Export Knowhow

Export to Russia: These documents are needed

The Russian Federation ranks twenty-second on Switzerland’s list of trade partners and holds high potential for the development and expansion of Swiss trade relations in the future. This is a step-by-step instruction on how to make a customs control inspection a success.

Different documents are needed when exporting to Russia

Let us focus on an important challenge for many exporters: the documents required at the Russian border. Before starting, it is always necessary to check whether it is possible to export goods to the intended destination or whether that country is imposing import restrictions. This information is available online from the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Visit https://www.seco.admin.ch and then browse to Sanctions / embargoes (available in German, French and Italian).

In addition, there are restrictions on exports from Switzerland mainly related to the country’s obligations under multilateral agreements. They concern in particular arms, dual-use technologies, rare species of animals and plants, as well as goods that can be used for the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.

List of documents for the customs

Then exporting goods from Switzerland, an exporter must fill in an electronic customs declaration in addition to preparing and submitting all necessary documents to the customs authorities of the goods’ country of destination:

Import formalities should be carried out in Russian. Foreign documents are to be submitted along with an authorised Russian translation. In addition, all documents must be bound, copies are to be certified with the seal and the signature of the applicant

1. Agreement

It is necessary to conclude an agreement between the seller and the buyer of the goods according to Incoterms 2010 or Incoterms 2020 (http://ru.icterms.com/) in order to define delivery terms and assign liability between the seller and the buyer for the transportation and insurance of the goods.

2. Invoice

The invoice for the goods under contract must contain the following information:

  • Full details of the seller and the buyer
  • Origin and delivery addresses
  • List of goods
  • The price per unit of goods in the currency of the contract, with the total cost of the invoice with VAT 0%. Goods to be exported from Switzerland are subject to 0% VAT as per Swiss Federal Act on Value Added Tax 641.2, art 23.
  • Terms of payment (prepayment, post-payment)
  • Reference to the contract

3. Packing list

The packing list accompanying the invoice must contain the following information:

  • Full details of the seller and the buyer
  • Origin and delivery addresses
  • List of goods
  • Net and gross weight for each position
  • Type of packaging
  • Quantity and dimensions of cargo space required

4. Detailed technical description

It is necessary to prepare a detailed technical description of the goods with photos attached.  The technical description should include:

  • the name, model, and assembly state
  • photos (technical drawings of the goods are necessary for machines and mechanisms)
  • the main characteristics and principle of operation
  • application
  • manufacturer, brand
  • part description (if any).

5. Certification/registration

The buyer of the goods must notify the seller if a registration permit for the goods is required upon being exported to the Russian Federation.  You can check this comprehensive list of products subject to mandatory certification in order to find out whether your product is subject to such certification.

6. Eurasian Conformity mark

After registration of the relevant document, the seller must mark the goods with a Eurasian Conformity mark (EAC) before export shipment. The EAC indicates that the products have passed all the assessment procedures established in the technical regulations of the EurAsEC customs union. 

7. Export declaration

It is necessary to issue an export declaration. Information about the registration procedure please find here.

8. CMR international bill of lading

You must print and stamp six copies of the CMR international bill of lading. The transport company assigned to pick up the goods usually provides CMR draft.

The exporter must prepare all paperwork before the goods leave the warehouse for Russia. This is the biggest challenge.

If the documents are issued correctly and submitted to the buyer on time, the customs clearance procedure should take no more than two days. If the submitted documents are insufficient, the customs authorities will order an additional inspection of the goods, and the shipment will be delayed at the customs post for an indefinite period until the end of the inspection.

In most cases, exporters rely on logistics companies which can provide a full range of professional support services for foreign trade transactions involving the export of various goods. Thus, exporters receive professional advice and assistance in preparation and implementation of their export orders at all stages, including preparation of the contract and other documents, transportation, customs clearance, and delivery to the destination.

International trade is multi-dimensional. Before entering the Russian market, an exporter should carefully consider the export strategy taking into account all steps necessary to prepare and execute export shipments.

If you have any questions on the export procedure, get in touch with our ExportHelp team!


Written by AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG on behalf of the Swiss Business Hub Russia