How to make an invoice

When you’ve provided services or goods to an American company you’ll have to write them an invoice to collect your payment. Thankfully, this part of the process is one of the easiest steps and can be done in minutes.

The requirements for an invoice for services provided within U.S. borders are simpler than the invoice you will need to prepare for shipping physical goods through a U.S. Port of Entry. 

Both normal invoices and invoices provided for clearing U.S. Customs and Border Protection do not have formatting requirements.  You can prepare a simple invoice in Microsoft Word or another word processor.

For a normal invoice, you will need to include the following information:

  1. Your company’s name and contact information, including direct contact information that clients can use if they have questions about payment
  2. The date of the sales transaction (the billing date)
  3. An invoice number to link the customer to the transaction and for ease of bookkeeping
  4. The contact information of the company or individual receiving the invoice
  5. A simple table outlining what products and services were purchased.  Typically, the columns include the item name, item description and price.
  6. The amount owed.  This is the total bill for all goods and services outlined in the table you’ve created, along with tax or other fees.

Invoices that will be used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection must include these items, at a minimum:

  1. A clear item description
  2. Quantity of each item
  3. State the value of each item (either price paid, or estimated value based on other considerations.) Give both the value in U.S. Dollars and foreign     currency.
  4. Country of origin (where the item was made)
  5. Where the item was purchased
  6. List the name of the business or person selling the merchandise
  7. List the location of the business or person selling the merchandise
  8. List the name and address of the business or person buying the merchandise, and if different from the importer
  9. List the U.S. address of the person or business the goods are being shipped to.

It is important that you check the requirements for invoices on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website regularly, as requirements may change.  The U.S. importer of your goods will need to present the invoice to CBP when clearing their goods at the Port of Entry.