Customs Advice

Customs Advice

All parcels being shipped from the UK to destinations outside of the European Union and all imports from non-EU countries will be subject to Customs Clearance. This also applies to special and overseas territories linked to EU Member states (e.g. Channel Islands, Canary Islands, Falkland Islands etc.). 

Due to the number of countries and destinations we ship to, we are unable to advise on specific customs policies but we have provided some general customs advice below to help you.

Your Responsibilities

As the shipper, you are responsible for the following:

  • Ensuring you send no prohibited items.

  • Ensuring you send no commodities that are restricted in your destination country:
  • Some governments prohibit or restrict the entrance of certain items into the country. There are often laws prohibiting certain foodstuffs, for example. Restrictions can vary vastly from country to country and you should check the customs websites of your destination to ensure your items could be sent.


  • Completing all relevant documentation required for customs clearance:
  • With the exception of documents, all shipments bound for, or imported from, destinations outside of the European Union must be accompanied by four copies of a customs invoice. This is a document detailing the contents and value of each of the items in your shipment. When you book with GC Express, a customs invoice is generated automatically for you during the order process. If you have your own invoice, you can use that instead of the document generated by our system. Please see our  documentation section for more information.


  • Explaining to the receiver their liability for import duties, taxes, and charges
  • Import duties and taxes may be payable by the receiver depending on the commodity and value of the goods. In some (but not all) countries, personal effects are exempt from these charges. Import duty is usually charged as a percentage of the declared value of your goods. A customs clearance administration fee may also be charged. All customs charges will need to be paid before your goods are released for delivery.

Export Preference

The European Union has trade agreements with certain countries outside of the EU whereby exporters may be entitled to claim a preferential tariff on the import of certain goods. Please see the HMRC website for more information.

Personal Effects

If you are shipping personal effects to the USA, Australia or New Zealand, completing the following forms in advance can help speed-up the customs clearance process. If you do not send them with your shipment, they will need to be completed by the receiver.

Personal effects to the USA

  • “Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles” (1 copy)

  • Instructions for completing the “Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles

Personal effects to Australia

  • “Unaccompanied personal Effects Statement” (1 copy)

Personal effects New Zealand

  • “Unaccompanied personal Effects Statement” (1 copy)

Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI)

The EORI Number was introduced in July 2009 to improve security and speed up the customs clearance of goods entering and leaving the states of the European Union.


All UK companies exporting outside of the EU should have an EORI number. The EORI number for most UK companies takes the following format: GB, followed by your nine digit VAT number and ending with a three digit 000 suffix, for example: GB123456789000.


You can check if your EORI number is valid by entering it into the EORI Number Validator in the format described above. If your number is valid, please enter it into the box provided. If it is not valid, you can download and complete anEORI Application Form and submit this to HMRC. If you have any queries regarding the EORI application process then please visit the HMRC website.

Additional Information

Worldwide Customs Information