Which are the Tips to Manage and Organise Your Export Documents in Dubai and Abu Dhabi?


As the owner of a business, you might be involved in manufacturing and subsequently import and export of goods. Now, none of this is an easy process. When you talk about export, there is a lot of paperwork involved, which includes details such as the type of product, the quantities being sold, the buyers/ consignees, the prices, export license, any discounts, taxes or duties etc.

When you look to export your goods, you wish to seek entry into foreign territory, and for that, you need permission from the government of that particular country. One of the key procedures to follow when exporting is the attestation in Dubai of commercial documents, especially export documents. Since you are likely to have a large number of documents, it is imperative that you keep them well organized. Without presenting all the necessary documents, you would not be allowed to send your goods to another country.

Some Common Export Documents

Here are some of the export documents which you might be required to provide when exporting goods to another country:

  • Commercial Invoice: Used primarily to assess duties and taxes, a Commercial Invoice is a kind of bill which states the terms of the transaction between the exporter and the buyer. It is a legal document that contains key information regarding the shipment such as the type of product, its quantity, weight, exporter and consignee details etc. It is a very important document with regard to international trade.
  • Export License: Without an export license, you cannot ship your goods. It is issued by a verified licensing company and allows you to export your goods. When issuing this license, the company must know of the kind of products you wish to export, the export destination, the consignee, the purpose, etc.
  • Certificate of Origin: Another important document pertaining to international trade is the Certificate of Origin. It is basically a legal document which states that the goods were manufactured in a particular country. This document serves the basis for deciding whether the goods are eligible for export or import and also for determining the duties and taxes to be levied on them.
  • Certificate of Inspection: A Certificate of Inspection states that the goods being exported were in proper condition prior to being shipped and also meet the terms decided between the exporter and the buyer, such as the quantity, dimensions, condition, etc. It is mainly required when exporting perishable items such as food, seeds, meat etc. or particular industrial tools or machinery.
  • Export Packing List: An Export Packing List is a key document that is often used to check the cargo which arrives or as a supporting document in case of a dispute between the exporter and the buyer. This list contains in-depth information regarding the shipment such as the invoice number, the mode of transport, the type of goods, the quantity, weight, dimensions, the kind of packaging, etc. A Commercial Invoice and an Export Packing List should not be confused and are both important during export.

How to Manage and Organise Export Documents?

Since exporting in Dubai without having all the necessary documents verified and attested isn’t possible, it is imperative that you keep all your export documents well organized and easily accessible at all times. You would most probably be required to keep export documents at least 5 years following an export so here are 5 ways in which you can efficiently organize your export documents:

  • Keep A Proper Track of Your Shipments: One of the first steps is to maintain a proper record of all that is manufactured and eventually exported. It is advisable to have copies of all your documents such as Commercial Invoice, Export Packing List, Bill of Lading, etc. along with the originals. Get rid of any unwanted documents and keep all the physical copies carefully in files dedicated to each shipment. Labeling shelves and files can come in handy.
  • Maintain a Digital Record: Along with physical copies, make sure to scan all the documents, so you have virtual copies as well, in case you lose any originals. All formal emails pertaining to the shipments should also be carefully archived and if possible, print them out and file them too so you have all the necessary proof of a shipment. Having your documents digitally backed up means that you won’t lose all your records in case there is a flood, fire or any such adversity.
  • Store your Documents and Records Such That They Are Accessible: Simply filing all the export documents in separate folders or on a computer isn’t enough. They need to kept somewhere where they can be retrieved with ease as and when required. It is great to have a proper storage unit to store everything but make sure it is not too far away from where you operate, so if an auditor or an officer were to come, you could present the necessary documents quickly. If you store them in a storage unit, make sure to have proper security and to let at least 3-5 people where the records are. When it comes to storing it on a computer, make sure the systems work properly and are regularly updated.
  • Have Someone Be In charge of the Documents: As someone responsible for a business, you need to know what is happening at all times. You must know everything, from the legal procedures to document storage. However, it makes no sense to have just 1 or 2 people be responsible for the storage of documents. It is best to make a team of at least 4-5 people who would handle the entire organization process and would know where everything is kept at all times so that a particular document can be accessed with ease.
  • Having Your Export Compliance Efforts Audited: An audit refers to a formal inspection, done mostly by a third party, to ensure that everything is according to the rules and regulations. By getting an audit, you can figure out if you are meeting all the criteria and whether you have all the required paperwork. Sometimes, by getting audited, you could end up getting rid of irrelevant documents.

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