HS Codes, also known as Tariff Codes or Commodity Codes, are used to identify the item you’re sending so the customs authority in the receiving country can charge the correct customs fees and taxes.
HS stands for Harmonised System. Harmonised System Codes were developed by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) and are an internationally standardised system of names and numbers to classify products. That means if you use the correct HS Code, your item can be easily identified worldwide.
HS Codes are typically 6 digits for non-EU countries and 8 digits for shipping to the EU.
HS Codes are mandatory for shipping items into the EU from a non-EU country. As a result of Brexit, the UK will no longer be part of the EU Customs Union. Therefore it will be treated the same as any other country outside the EU - parcels travelling between the UK and the EU will require customs documents and every item will need an 8 digit HS Code.
There are a variety of HS Code lookup tools available online where you enter the item you’re sending then you select the description that best fits that item.
E.g. If you’re sending a cotton T-shirt, enter T-shirt, then choose the most appropriate description. In this example, it would be: T-shirts, singlets and other vests of cotton, knitted or crocheted. Copy the HS code associated with that description.
We won’t lie to you, it can be a bit confusing to begin with, but stick with it because no matter how you send your parcel to the EU, HS Codes will be required.
A quick Google search for ‘HS Code lookup tool’ or ‘Tariff Code lookup’ will give you a number of options for finding HS Codes. There’s the Government Trade Tariff tool and some couriers even have their own lookup tool. The codes will be the same no matter which tool you use, so just choose the one you find easiest.
It can be hard to choose the correct tariff code. If you can’t find an exact match for your item, get as close as you can by selecting something that looks the most relevant.
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