How can different customs methods affect international parcel exporting?

09 October, 2017

Customs sign at an airport.

For international parcel exporting, the final destination – and the customs that could apply – tend to have a big impact on business.

From costs, to time delays, there are many ways in which international rules and regulations can contribute to, or slow down, results. So, what do you need to look out for when you’re international parcel exporting and where might your business need to adapt?


There’s no doubt that shipping within the EU is a much simpler process than international parcel exporting to countries outside of its borders.

Customs – as a result of the free movement rules within the EU, for countries inside the EU sending to others in the same area there are usually few customs concerns to deal with. Some products are subject to export licence controls, such as alcohol and tobacco, and there are some recipients for whom you’ll still need customs documentation e.g. sales to international organisations based in the EU (this is treated as an export outside the EU). However, in most cases, no special customs documentation is necessary.

Customs duties – when you’re exporting within the EU there are usually no customs duties to pay. However, remember that when you reach the distance selling threshold (€35,000) you will need to register for VAT.


International parcel exporting outside of the EU is still fairly straightforward but there is a bit more to consider in terms of forms and processes.

Customs declarations – you will need to fill out a customer declaration when exporting outside of the EU. This will either be CN22 where the contents of a package has a value up to £270 or CN23 for goods worth more. The form needs to be signed and attached to the front of the parcel.

Customs duties – for international parcel exporting there are also customs duties to consider. The rates are set by the country to which you’re shipping the package and are payable directly to that customs authority. Make sure you know the commodity code for whatever you’re sending as this can affect the import duty that you have to pay.

Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) scheme – EORI numbers are assigned to an individual entity (sole trader, partnership, company or individual) – in the UK this is done by HMRC. You’ll need to have your EORI number when sending goods outside of the EU to complete the Exit Summary Declaration.

Asendia can help deliver your products through customs seamlessly.

Benefit from our extensive knowledge of international markets to help you sell across borders with ease, even into countries with more complex customs requirements, such as Switzerland, Norway, and the USA.

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