Importing From China To USA: What Documents Are Required

March 14, 2024
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China is one of the largest suppliers of imported goods in the United States. Here are some statistics:

  • In 2022, the total value of goods imported into USA from China was $536.3 billion, which accounted for 17.9% of all US imports.
  • This figure represents a 26% increase compared to 2012 and a 6.3% increase compared to 2021.
  • China has held the title of the largest source of US imports for several years, consistently surpassing other major suppliers like Mexico and Canada.


China is a major exporter of a wide range of goods to USA, including:

Electronics: Computers, smartphones, televisions, and other electronics make up a significant portion of imports from China.

Machinery and equipment: Industrial machinery, construction equipment, and medical devices are among the commonly imported items.

Furniture and bedding: China is a leading supplier of furniture, mattresses, and other home goods to USA.

Apparel and textiles: Clothing, footwear, and textiles are another major category of imports from China.

Toys and games: A wide variety of toys and games for all ages are imported from China.


So, what documents are required to export goods from China to USA?


Exporting goods from China to USA requires several necessary documents to ensure a smooth and compliant process. Here’s a breakdown of the essential documents you’ll likely need:


Standard Documents:

Commercial Invoice: This document details the goods being shipped, including their quantity, description, unit price, and total value. It serves as a basis for customs valuation and duty calculation.

Packing List: This lists the contents of your shipment, including the number of packages, their weight and dimensions, and a description of each item. It helps with customs clearance and verification of goods.

Bill of Lading (BOL): This acts as a receipt for your goods from the shipping carrier, confirming their acceptance for transportation. It also serves as a document of title and ownership transfer during the journey.

Certificate of Origin (CO): This document certifies the country where all or most of your goods were produced. It may be required for preferential duty rates or certain product categories.  Only certain countries still require this document, please contact your shipper for more details on whether or not this document is required for your shipments.


Additional Potential Documents:

Export License: Some goods require an export license from China before they can be shipped. Check with the Chinese authorities to determine if your products fall into this category.

Inspection Certificates: Certain products might require specific inspection certificates for safety, health, or quality compliance based on US regulations.

Insurance Certificate: While not required, it is recommended that your shipment be insured to protect against potential loss or damage during transit.

Other Regulatory Documents: Depending on the specific goods you’re exporting, additional documents like food safety certificates, phytosanitary certificates, or textile certificates might be necessary.

Importing from China - what documents are required


What documents are required to export of electronics from China to the U.S.?

For example, exporting electronics from China to USA involves additional considerations compared to general goods due to specific regulations and safety concerns. Here’s a breakdown of the documents you’ll likely need:


Standard Documents:

Commercial Invoice: Ensure detailed descriptions and accurate pricing for each electronic item.

Packing List: Clearly specify individual components and quantities within each package.

Export License: Check with Chinese authorities if your specific electronics require an export license.


Additional Electronics-Specific Documents:

FCC Declaration of Conformity (DoC): Mandatory for electronic devices that emit radio frequencies, demonstrating compliance with FCC regulations.

UL/ETL Certification: Often required for electronics sold in USA, proving safety standards compliance.

FDA Registration (if applicable): Necessary for electronic medical devices or those emitting certain radiation levels.

RoHS Compliance Certificate: Ensures your electronics meet Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive.

WEEE Compliance Certificate: Demonstrates compliance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive for end-of-life management.

Additional Regulatory Documents: Depending on the specific type and function of your electronics, further certificates like energy efficiency ratings, battery safety certifications, or specific product safety approvals might be required.

Bluetooth certification: This may be required for devices with Bluetooth inside.


Our tips:

  1. Consult your freight forwarder China to USA: They can guide you through the specific documentation requirements for your goods and help prepare necessary forms.
  1. Check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website: They provide detailed information on import regulations and required documentation for various product categories.
  1. Start early: Obtaining some documents, like certificates, can take time, so plan ahead and factor this into your shipping timeline.


Why are these documents so important?

The documents required for exporting and importing goods, especially electronics, hold immense importance for several reasons:

Compliance with Regulations:

  • Protect consumers and the environment: Many documents, like safety certifications and environmental compliance certificates, ensure products meet established standards safeguarding consumers and the environment from potential harm.
  • Fair trade and accurate duties: Documents like commercial invoices and certificates of origin help authorities assess the value of goods accurately, ensuring fair trade practices and collection of appropriate customs duties.
  • Prevent illegal activities: Certain documents help track and control the movement of goods, preventing illegal activities like smuggling or counterfeiting.

Smooth and Efficient Processing:

  • Clearance and verification: Documents like packing lists and bills of lading facilitate smooth customs clearance by providing detailed information about the shipment’s contents and ownership.
  • Reduce delays and costs: Having all necessary documents in order minimizes the risk of delays or issues during customs inspections, saving you time and money.
  • Transparency and accountability: Documents create a transparent record of the entire export/import process, ensuring accountability for all parties involved.

Additional benefits for electronics:

  • Safety and quality assurance: Electronics-specific documents like FCC declarations and safety certifications guarantee that imported electronics meet established safety and quality standards, protecting consumers and building trust.
  • Environmental responsibility: Documents like RoHS and WEEE compliance certificates demonstrate responsible handling of electronic waste, minimizing environmental impact.


Connect with Easy China Warehouse now to see if the products you are in the process of manufacturing require any special certifications for export.  You can contact us now by visiting or email us at [email protected]

Importing from China to USA - why you need these documents