International trade involves a series of formalities and administrative procedures that must be complied with in order to carry out import and export operations. One of these documents is the SAD, or Single Administrative Document.

The SAD is an essential document for the management of customs operations and allows importers and exporters to comply with legal and fiscal obligations in the international trade process.

In this article, we will explain what the SAD is, what it is for, when to use it and how to fill it out correctly, as well as its importance in international trade tasks. Take note!


What is the SAD

The SAD, or Single Administrative Document, is a customs document used in international trade for the import and export of goods. This document is essential for the customs clearance process and allows importers and exporters to comply with legal and fiscal obligations in the international trade process.

The SAD contains detailed information about the goods being imported or exported, such as the origin and destination of the goods, their value and weight, the mode of transport and the taxes to be paid. It also includes information on the importing or exporting company, as well as on the intermediaries involved in the operation.

The SAD is mandatory for all import and export operations carried out within the European Union .

It is important to note that the SAD can be presented in physical or electronic format, depending on the country and the specific rules of each operation.


What is the Single Administrative Document for?

The Single Administrative Document, or SAD, serves different purposes in international trade.

First, the SAD is a mandatory customs document that must be presented to the customs authorities before the imported or exported goods can be released.

In addition to its customs function, the SAD also serves as a tax declaration document for the payment of taxes and duties. The SAD allows importers and exporters to comply with the tax obligations established by the customs and tax authorities of the country of origin and destination.

Another purpose of the SAD is the control of trade statistics. The SAD provides detailed information on import and export operations carried out in a country and is used by the authorities for the preparation of trade statistics that enable governments to make important economic decisions.

Finally, the SAD also serves as a transport document and ensures that the goods arrive at their final destination without problems. The SAD contains information on the mode of transport, itinerary, packaging and identification of the goods, which allows transport intermediaries to guarantee the correct delivery of the goods.

In summary, the SAD is an essential document for international trade, as it allows to comply with customs and tax obligations, control trade statistics and ensure the safe and efficient transportation of goods.


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When should the Single Administrative Document be used?

The Single Administrative Document, or SAD, is a mandatory customs document that must be used for all import and export operations within the European Union. Therefore, whenever such an operation is carried out, it is necessary to file a SAD with the customs authorities.

The SAD is used at the time of customs clearance, i.e. when the goods arrive at the port or airport of destination and must be released by the customs authorities for entry into or exit from the country. At this time, the importer or exporter must present the SAD along with other documents required for customs clearance.

In addition, the SAD must also be used in other cases, such as when transit operations are carried out, i.e. when the goods must be transported through several countries before reaching their final destination. In this case, a SAD must be filed in each country through which the goods pass.

It is important to point out that the SAD must be presented at the time and place indicated by the customs authorities and that its correct use and compliance with fiscal and legal obligations can help companies avoid problems with customs authorities and optimize their supply chain.

Depending on the type of transaction to be carried out, it is possible to use one or another of the 8 copies of this Single Administrative Document.

Therefore, for exports and shipments it is necessary to present three different copies:

  • The so-called N1 copy for the issuing customs office.
  • Copy N3 for the exporter (shipper).
  • Copy N4 as proof of the Community nature of the goods.

In the case of imports:

  • Copy N6 for import customs.
  • Copy N8 for the importer.

Other information of interest about the different specimens:

  • Copy N5 is used in operations requiring the return of goods.
  • The N2 and N7 are used to develop statistical reports.


How to fill in the SAD

The process of completing the Single Administrative Document ( SAD) can be a bit complex due to the large amount of information that must be included and the specific regulations that must be followed to ensure that the SAD is accepted by the customs authorities.

First of all, it is important to note that the SAD must be completed by the exporter or importer or their authorized representatives, and that the information included in the document must be accurate and complete. Otherwise, the SAD may be rejected, which could delay the release of the goods.

The SAD includes detailed information on the goods, such as quantity, weight, value, origin and destination, as well as information on the means of transport used and the necessary supporting documents. It is also necessary to indicate the corresponding taxes and duties.

It is important to keep in mind that the requirements for filling out the SAD may vary according to the type of goods being imported or exported, the origin and destination, as well as the specific regulations of the customs authorities. Therefore, it is advisable to seek expert advice or use online tools to assist in the filling process.

Having said that, let’s take a look at some of the most important boxes that are part of the SAD.

Box 1 – Declaration

In this box you define the type of customs procedure, as well as the marking of the status and destination of the goods (CO dispatch for another state, member, EX for countries outside the EU, etc…).

Box 2 – Identification

Box in which all the data and information related to the identification (name or company name, fiscal address and NIF, etc…) are defined.

Box 5 – Number of Items

The number of items to be declared is specified.

Box 6 – Number of packages

Identification of the number of packages.

Box 8 – Declarant

All data relating to the identification of the addressee are filled in.

Box 15 – Country of issue

The actual exporting member state and the member state where the SAD is being completed must be specified.

Box 16 – Country of Origin

Other boxes of interest are the following: box 20 relating to the delivery conditions, box 22 specifies the amount, almostila25 the mode of transport at the border…

As you can see, it is a very complete document where all the information about the goods and the type of transactions to be carried out is provided in detail.


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By working with Across Logistics, companies can reduce transit times, minimize costs, avoid fines and customs delays, and improve the efficiency of their business operations.

In short, having an experienced and reliable logistics partner, such as Across Logistics, can be of great help to companies in complying with customs requirements and optimizing their supply chain.