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UK customs declarations for international shipments

Mariluz Sampalo
Mariluz Sampalo
Apr 3, 2023
customs declarations are now very often needed when dealing with international shipment from or to the uk

The UK is a large, worldwide eCommerce market. As strong and independent as it is, when it comes to international orders, it’s important to be aware of the requirements of shipping and receiving packages from other countries.

Since the exit of the UK from the European Union, more laws and regulations have been implemented, confusing some businesses and individuals when it comes to ordering from the UK to the EU, possible returns (shipments from the EU to the UK), and so forth.

This brief article will give you the basics: when you need to fill customs declarations, what information to include and what their purpose is. Plus, we’ll also suggest an order management tool that will make your fulfillment and shipping process more efficient.

What are customs forms for?

Customs forms collect all the information needed to make sure that the parcel arrives safely and timely at its destination.

Customs forms are part of the customs clearance process, which is why they are only needed when a parcel travels to another customs destination.

Customs forms — or customs declaration forms — are a way to declare or state the value of the goods being transported, making it unnecessary in the cases of shipping a letter or document without monetary value.

custom agent checks custom declarations regarless of the transportation method

Source: JRB freight forwarders

Authorities can then check the truthfulness of what has been declared and calculate if import duties or taxes are to be paid.

When do you need customs declaration forms in the UK?

UK businesses and individuals need to present customs forms for all the goods that are sent to a country outside the UK.

On the other hand, parcels that are sent from Northern Ireland won’t need a customs declaration form unless their destination is outside the EU (excluding the UK).

You don’t need customs forms for shipments within the UK or for international shipments consisting of letters or other forms of documentation without monetary value.

Depending on the value of the goods, you will need to fill out a CN22 form (for items under the value of £270) or the CN23 form for items with a value over £270. Read more about CN22 and CN23 forms.

Information you will need for completing customs declarations in the UK

If you are wondering what UK customs forms contain, this section will help you to get a better understanding of customs declarations. They typically need to include:

  • The name and address of the sender
  • Package contents and product descriptions (with quantity and weight)
  • Value of each product
  • Total value and weight, total number of products
  • For businesses only: HS code and GB EORI number or VAT registered number
  • You may also need to add the recipient’s name and address

However if you are concerned about filling out UK customs declarations, rest assured that Outvio will help you automate the customs clearance process by generating invoices and other customs documents. Try it for free and forget about customs forms!


Customs forms are a daily part of the eCommerce operations of any UK online shop that works on an international level.

Constant law enforcement and new regulations make it difficult to navigate customs, and not every business can stay up-to-date with government guidelines. For this reason, keeping an eye on the news on the topic and having a basic knowledge of the matter can help you come a long way to reduce shipping issues related to customs declarations and offer faster and more reliable deliveries.

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