Pro forma Invoices

Pro forma invoices can be a big part of trade bit international and domestic. The phrase “pro forma” literally means “as a matter of form” and from Latin roots. In international trade a pro forma invoice is the invoice that is sent ahead as a draft before the official commercial invoice has been finished. Sometimes there may be changes that are needed to quantities or costs but the overall makeup is the same as a commercial invoice. It will list the sender and the recipient, each item that is on the purchase order with costs and quantities as well as any other details regarding the products like ready dates or backorders, but usually will not have shipping information. This can also be the confirmation that the factory or vendor received your purchase order.

While the initial reason for a pro forma invoice is for confirmation of goods, it can also be used as a replacement for a lost commercial invoice when submitting to US Customs. While you should eventually have your original commercial invoice, your customs broker may be able to submit a pro forma invoice in its place. US Customs just needs to be able to determine the Harmonized Tariff Codes (HTS Codes) for your cargo and have the other backup materials for your shipment. As long as you are in good standing and are not new to international freight shipping, the pro forma invoice can be your substitute for your commercial invoice.