Let’s start with the most
commonly required piece
of customs paperwork.

The Commercial Invoice


To ensure that your package makes it through customs and to your buyer / recipient, be accurate when filling out your commercial invoice. If you fail to provide all relevant information, your shipment will likely be delayed by customs authorities.

Here’s a detailed rundown of what you need to include:

  • Sender’s name, address and contact details (phone number)
  • The sender’s VAT / EORI number
  • Receiver’s name and address (and VAT/EORI numbers if you have them)
  • Date of invoice (the shipping date)
  • Full description of each item of goods supplied and their individual commodity code(s)
  • If your shipment contains multiple items and you require more space to declare them, you can list these on a separate sheet and attach to the invoice
  • Country of origin (manufacture) of each of the goods being supplied
  • Quantity of each item
  • Value of each item in GBP
  • Total value of all goods declared
  • Weight
  • Number of items
  • Reason for export (for example, sale/repair/loan/gift)
  • Intercoms (all explained below) – we’ll elect for DDP unless otherwise instructed here…
  • If using paper copies, the invoice must be signed & dated with four copies included with the shipment

Download Commercial Invoice

Commodity Codes

You can search the full, definitive and official list of Commodity codes (AKA ‘HS’ or ‘Tariff’ numbers)
here: https://www.trade-tariff.service.gov.uk/find_commodity

Why certain information
is required for customs

Origin of goods

Customs authorities must have clarity over a package’s country of origin. This is because trade agreements and duties vary from region to region. By verifying the country of origin, you ensure the correct application of export / import duty and associated fees.

Incoterms confirm

The point of delivery. Defines the stage at which shipment ownership is transferred from the seller to the buyer   Transportation costs. The Incoterms determine which party pays for each stage of transportation. Insurance costs. The Incoterms decide which party will cover insurance fees for the shipment.


Formally known as International Commercial Terms (ICC). Existed for over a century, Incoterms are a global agreement concerning the transportation of goods. Incoterms serve to reduce confusion between international sellers & buyers by standardising factors commonly.

eCourier use two Incoterms, here is what they mean

Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) The seller is responsible for delivering the goods to the agreed destination of the buyer, and pays all transport costs, duties & taxes until that point. Delivered at Place (DAP) The shipper will take care of international shippingcosts, insurance, and export documents and the importer will pay all customs and import duties. This is the most simple way to organise shipment.


What is an EORI Number and why do you need it?

An “Economic Operators Registration and Identification” Number is used by the EU to identify importers & exporters moving goods throughout the region. Typically it will be your VAT registration number with two added digits. It is free to register, simple to obtain but is of importance if you are moving goods to or from Europe.

You can register here https://www.gov.uk/eori

Are you an eCommerce retailer / Business or Selling lower value items to the EU marketplace?

The EU VAT obligations changed on 1 July 2021, and IOSS was introduced. You have obligations as an online seller, including your VAT liability…here’s the steps you need to take.

As of 1 July 2021, the EU ended its low-value consignment relief threshold of €22, which means all products going into the EU will attract VAT for either the buyer or the seller.

What is 'IOSS'?

IOSS = ‘Import One-Stop Shop’.
It’s a simplified reporting model which enables sellers to register in a single location for the sales you make to all EU consumers. It’s applicable where the total value of a sale of goods in a shipment is below €150. IOSS is designed to ensure fast, simple customs clearance.

As a seller, you are required to display the amount of VAT paid by the buyer in the EU, by the time the ordering process is finalised. You will need to produce an invoice stating the price paid by the buyer in EUR, this will need to be provided alongside your IOSS number. This allows the import VAT to be exempt when the goods pass through customs. You then report the VAT you collected at point of sale in your monthly IOSS returns.

Why is there a €150 threshold on consignment value?

VAT is due on all goods shipped into the EU but consignment values of above €150 would likely be subject to duties (on top of the VAT). The information on your commercial invoice will determine whether and duty is applicable.

Does every seller have to register for IOSS when selling to the EU?

No, IOSS is a simplified process that allows you to ship to all 27 EU member states through one singular registration. You can still continue to ship through the old DAP and DDP models, but using both methods is not possible for orders €150

What if goods are sold with a value of over more than €150?

IOSS does not cover the shipment of these goods so you will be required to use one of the previous models like DAP or DDP.

You can reclaim the VAT on returned goods in the new IOSS returns.

eCourier International Services - Maximum Sizing

eCourier’s standard size and dimensional limits for international shipping are as follows:

Max length = 1.2m as standard (up to 3m available, POA)
Max weight (per piece) = 70KGs per Item (unless palletised).
Dimensions are volumed at a denominator of 5000 (L x W x H (in centimetres) divided by 5000)

Other Considerations

Certain surcharges may be applied to international shipments, most commonly a Fuel Surcharge (related to the jet fuel) which is a dynamic charge that tracks the wholesale cost. If you are sending to a particularly remote location, an ODA (Outer Delivery Area) charge may be apparent – We can confirm at point of booking.

Additional insurance is available for any consignment you feel requires additional cover.

Need some urgent help? eCourier Escalation Contacts

Next Day and International Department: NDI@ecourier.co.uk

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