Brexit was the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on January 31st, 2020. After 31st December of the same year, sending parcels to the EU required additional customs declaration information and documentation, and also saw changes to fees. Shipping to Europe became more of a tedious task, however, we updated our shipping systems to allow additional information entry when placing an international booking.

DHL Parcel UK have prepared a handy guide outlineoutlining the changes seen to sending parcels abroad after Brexit and how you can adjust your shipping to ensure you don’t fall short.




WHAT HAPPENED WITH BREXIT?

At the end of 2019, UK Government ministers agreed to the Prime Minister’s latest Brexit deal, which saw the United Kingdom leave the European Union on the 31st January, 2020. The country entered into a transition period for 11 months, where the UK remained part of the EU Customs Union and single market – meaning there we no added requirements for sending parcels to the EU.

It was possible that the UK could leave under a ‘no deal’ scenario if a trade agreement was not agreed by the end of the transition period – however a deal was struck and a post-Brexit United Kingdom began on January 1st 2021. This then saw changes to how we send parcels to Europe.




CHANGES TO POSTING TO EUROPE AFTER BREXIT

For shipments to Europe and even single sends to family and friends, you now need to complete a customs declaration form and attach it to your parcel. This declaration allows your parcel to pass through borders between countries. When sending gifts, a pro-forma invoice is needed, whereas a commercial invoice is needed when your parcel contains items with commercial value.

If you currently ship items outside of Europe, you will already be familiar with this process. However, if commercial or pro forma invoices are new to you – don’t worry, it is quick and easy to do on DHL Parcel UK.

Simply fill in the DHL Parcel UK International booking form and we’ll use the information you provide to generate either a commercial or pro-forma invoice (depending on the items you are sending). You then just need to print the invoice and shipping label and affix both securely to your parcel.




How to fill in the booking form

The commercial or pro-forma invoice is used by customs officials, so it is important that you complete the booking form accurately in order to avoid delays.

To help you to do this, we provide more information on each section below:


1. Sender contact details 

Please provide your name, address and telephone number - this will allow us to contact you should there be an issue with your shipment. 


2. Recipient contact details

You will need to provide the recipient's address, email address and telephone number when sending items to the EU. 


3. VAT status 

Complete your VAT status and if you are VAT registered, give your VAT number. 


4. Reason for export 

Select a reason why you are sending the parcel from the drop-down list provided. 


5. Country of origin 

This is the country where the item was originally manufactured, produced or grown. If you are unsure, this information can usually be found on the label of clothes and food products or on the base of toys and electrical equipment. If multiple items are in your shipment, you will need to provide a country of origin for each item. 


6. Number of units

List the items in your shipment and the number of each, for example, 3 dresses, 2 t-shirts, and 1 pair of socks. 


7. Unit value

Give an approximate value for each item you are sending in GBP. This will be used to calculate duty. 


8. Product description

Your product description should be as detailed as possible to avoid the parcel being held by customs. You will need to include: the type of product, the material used to make it, the production method, and what it will be used for.

We give some examples of acceptable and unacceptable product descriptions below:

Example product descriptions


Bad product descriptions

Good product descriptions

Clothing

Men's knitted jumper, 70% cotton, 30% polyester

Laptop

HP Pavilion 14-ce1509sa 14" Intel Core i3 Laptop

Footwear

Ladies leather shoe





Possible additional fields

If you are a business sending parcels abroad after Brexit, you will need to provide additional information about your shipment, including an EORI number and Commodity Codes. Our booking form for sending parcels to Europe was updated in order to allow you to enter this additional information.


EORI number (business senders only)

EORI stands for Economic Operator Registration and Identification. An EORI number is currently needed to import or export items outside of the EU, so this field already exists within our international booking form, under 'VAT status'.

Note, this will be an optional field as it only needs to be filled in by our business senders. If you are a personal sender, then you should leave this field blank.


Commodity codes

Commodity codes (also known as HS codes) are used to classify products. This information is used by officials at customs clearance points across the world. By using a number to describe what is in a shipment, it removes issues associated with vague descriptions and language barriers.

If you are a business, you can also classify your product catalogue with commodity codes by following the instructions below:

a. Visit: https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff

b. Enter the search term. Note, the item may not be listed by name, it may come under what it is used for or made from.

c. You will be given several suggested sections.

d. The heading in each chapter describes a product. Only select a sub-heading if your item is accurately described.

e. If your item is not accurately described, check further down the list. If none of the sub-headings match your item use the ‘other’ heading.




WHAT BREXIT MEANT FOR BUSINESSES SENDING PARCELS TO THE EU

Businesses were required to meet changes to posting to Europe after Brexit, meaning if they had not already, they needed to follow a number of steps to become ‘Brexit ready’.

This included registering with HMRC and finding an EORI number, the classification of products through commodity codes and updating product descriptions to ensure they were detailed and related to a commodity code.

Businesses were also required to check their data to ensure all addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers were correct for repeat-order recipients.




PERSONAL SENDERS POSTING TO EUROPE AFTER BREXIT

Personal senders are, of course, still able to send parcels to Europe. However, more information is now required.

Sending parcels abroad after Brexit now requires you to complete a customs declaration that you attach to your parcel. This should clearly state the contents of the parcel and the value of the item, along with any relevant commodity codes – no matter whether the item is new, second-hand or your own personal belongings.

Visit the government trade tariff website to find out the commodity code for your item.

If you should require any further assistance, please get in touch with our Customer Service team.


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