Back to Basics – Documentary Credits UCP 600


The Uniform Customs and Practice (UCP) for Documentary Credits were introduced by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in 1933 with UCP 82, in order to alleviate the disparity between national rules on documentary credit practice. 


Further revisions occurred in 1951 (Publication No. 151), 1962 (Publication No. 222), 1974 (Publication No. 290), 1983 (Publication No. 400), 1993 (Publication No. 500) and, more recently, 2007 (Publication No. 600).


UCP 82 was not the first set of published rules to govern documentary credits. Regulations affecting export commercial credits were issued in the US in 1920 and were subsequently amended in 1926. In 1928, a group of banks in Denmark also produced joint regulations governing the handling of documentary credits.

UCP 600 are supplemented by:


  • ICC Uniform Rules for Bank-to-Bank Reimbursements under Documentary Credits (URR 725);
  • ICC Supplement to the Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits for Electronic Presentation (eUCP) version 1.1; and
  • International Standard Banking Practice for the Examination of Documents under UCP 600 (ISBP publication No. 745).


It should be noted that with each revision of the UCP, the previous version does not become obsolete. Subject to the agreement of all parties, a documentary credit can be made subject to any publication no. of the UCP.


The ICC do not require banks or countries to indicate adherence to any set of rules. 


All ICC rules, including UCP 600, are based on the principle that they will apply if the transaction is made subject to them. 


In this respect, UCP 600 article 1 states "The Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits, 2007 Revision, ICC Publication No. 600 ("UCP") are rules that apply to any documentary credit ("credit") (including, to the extent to which they may be applicable, any standby letter of credit) when the text of the credit expressly indicates that it is subject to these rules. They are binding on all parties thereto unless expressly modified or excluded by the credit." (emphasis added)



This subject is covered in far greater detail within our training module ‘documentary credits in practice' which can be purchased at

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