Letter of Credit Documents

There are many important points in a Letter of Credit transaction that need to be taken care of professionally. However, documentation is much more important than any other part of the letter of credit transactions. This importance stems its power from the letter of credit structure.

Letters of Credit transactions are related to the documents only. Let us consider ourselves as an exporter and assume that we have just shipped our order. What we have to do in order to prove that this shipment has been made. Of course, we must supply a relevant transport document. Let us consider also that the shipment term was CIF incoterms 2000, which obligate us to arrange the insurance for the shipment. Again, we must supply an insurance document, as it is demanded in the L/C in order to fulfil our responsibility.

The importance of the documentation is stated in UCP 600 article 5 as follows:

Banks deal with documents and not with goods, services or performance to which the documents may relate.

In addition, every condition stated on the letter of credit form must be connected to a document. This point is also clearly indicated in UCP 600 article 14.

If a credit contains a condition without stipulating the document to indicate compliance with the condition, banks will deem such condition as not stated and will disregard it.

Documents most frequently used in Letters of Credit transactions

Transport Documents

Transport Document Covering at Least Two Different Modes of Transport (multimodal or combined transport document)

  • Bill of Lading
  • Non-Negotiable Sea Waybill
  • Charter Party Bill of Lading
  • Air Transport Document
  • Road, Rail or Inland Waterway Transport Documents

Insurance Documents

  • Insurance Policy
  • Insurance Certificate
  • Open Cover
  • Financial Documents:
  • Bill of exchange (Draft)

Commercial Documents

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List; Weight List
  • Inspection Certificate
  • Certificate of Analysis

Official Documents

  • Certificate of Origin
  • Health Certificate
  • Consular Invoice, Legalized Invoice

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