01 January 2008

LC SWIFT Format: Field 31D (Date and Place of Expiry)

Next field is field 31D (Date and place of expiry). As I mentioned in the earlier post (SWIFT Format: part 3), the date format is written as yy/mm/dd. For example, the date is indicated as 070424, the date is read as April 24th, 2007.

The additional information here is, the name of the country where the LC is to expire must also be indicated, for example, Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States of America etc. It is only the name of the country should appear in this field, name of district should not be indicated.

It is a practice in international trade, where the place of expiry is normally in the country of the seller. This is so because, it provides some cushion to the seller where seller has longer time frame to prepare the goods for shipment, obtain related documents, conduct pre checking of the document to ensure consistency and present them to his bank.

There are also cases where the place of expiry is in the country of the buyer. But this is very rarely. This would shorten some time for the seller to get things ready and present the documents. In this case, the LC must reach the issuing bank which is in the country of the buyer before the expiry of the LC. The time taken for the documents to travel by air courier to the final destination is an additional factor to be considered.

Whereas, if the LC is to expire in the country of the seller, the documents must reach the nominated bank in the country of the seller before the expiry of the LC.

Today, to keep up with the vast global development in trade, most LCs is issued available with any bank by negotiation and place of expiry is always in the country of the seller.


  1. In the past someone used the "free format message" aka "Swift MT799" to gave particular orders in the payment as "after receiving, validating and authenticating" or to shown some conditions as timing and so on. But this operativity of the free format message was prohibited by ICC because could be used and abused by third parts.Now MT799 is in use over all as PRE-ADVICE of a MT760.

    Guglielmo Maria Eugenio Rinaldini

    1. Yes, MT799 is a free format message and it should only used to provide general information. Not instruction, particularly monetary instruction.


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