Importers & Exporters must Register with the Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX)

  • All Brazilian importers and exporters must be registered with the Foreign Trade Secretariat (SECEX) of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism (MICT). The inscription number in the General Taxpayer Register of the Revenue Ministry (CGC), of the consignee must appear on the commercial invoice or other documentation for clearance. This is referred to as the CNPJ number (short for Cadastro Nacional de Pessoas Juridicas).

All Brazilian Importers must have a Brazilian Broker

  • They will be a critical partner in ensuring smooth clearance and delivery. Scarbrough International is affiliated with several networks of partners, allowing us to have a global reach with local contacts in Brazil that can deal with issues immediately.

Commercial Invoice & Packing List

Original Commercial Invoices

  • INCOTERMS must be stated on the commercial invoice. DAP is allowed, but discouraged.
  • DDP is strictly prohibited in Brazil due to tax reasons.
  • A list of INCOTERMS and their definitions can be found on our website at

Original Packing Lists

Requirements for these Documents

  • 3 colored copies of each
  • Signed in blue ink
  • Docs must show
  • Freight
  • Insurance
  • Other charges (when applicable) as separate line items

**All documents are required Regardless of Incoterms

Bill of Lading Requirements

NCM Number

  • Brazil requires that the NCM number (Nomenclatura Comum do MERCOSUL) be stated on the bill of lading.
  • This number is a local classification system in Brazil, and is consistent with the Harmonized Tariff System classifications.
  • It is only mandatory that the first 4 digits of the NCM number be listed.

Required Documentation

Scarbrough International is proficient at assisting in the completion of various other documentation such as certificates of origin and insurance certificates. As long as we know the particular requirements of the customer, we can customize our documentation packet and process to meet those needs.

  • Original Master Bill of Lading (MBL – may be issued at destination)
  • Original House Bill of Lading (HBL)
  • Commercial Invoice signed in Blue Ink
  • Packing List signed in Blue Ink
  • Other documentation may be requested

Original Bills of Lading

  • Original, rated bills of lading are required for Brazil.
  • “As Agreed” or “Prepaid” will not be accepted
  • The rate must be shown.

As such, Scarbrough always utilizes our trusted partner in Brazil in order to protect your interests and keep your costs confidential, passing along only the necessary documentation required for clearance to the actual consignee.

Details are Important

Specific Details between MBL, HBL and Commercial Documents must match exactly.
This includes, but it not limited to:
Piece count
Commodity description
Port of loading
Port of discharge
Seal number


Scarbrough Takes Accuracy Serious

We have an accuracy checklist specific to Brazil that is used for each file. Once the MBL is received from the carrier, the MBL, HBL, and commercial documents are checked against each other and this checklist immediately by another team member.

Ideally this is done with 24 hours of sailing.

Once this internal check is completed, the documentation is then sent to our reliable partner in Brazil, to once again check over all the documentation for any discrepancies.

Having a representative in Brazil that deals with their Customs procedures as part of daily routine is a big advantage. After this second safeguard, the documents are then emailed to the final consignee for their approval before the originals are sent by courier to destination.


More Documentation Rules

All documentation needs to be presented timely.

Originals must be in-hand at destination absolutely no later than 5 days before cargo discharges at first port of call in Brazil. However, Scarbrough International internal policy is to have originals to destination within 5 to 7 business days after cargo has departed the United States

Correct documentation is VITAL!

There is a very limited window of opportunity to correct documentation, so ensuring accuracy from the beginning is crucial. Once cargo gets stuck in Brazilian customs, it can be a lengthy, expensive process to get it released.

Penalties for late documentation presentation
are up to USD$5000 per HBL.

Correction letters issued for discrepancy are subject to penalties
up to USD$50 per occurrence.

Main Ocean Ports in Brazil

  1. Sao Paulo / santos
  2. Rio de Janeiro
  3. Paranagua
  4. Vitoria
  5. Fortaleza
  6. Manaus
  7. Rio Grande
  8. Itajai
  9. Belem

Main Air Ports in Brazil

  1. Sao Paulo / Guarulhos (GRU)
    passenger flight
  2. Sao Paulo / Viracopos (VCP)
    cargo flight only
  3. Rio de Janeiro (RIO)
  4. Porto Alegre (POA)


Brazilian Customs Strikes are not Uncommon

Strikes occur quite frequently in the region, so much so that the local media typically won’t even include strikes in their reports.

Are you exporting into Brazil?  Our advice when shipping to Brazil from the United States is to hire both a local U.S.-based freight forwarder who has a local Brazil-based Customs broker.  Luckily, we have local partners that can do this for you. Our partner, DC Logistics Brasil, advises to have a clear communication with the Brazilian party prior to the shipment, in order to have a smooth operation.  It’s very important to ask the Brazilian Customs Broker to check the documents before departure, as this action can avoid additional work, costs, and delays. For air cargo freight, another tip is to check the best airport to do the clearance, as this action can save time for your costumer and deadlines can be accomplished.  Ask us to contact our partner today.

More information

For more information when Shipping to Brazil, don’t hesitate to contact our experts at Scarbrough International, Ltd.