Import Control System (ICS2)

What is ICS2?

Customs action at external border/s plays an essential role in protecting citizens against safety and security threats.

The European Union together with Switzerland and Norway have implemented a safety and security programme to help underpin this; the Import Control System 2 (ICS2). As a consequence of this, the item data and content information required for export and import must be entered electronically by the sender and sent to the country of destination in advance (electronic advance data – ‘EAD’). It allows customs authorities to identify items which may require control earlier in the supply chain and take the appropriate action.

Given the growth of global cross-border e-commerce, the new regulations are intended to provide greater security and quicker customs processes.

Who is effected by ICS2?

Anyone who is exporting an item that requires a customs declaration (including gifts, samples, goods and other categories) to The European Union, Switzerland or Norway.

What type of electronic data will I need to supply as part of this?

A minimum electronic dataset must be provided including Tariff Code/s. This dataset will be included in the Electronic Advance Data (EAD). You can use an approved Parcelforce or Third-Party Shipping Solution where this is captured automatically so you can continue exporting with the required and compliant electronic data. 

What happens if an advance declaration is missing, incomplete or incorrect?

Any items containing goods that do not have mandatory data fields completed will be at risk of being delayed or returned.


I already provide the data needed? - No action is required and you can continue to export as you would do normally.

What’s a tariff code? – Tariff codes are an internationally recognised standard allowing your item/s to be easily identified and assessed by customs systems worldwide regardless of language barriers.

Do I need a tariff code (I am not a business and sending to my friend)? - Providing a tariff code is always recommended (where known) when exporting internationally. It helps to confirm the specific goods which are being sent. You will also be required to send all other electronic data and the easiest way to do this is via a Parcelforce or Third Party shipping system.

I understand this is only for air carried goods at the moment? – Yes, this is correct. The Import Control System (ICS2) program only effects goods that are carried by air currently. In phase 3 (1st March 2024) goods which are carried by other mediums, maritime, road and rail will also be in scope.

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