Last updated January 22nd 2021
With the Brexit transition period over and a deal in place, there are a few changes you need to be aware of when sending parcels from the UK to Europe.
This page highlights how Brexit will affect:
If you send parcels to friends or family living in an EU country, such as France, Spain, Germany or Italy, the biggest change you’ll notice is around customs documents.
From January 1st 2021, even if you’re a private individual sending to family and friends in the EU, you will need to complete a customs declaration form and attach it to your parcel. The customs declaration should clearly state the contents and value of each item you’re sending, along with an 8 digit HS Code (also known as a commodity code or tariff code). This applies to every item you send to the EU, whether it's new, second-hand or even your own personal effects.
The new trade deal between the EU and the UK means that customs fees will not be applied to your parcel, however, the recipient will be required to pay import VAT. Each EU member country is responsible for setting its own VAT rate, which means the rate applied will vary by country. You can find more information on that here.
It is essential that you provide accurate contact details for the recipient so customs can get in touch with them if necessary. If customs have been unable to make contact with the recipient the parcel may be returned to you.
We want to make this transition as smooth as possible for our customers so we’ve added a simple step to our booking process which will guide you through the customs declaration and provide you with the necessary documents. This way you can be sure that you are compliant with the new rules and avoid any unnecessary delays.
All you need to do is book a parcel delivery service through our courier quote form, then follow the steps provided. We’ve even included a video tutorial on how to find HS codes using the Government Trade Tariff Tool.
If you’re sending a parcel from the UK to the EU, make sure you copy the ‘export’ HS code from the Government Trade Tariff Tool, not the ‘import’ code. All HS codes should be a minimum of 8 digits.
Once your booking is complete we’ll send you the shipping label and the completed customs form to print and attach to your parcel. It’s that simple!
Provide clear details of the item you’re sending. If you’re sending clothes, describe them e.g. 1 blue t-shirt, 2 red baseball caps, 3 pairs of yellow socks.
Find the correct tariff/HS code for the item you’re sending. You can find commodity codes on Gov.co.uk or a quick Google search for ‘HS Code lookup tool’ or ‘Tariff Code lookup’ will give you a variety of other options. All these tools use the same codes, so just choose the one you find easiest to use.
Ensure you provide accurate contact information for the recipient. If customs can’t reach them, your parcel may be returned to you.
Make sure the customs documents are securely affixed to your parcel in a clearly marked envelope. You may need to provide up to 3 copies depending on the carrier.
Allow extra time for your delivery. The additional time added for goods to clear customs is likely to have an impact on delivery times, especially for road services.
If you have an e-commerce business and regularly ship to customers in the EU then hopefully you have already prepared your business for Brexit.
If you’re still not sure what you need to do, the following guide will help.
From January 1st all businesses that export to the EU will need to provide additional information in order for goods to pass through customs.
You will need to provide:
A UK EORI number
The importer’s EORI number (only applicable if you’re exporting to another business)
Sender name, address and contact details
Recipient name, address and contact details
Item details (descriptions, quantity, weight and value)
Country of origin
An 8 digit HS/commodity code for all items
If you already send goods outside the EU you won’t notice a big difference, as you will already be supplying most of the information required. However, if this is new to you, don’t worry, it's very straightforward.
When you book a parcel delivery service to the EU, there is now an extra step in our booking process where you can declare your goods and provide all the necessary additional information, including HS codes and EORI numbers. Once your booking is confirmed we’ll send you the completed customs form to print and attach to your item.
As long as the information you have provided is accurate, your goods should pass through customs without any issues. Of course, delays in customs are not uncommon, but having the correct paperwork goes a long way towards avoiding them.
If you’re a business based in the EU, you can find more information on shipping to the UK here
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