Customs Postal Data
This page is for our Parcelforce Worldwide account holders and has been created as a guide to customs. Please remember that customs rules and regulations are different in each country and Parcelforce Worldwide is not responsible for setting any rules. Below is a guide only and rules may differ depending on what and where you are exporting to.
What is a Customs Declaration?
A customs declaration is required for all exports of parcels from the UK to overseas destinations. The customs declaration is managed and submitted by PFWW (and our chosen partners) as appropriate for each product. Customs agencies use the information provided within the customs declaration to ensure items are compliant with their own local regulations and to calculate what, if any, tax and duties are due. If you are sending goods to a country outside of the UK, you must provide full and accurate information to avoid parcels being rejected by customs. For more information please click here.
The CN23 is an officially recognised document to capture essential details to support and make the customs declarations in the UK and in destination countries.
Each destination is responsible for setting their own import controls on restricted goods. Customers are advised to identify whether items being imported into a specific destination will require licences / certificates or incur additional charges. To identify specific Country requirements, please visit our individual country pages here.
*Please note: When sending items from Northern Ireland to the EU, no customs declarations are required for sending gifts or goods.
What is a Commercial Invoice?
A commercial invoice is a supporting document for customs purposes. The commercial invoice enables the overseas customs authorities to confirm required information about the goods you are sending.
How do I present the above Supporting Documents?
These documents must be physically provided when sending the item. We recommend you include these physical documents within a plastic wallet affixed to the outside of the parcel. You must attach this to the same side as your address label where size permits, however if this not possible, we suggest that you attach it on the reverse/back of the item if there is sufficient space. Items sent without valid or incorrectly or partially completed documents may be delayed or returned to sender. These documents will need to be completed accurately before collection or dropping off at the Post Office®/Depot.
You must ensure that you are confident that the information provided is a true and accurate reflection of the items being dispatched. Parcelforce Worldwide cannot be held liable for any incorrect information but the sender can be legally responsible for ensuring data provided for customs purposes is accurate. It is worthwhile ensuring that you are familiar with the customs laws for exporting and importing.
Electronic Customs Data
Electronic customs data is also mandatory. Pre-registration schemes such as the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) require accurate electronic data to enable items to be cleared through customs successfully. Any items with incomplete or missing data may be delayed or returned.
Where can I complete the CN23 and Commercial Invoice?
Our International account holders can input the required information via WDM Online or via our API (ExpressLink) and these systems will automatically generate these documents for you where appropriate using the information you have provided. You must ensure that you are confident that the information provided is a true and accurate reflection of the items being dispatched as this will form part of the Electronic Customs Data created. PFW cannot be held liable for any incorrect information but the sender can be legally responsible for ensuring data provided for customs purposes is accurate. It is worthwhile ensuring that you are familiar with the customs laws for exporting and importing.
Postal Product Requirements
Sender’s Details in FULL, including Phone Number
|Product label x 1
CN23 x 1
Commercial invoice x 3
Any additional licenses
Export Licenses / Regulatory Controls
Certain goods being exported to some countries may require an export licence from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Attach it to the package in an envelope marked ‘Export Licence’ and tick the relevant box on the despatch pack. A licence is usually valid for a single shipment, even if the value of the goods being sent is less than the amount specified on the licence. Different governmental departments have different export licence requirements – check with the relevant one for your goods. These departments include:
Sending items to the EU and Non-EU destinations – VAT & Customs Duties
For items being sent to countries outside of the UK the customs thresholds at which point taxes and duties are applicable will vary from country to country and are decided by local customs authorities. We would always recommend that you check these before sending and further information on this can be found here.
For customers sending an item from NI to the EU there is no requirement to complete and apply a customs declaration. NI remains in the EU Customs Union and therefore customs taxes and duties are not applicable. The taxes and duties applied depend on the individual contents of the parcel, the weight, and the value.
I’m sending to the Channel Islands; will I need a Customs Declaration?
Yes, if you are shipping item/s to the Channel Islands you will require custom declarations. This includes Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark. Please note goods to Jersey may also be liable for GST (Goods and Service Tax) which is currently 5%. Find out more about shipping to the Channel Islands at our Worldwide Directory.