Pro-forma Invoices

Pro-forma invoices are invoices that are sent as a “matter of form”. They are not the required commercial invoices that are sent with payment requested. In the shipping industry a pro-forma invoice is many times requested in order to specify the details of a shipment before the shipment is actually sent. This type of invoice will have the item numbers, descriptions, and quantities just like a commercial invoice, but it is not supposed to be used as a commercial invoice in the packet of shipping documents. It is the document sent as an agreement between the two parties and sometimes will replace a quotation. The buyer will use a pro-forma invoice in order to arrange for funds or they may need it to apply for licenses or permits as well as quotas that some countries have in order to import. Although a pro-forma invoice was originally supposed to be used as a formality in international shipping, it has since become a regular and many times necessary form that import shippers use when bringing in goods. It is for that reason that it is extremely important that each part of the invoice is properly filled out with the correct and pertinent information. Many shippers use this format as a quote as well so that there are no inconsistencies or misunderstandings what is expected. This is why getting the details correct is so important. If the details are not correct it can cause a chain reaction that can affect the entire shipment as a whole.