International Standard Banking Practice

General Principles

Paragraph A1 to A41


Abbreviations

A1) Generally accepted abbreviations, such as, but not limited to, "Int'l" instead of "International", "Co." instead of "Company", "kgs" or "kos" instead of "kilograms" or "kilos", "Ind." instead of "Industry", "Ltd" instead of "Limited", "mfr" instead of "manufacturer" or "mt" instead of "metric tons" may be used in documents in substitution for a word or vice versa. A credit that includes an abbreviation in its text allows a document to show the same abbreviation or any other abbreviation that has the same meaning, or to show the complete spelling of the word or vice versa.

A2) a. Virgules (i.e., slash marks "/") may result in different meanings and should not be used as a substitute for a word. If, nevertheless, a virgule is used and no context is apparent, this will allow the use of one or more of the options. For example, a condition in a credit stating "Red/Black/Blue" with no further clarification will mean only Red or only Black or only Blue or any combination of them.

b. The use of a comma when indicating a range of data in a credit such as ports of loading or discharge or countries of origin, may result in different meanings and should not be used as a substitute for a word. If, nevertheless, a comma is used and no context is apparent, this will allow the use of one or more of the options. For example, when a credit allows partial shipment and indicates the port of loading information as "Hamburg, Rotterdam, Antwerp" with no further clarification, this will mean only Hamburg or only Rotterdam or only Antwerp or any combination of them.

Certificates, Certifications, Declarations and Statements

A3) When a certificate, certification, declaration or statement is required by a credit, it is to be signed.

A4) Whether a certificate, certification, declaration or statement needs to be dated will depend on the type of certificate, certification, declaration or statement that has been requested, its required wording and the wording that appears within the document.

For example, when a credit requires the presentation of a certificate issued by the carrier or its agent stating that the vessel is no more than 25 years old, the certificate may evidence compliance by indicating:

a. the date or year the vessel was built, and such date or year is no more than 25 years prior to the date of shipment or the year in which shipment was effected, in which case a date of issuance is not necessary, or

b. the wording as stated in the credit, in which case a date of issuance is required, thereby certifying that as of that date the vessel was not more than 25 years old.

A5) When a certification, declaration or statement is to appear in a document which is to be signed and dated, it does not require a separate signature or date when the certification, declaration or statement appears to have been given by the same entity that issued and signed the document.

Copies of transport documents covered by UCP 600 articles 19-25

A6) a. When a credit requires the presentation of a copy of a transport document covered by UCP 600 articles 19-25, the relevant article is not applicable, as these articles only apply to original transport documents. A copy of a transport document is to be examined only to the extent expressly stated in the credit, otherwise according to UCP 600 sub-article 14 (f).

b. Any data shown on a copy of a transport document, when read in context with the credit, the document itself and international standard banking practice, need not be identical to, but must not conflict with, data in that document, any other stipulated document or the credit.

c. Copies of transport documents covered by UCP 600 articles 19-25 are not subject to the default presentation period of 21 calendar days stated in UCP 600 sub-article 14 (c) or any presentation period stated in the credit, unless the credit explicitly states the basis for determining such presentation period. Otherwise, a presentation may be made at any time, but in any event no later than the expiry date of the credit.

Correction and alteration ("correction")

A7) a. i. Any correction of data in a document issued by the beneficiary, with the exception of drafts (see paragraph B16)), need not be authenticated.

ii. When a document issued by the beneficiary has been legalized, visaed, certified, etc., any correction of data is to be authenticated by at least one of the entities that legalized, visaed or certified, etc., the document. Such authentication is to indicate the name of the entity authenticating the correction either by use of a stamp incorporating its name, or by the addition of the name of the authenticating entity accompanied by its signature or initials.

b. i. Any correction of data in a document, other than in a document issued by the beneficiary, is to appear to have been authenticated by the issuer or an entity acting as agent, proxy or for [or on behalf of] the issuer. Such authentication is to indicate the name of the entity authenticating the correction either by use of a stamp incorporating its name, or by the addition of the name of the authenticating entity accompanied by its signature or initials. In the case of authentication by an agent or proxy, the capacity of acting as agent or proxy for [or on behalf of] the issuer is to be stated.

ii. When a document other than one issued by the beneficiary has been legalized, visaed, certified, etc., any correction of data is, in addition to the requirements of paragraph A7) (b) (i), to be authenticated by at least one of the entities that legalized, visaed or certified, etc., the document. Such authentication is to indicate the name of the entity authenticating the correction either by use of a stamp incorporating its name, or by the addition of the name of the authenticating entity accompanied by its signature or initials.

c. Any correction of data in a copy document need not be authenticated.

A8) When a document other than one issued by the beneficiary contains more than one correction, either each correction is to be authenticated separately, or one authentication is to indicate that it applies to all the corrections. For example, when a document issued by XXX shows three corrections numbered 1, 2 and 3, one statement such as "Correction numbers 1, 2 and 3 authenticated by XXX" or similar, together with the signature or initials of XXX, will satisfy the requirement for authentication.

A9) The use of multiple type styles, font sizes or handwriting within the same document does not, by itself, signify a correction.

Courier receipt, post receipt and certificate of posting in respect of the sending of documents, notices and the like

A10) When a credit requires the presentation of a document as evidence of sending documents, notices and the like to a named or described entity, in the form of a courier receipt, post receipt or certificate of posting, such document is to be examined only to the extent expressly stated in the credit, otherwise according to UCP 600 sub-article 14 (f) and not under UCP 600 article 25.

Dates

A11) a. Even when a credit does not expressly so require:

i. drafts are to indicate a date of issuance;

ii. insurance documents are to indicate a date of issuance or effectiveness of the insurance coverage as reflected in paragraphs K10) (b) and K11); and

iii. original transport documents, subject to examination under UCP 600 articles 19-25, are to indicate a date of issuance, a dated on board notation, a date of shipment, a date of receipt for shipment, a date of dispatch or carriage, a date of taking in charge or a date of pick up or receipt, as applicable.

b. A requirement that a document, other than a draft, insurance document or original transport document, be dated will be satisfied by the indication of a date of issuance or by reference in the document to the date of another document forming part of the same presentation (for example, by the wording "date as per bill of lading number xxx" appearing on a certificate issued by a carrier or its agent) or a date appearing on a stipulated document indicating the occurrence of an event (for example, by the date of inspection being indicated on an inspection certificate that otherwise does not contain a date of issuance).

A12) a. A document, such as, but not limited to, a certificate of analysis, inspection certificate or fumigation certificate, may indicate a date of issuance later than the date of shipment.

b. When a credit requires a document to evidence a pre-shipment event (for example, "pre-shipment inspection certificate"), the document, either by its title, content or date of issuance, is to indicate that the event (for example, inspection) took place on or prior to the date of shipment.

c. When a credit requires a document such as, but not limited to, an "inspection certificate", this does not constitute a requirement that the document is to evidence a pre-shipment event, and it need not be dated prior to the date of shipment.

A13) A document indicating a date of issuance and a later date of signing is deemed to have been issued on the date of signing.

A14) a. When a credit uses phrases to signify time on either side of a date or an event, the following shall apply:

i. "not later than 2 days after (date or event)" means a latest date. If an advice or document is not to be dated prior to a specified date or event, the credit should so state.

ii. "at least 2 days before (date or event)" means that an act or event is to take place not later than 2 days before that date or event. There is no limit as to how early it may take place.

b. i. For the purpose of calculation of a period of time, the term "within" when used in connection with a date or event excludes that date or the event date in the calculation of the period. For example, "within 2 days of (date or event)" means a period of 5 days commencing 2 days prior to that date or event until 2 days after that date or event.

ii. The term "within" when followed by a date or a reference to a determinable date or event includes that date or event date. For example, "presentation to be made within 14 May" or "presentation is to be made within credit validity (or credit expiry)" where the expiry date of the credit is 14 May, means 14 May is the last day upon which presentation is allowed, provided that 14 May is a banking day.

A15) The words "from" and "after" when used to determine a maturity date or period for presentation following the date of shipment, the date of an event or the date of a document, exclude that date in the calculation of the period. For example, 10 days after the date of shipment or 10 days from the date of shipment, where the date of shipment was 4 May, will be 14 May.

A16) Provided that the date intended can be determined from the document or from other documents included in the presentation, dates may be expressed in any format. For example, the 14th of May 2013 could be expressed as 14 May 13, 14.05.2013, 14.05.13, 2013.05.14, 05.14.13, 130514, etc. To avoid any risk of ambiguity, it is recommended that the month be stated in words.

Documents and the need for completion of a box, field or space

A17) The fact that a document has a box, field or space for data to be inserted does not necessarily mean that such box, field or space is to be completed. For example, data are not required in the box titled "Accounting Information" or "Handling Information" commonly found on an air waybill. Also see paragraph A37) in respect of the requirements for a signature to appear in any box, field or space.

Documents for which the UCP 600 transport articles do not apply

A18) a. Documents commonly used in relation to the transportation of goods, such as but not limited to, Delivery Note, Delivery Order, Cargo Receipt, Forwarder's Certificate of Receipt, Forwarder's Certificate of Shipment, Forwarder's Certificate of Transport, Forwarder's Cargo Receipt and Mate's Receipt are not transport documents as defined in UCP 600 articles 19-25. These documents are to be examined only to the extent expressly stated in the credit, otherwise according to UCP 600 sub-article 14 (f).

b. i. For documents referred to in paragraph A18) (a), a condition of a credit that presentation is to occur within a certain number of days after the date of shipment will be disregarded, and presentation may be made at any time, but in any event no later than the expiry date of the credit.

ii. The default presentation period of 21 calendar days stated in UCP 600 sub-article 14 (c) only applies to a presentation including one or more original transport documents covered by UCP 600 articles 19-25.

c. For a presentation period to apply to a document referred to in paragraph A18) (a), the credit should specify that presentation is to be made within a certain number of days after the issuance date of the respective document, or a date that is to be mentioned in the document (for example, when a credit requires the presentation of a document titled cargo receipt, "documents to be presented no later than 10 days after the date of the cargo receipt").

Expressions not defined in UCP 600

A19) The expressions "shipping documents", "stale documents acceptable", "third party documents acceptable", "third party documents not acceptable", "exporting country", "shipping company" and "documents acceptable as presented" should not be used in a credit, as they are not defined in UCP 600. If, nevertheless, they are used, and their meaning is not defined in the credit, they shall have the following meaning under international standard banking practice:

a. "shipping documents" - all documents required by the credit, except drafts, teletransmission reports and courier receipts, postal receipts or certificates of posting evidencing the sending of documents.

b. "stale documents acceptable" - documents may be presented later than 21 calendar days after the date of shipment as long as they are presented no later than the expiry date of the credit. This will also apply when the credit specifies a period for presentation together with the condition "stale documents acceptable".

c. "third party documents acceptable" - all documents for which the credit or UCP 600 do not indicate an issuer, except drafts, may be issued by a named person or entity other than the beneficiary.

d. "third party documents not acceptable" - has no meaning and is to be disregarded.

e. "exporting country" - one of the following: the country where the beneficiary is domiciled, the country of origin of the goods, the country of receipt by the carrier or the country from which shipment or dispatch is made.

f. "shipping company" - when used in the context of the issuer of a certificate, certification or declaration relating to a transport document - any one of the following: carrier, master or, when a charter party bill of lading is presented, the master, owner or charterer, or any entity identified as an agent of any one of the aforementioned, regardless of whether it issued or signed the presented transport document.

g. "documents acceptable as presented" - a presentation may consist of one or more of the stipulated documents provided they are presented within the expiry date of the credit and the drawing amount is within that which is available under the credit. The documents will not otherwise be examined for compliance under the credit or UCP 600, including whether they are presented in the required number of originals or copies.

Issuer of documents

A20) When a credit requires a document to be issued by a named person or entity, this condition is satisfied when the document appears to be issued by the named person or entity by use of its letterhead, or when there is no letterhead, when the document appears to have been completed or signed by, or for [or on behalf of], the named person or entity.

Language

A21) a. When a credit stipulates the language of the documents to be presented, the data required by the credit or UCP 600 are to be in that language.

b. When a credit is silent with respect to the language of the documents to be presented, the documents may be issued in any language.

c. i. When a credit allows two or more acceptable languages, a confirming bank or a nominated bank acting on its nomination may restrict the number of acceptable languages as a condition of its engagement in the credit, and in such a case the data contained in the documents are only to be in the acceptable language or languages.

ii. When a credit allows a document to contain data in two or more acceptable languages and a confirming bank or a nominated bank acting on its nomination does not restrict the language or the number of acceptable languages as a condition of its engagement in the credit, it is required to examine the data in all of the acceptable languages appearing in the documents.

d. Banks do not examine data that have been inserted in a language that is additional to that required or allowed in the credit.

e. Notwithstanding paragraphs A21) (a) and (d), the name of a person or entity, any stamps, legalization, endorsements or similar, and the pre-printed text shown on a document, such as, but not limited to, field headings, may be in a language other than that required in the credit.

Mathematical calculations

A22) When the presented documents indicate mathematical calculations, banks only determine that the stated total in respect of criteria such as amount, quantity, weight or number of packages, does not conflict with the credit or any other stipulated document.

Misspellings or typing errors

A23) A misspelling or typing error that does not affect the meaning of a word or the sentence in which it occurs does not make a document discrepant. For example, a description of the goods shown as "mashine" instead of "machine", "fountan pen" instead of "fountain pen" or "modle" instead of "model" would not be regarded as a conflict of data under UCP 600 sub-article 14 (d). However, a description shown as, for example, "model 123" instead of "model 321" will be regarded as a conflict of data under that sub-article.

Multiple pages and attachments or riders

A24) When a document consists of more than one page, it must be possible to determine that the pages are part of the same document. Unless a document provides otherwise, pages which are physically bound together, sequentially numbered or contain internal cross references, however named or titled, will meet this requirement and are to be examined as one document, even if some of the pages are regarded as an attachment or rider.

A25) When a signature or endorsement is required to be on a document consisting of more than one page, and the credit or the document itself does not indicate where a signature or endorsement is to appear, the signature or endorsement may appear anywhere on that document.

Non-documentary conditions and conflict of data

A26) When a credit contains a condition without stipulating a document to indicate compliance therewith ("non-documentary condition"), compliance with such condition need not be evidenced on any stipulated document. However, data contained in a stipulated document are not to be in conflict with the non-documentary condition. For example, when a credit indicates "packing in wooden cases" without indicating that such data is to appear on any stipulated document, a statement in any stipulated document indicating a different type of packing is considered to be a conflict of data.

Originals and copies

A27) A document bearing an apparently original signature, mark, stamp or label of the issuer will be considered to be an original unless it states that it is a copy. Banks do not determine whether such a signature, mark, stamp or label of the issuer has been applied in a manual or facsimile form and, as such, any document bearing such method of authentication will satisfy the requirements of UCP 600 article 17.

A28) Documents issued in more than one original may be marked "Original", "Duplicate", "Triplicate", "First Original", "Second Original", etc. None of these markings will disqualify a document as an original.

A29) a. The number of originals to be presented is to be at least the number required by the credit or UCP 600.

b. When a transport document or insurance document indicates how many originals have been issued, the number of originals stated on the document is to be presented, except as stated in paragraphs H12) and J7) (c).

c. When a credit requires presentation of less than a full set of original transport documents, (for example, "2/3 original bills of lading"), but does not provide any disposal instructions for the remaining original bill of lading, a presentation may include 3/3 original bills of lading.

d. When a credit requires, for example, presentation of:

i. "Invoice", "One Invoice", "Invoice in 1 copy" or "Invoice - 1 copy", it will be understood to be a requirement for an original invoice.

ii. "Invoice in 4 copies" or "Invoice in 4 fold" will be satisfied by the presentation of at least one original invoice and any remaining number as copies.

iii. "photocopy of invoice" or "copy of invoice" will be satisfied by the presentation of either a photocopy, copy or, when not prohibited, an original invoice.

iv. "photocopy of a signed invoice" will be satisfied by the presentation of either a photocopy or copy of the original invoice that was apparently signed or, when not prohibited, a signed original invoice.

A30) a. When a credit prohibits the presentation of an original document by stating, for example, "photocopy of invoice - original document not acceptable in lieu of photocopy" or the like, only a photocopy of an invoice or an invoice marked copy is to be presented.

b. When a credit requires the presentation of a copy of a transport document and indicates a disposal instruction for all originals of that document, a presentation is not to include any original of such document.

A31) a. Original documents are to be signed when required by the credit, the document itself (except as stated in paragraph A37)) or UCP 600.

b. Copies of documents need not be signed nor dated.

Shipping marks

A32) When a credit specifies the details of a shipping mark, documents mentioning the shipping mark are to show those details. The data in a shipping mark indicated on a document need not be in the same sequence as those shown in the credit or in any other stipulated document.

A33) A shipping mark indicated on a document may show data in excess of what would normally be considered a "shipping mark", or which is specified in the credit as a "shipping mark", by the addition of information such as, but not limited to, the type of goods, warnings concerning the handling of fragile goods or net and gross weight of the goods.

A34) a. Transport documents covering containerized goods often only show a container number, with or without a seal number, under the heading "Shipping mark" or similar. Other documents that show a more detailed marking will not be in conflict for that reason.

b. The fact that some documents show additional information as mentioned in paragraphs A33) and A34) (a), while others do not, will not be regarded as a conflict of data under UCP 600 sub-article 14 (d).

Signatures

A35) a. A signature, as referred to in paragraph A31) (a), need not be handwritten. Documents may also be signed with a facsimile signature (for example, a pre-printed or scanned signature), perforated signature, stamp, symbol (for example, a chop) or any mechanical or electronic method of authentication.

b. A requirement for a document to be "signed and stamped" or a similar requirement is satisfied by a signature in the form described in paragraph A35) (a) and the name of the signing entity typed, stamped, handwritten, pre-printed or scanned on the document, etc.

c. A statement on a document such as "This document has been electronically authenticated" or "This document has been produced by electronic means and requires no signature" or words of similar effect does not, by itself, represent an electronic method of authentication in accordance with the signature requirements of UCP 600 article 3.

d. A statement on a document indicating that authentication may be verified or obtained through a specific reference to a website (URL) constitutes a form of electronic method of authentication in accordance with the signature requirements of UCP 600 article 3. Banks will not access such websites to verify or obtain authentication.

A36) a. A signature on the letterhead paper of a named person or entity is considered to be the signature of that named person or entity unless otherwise stated. The named person or entity need not be repeated next to the signature.

b. When a signatory indicates it is signing for [or on behalf of] a branch of the issuer, the signature will be considered to be that of the issuer.

A37) The fact that a document has a box, field or space for a signature does not in itself mean that such box, field or space is to be completed with a signature. For example, a signature is not required in the space titled "Signature of shipper or their agent" commonly found on an air waybill or "Signature of shipper" on a road transport document. Also see paragraph A17) in respect of the requirements for data to appear in a box, field or space.

A38) When a document includes wording such as "This document is not valid unless countersigned [or signed] by (name of the person or entity)" or words of similar effect, the applicable box, field or space is to contain a signature and the name of the person or entity that is countersigning the document.

Title of documents and combined documents

A39) Documents may be titled as called for in the credit, bear a similar title or be untitled. The content of a document must appear to fulfil the function of the required document. For example, a requirement for a "Packing List" will be satisfied by a document containing packing details whether it is titled "Packing List", "Packing Note", "Packing and Weight List", etc., or bears no title.

A40) Documents required by a credit are to be presented as separate documents. However, and as an example, a requirement for an original packing list and an original weight list will also be satisfied by the presentation of two original combined packing and weight lists, provided that such documents state both packing and weight details.

A41) A document required by a credit that is to cover more than one function may be presented as a single document or separate documents that appear to fulfil each function. For example, a requirement for a Certificate of Quality and Quantity will be satisfied by the presentation of a single document or by a separate Certificate of Quality and Certificate of Quantity provided that each document appears to fulfil its function and is presented in the number of originals and copies as required by the credit.