Customs - guidelines

Customs - guidelines

Export Customs Information

Customs rules and regulations are independent to all carriers across the world and set by national governments, bodies like the European Union and the World Customs Organisation.

As a re-seller, we are bound by these rules, as are all of our competitors.

In addition, our customs "top tips" on major destinations have been supplied from Tates Export Guide which is an excellent source of current requirements.


In brief, it is always your responsibility as the shipper to:


  • Ensure you do not send anything which is prohibited by or any of our partners as listed on our website.

  • Check you know any prohibitions and restrictions set by governments overseas for the types of goods you are shipping. We have provided some "top tips" as a starting point in our directory for major destinations

  • Complete and attach any other necessary documentation required for customs clearance overseas. This will vary by country, and will depend on the types of goods you are sending

  • Explain to overseas customers that their imported goods may well be subject to import duties and taxes which will need paying before parcels will be released for delivery


There are a range of organisations in the UK who can help you with all of the above. As a starting point, we recommend that you talk to HM Revenue & Customs who can be contacted on 0300 200 3700. You can also find information on the HMRC website.

What are Customs regulations there for?
Customs processes are there to monitor trade levels between countries, help maintain national security, but also for fiscal purposes. Depending on the type of good, country of origin, and the country of destination, goods may, or may not, be subject to prohibitions, restrictions, and the application of duties / taxes.

Exporting Worldwide - General

There are some rules and additional documentation that may apply to some EU and non-EU destinations alike, depending on what is being sent and to where. You need to know the regulations for your products in your chosen export markets.

Import licences

Certain goods being imported into some countries may require an import licence, imposed by the overseas government for a range of reasons including health & safety, import quotas and so on. We recommend that you check with the importer that relevant licences have been obtained from the relevant government department before shipping any goods. Be aware that rules and regulations change all the time and it is your responsibility to check with your overseas customer that relevant licences have been granted.

Moving goods into the EU

Shipping goods into the EU is commonly known as "moving" rather than "exporting". This is because the EU is a single market - as such trade between the countries is easier and mainly without barriers. Shipping to the EU has fewer trade restrictions and no specific Customs documentation is needed (except the despatch pack and potentially some of the additional licences listed above). There are 28 EU members, plus 7 territories where we do not require customs declarations.

EU Member states

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Bulgaria

  • Croatia

  • Cyprus

  • Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • Estonia

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Hungary

  • Ireland

  • Italy

  • Latvia

  • Lithuania

  • Luxenbourg

  • Malta

  • Netherlands

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Romania

  • Slovakia

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • United Kingdom


EU Territories

  • Monaco

  • Corsica

  • Sardinia

  • Sicily

  • Azores

  • Madeira

  • Balearics


Other territories
EU special territories (including the Channel Islands and the Canary Islands) and overseas territories linked to EU members (for example, the Falkland Islands) should all be treated as non-EU destinations.

Exporting outside the EU

The key thing to be aware of is that for all parcels going outside these EU destinations, parcels will pass through customs procedures. The customs team overseas will make a judgement on whether any duties and taxes are applicable to the parcel, based on the information provided on the despatch pack and commercial invoice.

Movement Certificates and Invoice Declarations
Some countries require certain goods to have a Certificate of Origin attached to the parcel. Turkey , for example, requires a certificate of origin for most types of goods, and Taiwan requires them for textiles and clothing. You need to make sure that you have checked with the local Chambers of Commerce who can advise on specifics.

Harmonised System (HS) Numbers
We advise including the World Customs Organisation 6 digit Harmonised System (HS) tariff number (also known as commodity codes, tariff headings, tariff codes, or classification codes) for each type of good, along with details of the country of origin. This will aid customs authorities who assess and charge appropriate duties and taxes. For assistance contact HMRC's customs team by e-mail at Look up your Customs tariff code Opens in new window.

Further information

As all duties and taxes are raised by HMRC, we cannot answer any queries. If you have any queries relating to customs, taxes or duties raised by HMRC, please contact visit the HMRC website.



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