commercial Invoice

Post receipt of the export/purchase order, the exporter can finalise the commercial invoice. This legal document contains details such as the address of the buyer, bank details, amount, nature of goods, and other relevant information.

#7. Certificate of Origin

This document states the origin of the product. Currently, exporters are permitted to give a self-declared certificate of origin. It can also be attached with the commercial invoice and submitted.

#8. Bill of Exchange

Bill of exchange is a negotiable instrument issued by the exporter on its letterhead and given to the buyer. It contains details of the shipment, amount receivable, and the time of payment. This is a valuable document required when you are exporting goods.

#9. Letter of Credit

We may not directly require this document to export goods from India. However, a letter of credit is an essential document. It is issued by the buyer's bank, which undertakes prompt payment of the amount on expiry of the credit period.

#10. Certificate of Inspection

If you want to export only high-quality goods, we recommend that you obtain a certificate of inspection. The approving authority grants this certificate only after a thorough inspection and satisfaction with the quality of the goods. In certain cases, this certificate can be given through self-declaration.

#11. Phytosanitary certificates and fumigation certificates

Certain countries mandate the requirement of these safety certificates. As a result, certain buyers may insist on them. These are certificates that show the goods are free from pests and meet international standards in terms of quality. As an exporter, you may need this certificate to export goods, depending on the rules of the country of import.

#12. Marine Insurance policy

A marine insurance policy is an important document required for export as it provides coverage in the event of damage to goods. As an exporter, it is crucial to take a good maritime insurance policy to safeguard your business in the occurrence of an unfortunate event.

#13. Mate’s Receipt

The officer of the vessel issues this document. It is prima facie evidence that they have loaded the goods onto the ship. Here, it is important to note that the mate's receipt is not a document that gives the title of the goods.

#14. FEMA Declaration

In this document, the exporter gives an undertaking that he has complied with all the rules and regulations of export as laid down under the FEMA Act 1999.

#15. Let Export Order

On successful completion of the customs clearance procedure, the customs officer issues the let export order. This document, which is required for export, is proof of completion of all formalities related to export.

document management concept with icons on virtual screen

#16. Other documents

Besides the documents mentioned above, you will also require the following documents:

  • Import Export Code (IEC)
  • Registration Cum Membership Certificate (RCMC)
  • A bank account to receive foreign remittances


Recently, the Indian government introduced various policies to promote the export of goods from India. We are reaping the benefits of these policies in the form of increased foreign exchange reserves and economic growth. One of the major steps taken is to reduce the number of documents required. All these measures are positive news for small and medium business owners or entrepreneurs. It is difficult to gather all the documents required for the export of goods. That said, there has never been a more favourable time for exporters in India than now.

We hope that our post on the list of documents required to export goods will help you and your business with all your logistics queries. For more such educational content, keep visiting OKCredit. You can also check out our app OKCredit, which can help you manage your business transactions.

We hope our article turned out to be useful for you. For more such informative content, you can visit these linked articles as well:
Small Business Export Ideas Export Business in India Laws for Exporting Goods from India
How To Start Food Export Business? How to Start Fruit Export Business? Export Business in Kerala

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Q. Is it mandatory to have an IEC to export?

Ans. Yes, an IEC is a mandatory document to export goods from India. However, certain exporters are exempt from this requirement.

Q. Are there any restrictions on export?

Ans. Yes, certain goods are prohibited or are restricted. Such restricted goods need additional approvals. You can export these goods only after the approvals.

Q. Can I export goods through post/courier?

Ans. The government categorises certain goods as freely exportable goods. You can export such goods via post or courier services. However, the value of such goods must be less than INR 5,00,000.

Q. What are the mandatory documents for export?

Ans. The mandatory documents for export are:

1. Bill of lading/Airway bill
2. Commercial invoice cum packing list
3. Shipping bill/ Bill of entry/ Bill of export