Documents presented for payment against an issued Letter of Credit (“LC” or “credit”) are examined against the terms and conditions of the issued LC, as well as the UCP600 and ISBP, Publication No. 745.  Since the issuer of the LC should be able to understand the docs which are presented, they usually require that presented documents be submitted in the official language of the country in which the issuer is located.


The primary governing regulations for LCs, the UCP 600 is absolutely silent on the issue of language.  However, the ISBP, Publication No. 745, offers guidance:  When a credit stipulates the language of the documents to be presented, the data and documents required by the credit (i.e. the LC) or UCP 600 must be presented in the specified language.  When a credit is silent with respect to the language of the documents to be presented, the documents may be issued in any language.


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.  In such cases, the required documents must be presented in the acceptable language(s).


When a credit allows for presented document to contain data in two or more languages and a confirming bank or a nominated bank acting on its nomination does not restrict the language(s) as a condition of its engagement in the credit, the bank must examine the documents in all of the acceptable languages appearing in the presentation.  For example, if a credit allows for documents to be presented in Spanish and English and such documents are presented in both languages, then the bank must check all documents and any discrepancies in either language will cause a discrepancy in the entire presentation.


Banks are not required to examine information in documents that have been inserted in a language that is not mandated or allowed in the credit.  The paragraphs above 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 without causing discrepancies.  Otherwise, relevant portions of text in a document that are not presented in an acceptable language may cause discrepancies, so LC beneficiaries should be careful when making such presentations.


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