How to Fill Out a Customs Declaration Form

Why are customs forms used for international shipping?

Customs forms are used to declare the contents and value of your shipment, while also indicating that you have followed shipping regulations in both the collection and delivery countries. Customs authorities inspect all cross-border shipments and their accompanying documentation to assess duty and taxes to be paid. With all the necessary information included on customs forms, they serve as a type of passport for your parcel.

The customs forms you need to fill out depend on the country that you are shipping to, and whether the purpose of your shipment is business or private. To help you get ready for shipping, we have prepared general guidelines on how to fill out customs forms.

How to correctly fill out a customs declaration form

It is important to fill out the customs form thoroughly and correctly, otherwise your shipment may be delayed or blocked at customs.

The following information will be mandatory on almost all customs forms:

  • Full name, address and contact details of the sender
  • Full name, address and contact details of the receiver
  • Type of contents and accurate content description (if there are several different items in the same parcel, note them all separately)
  • Quantity of items
  • Value of each item
  • Details of where each item was manufactured (if applicable)
  • Weight and dimensions of the parcel
  • Reason for shipment (commercial, gift, return, etc.)

Businesses shipping goods internationally are required to fill out additional information on their customs forms, including but not limited to:

  • VAT number
  • EORI number
  • HS code of each product
  • Terms of sale (Incoterms)

Special requirements for customs in different countries

There are several different laws concerning exports and imports to various countries, so if you are sending your shipment overseas, be sure to check the regulations beforehand.

For example, when using a postal service like Royal Mail to send a parcel between international countries (i.e. non-EU and EU), you will be required to fill out a CN22 or CN23 customs form, depending on the weight and value of the parcel.

Some examples of customs forms required for shipping internationally to different countries:

  • Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) – All EU countries
  • Automated Manifest System Declaration (AMS) – USA, Canada, Mexico, Philippines
  • Certificate of Origin – Cambodia, Canada, UAE, Doha, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

Mistakes to avoid in your customs form

You should pay attention to details and be honest when you fill out customs forms for international shipments. Double-check everything and make sure you avoid:

1. Incorrect information about the sender or receiver

It is important that the information you provide when you fill out your customs form is accurate; otherwise, there could be serious consequences. Customs may hold your parcel indefinitely or – in the case of a wrong address – it could end up in a different city or country than where it was supposed to go.

2. Declaring a shipment value that is lower than the actual value

Do not try to deceive customs officials by declaring a lower value for your items. If you are caught doing this, you could be prosecuted and fined heavily – and have your goods seized.

3. Vague or inaccurate item descriptions

Be sure to include accurate information in your item descriptions.

Bad descriptionsGood descriptions
PartsHexagonal aluminium bicycle nuts
Personal itemsGreen hat (100% Merino wool)


Be as specific as possible to avoid possible misclassification of the parcel.

4. Wrong classification of the items

Use the correct harmonised tariff (HS) code and specify the quantities of each item in your customs form. If you enter a code that is not appropriate for your product, the automated export system will reject it and hold up delivery.


If you are shipping men’s leather shoes – the HS code will be the following:

  • Category: Footwear (64)
  • Subcategory: Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather and uppers of leather (6403)
  • HS code for all leather shoes for men: 64035111

You can find the list of HS codes on any official government website or customs portal.

5. Attaching customs forms or other documentation incorrectly

To ensure successful shipment, it is important to attach the customs label to your items. Typically, carriers require two copies of the label, one on top and the other inside the parcel.

Use transparent packaging tape to attach the customs forms and shipping label, making sure all essential information, including the barcode, is visible.

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FAQ about customs forms and international shipping

When is a customs declaration form needed for shipping?
You need to provide a customs form when shipping goods internationally (e.g. between EU and non-EU countries) because they need to go through customs clearance before delivery. Customs officials use the information you provide in your customs declaration form to determine whether the contents of the shipment are safe and legal to enter the destination country. Without this information, your shipment may be delayed or even returned to the sender. Fill out the customs form accurately and completely to avoid any inconvenience.
Do all couriers require a customs form for international shipping?
Yes, whether you are shipping with DHL, FedEx, TNT, UPS – or any other courier company – you will need to fill out a customs form if your shipment is crossing international borders. This is a requirement set by the governments of the countries where collection and delivery occur.
It is important to note that neither Eurosender nor the assigned courier can influence customs procedures in any way.
What is the difference between the CN22 and the CN23 forms?
The difference between the CN22 and CN23 customs declaration forms is based on the weight and value of the parcel being shipped:
  • For parcels under 2 kg and valued up to a certain amount*, you will need to use the CN22 form.
  • If your parcel weighs 2-20 kg and is valued at a certain amount or more, you will need to use the CN23 form.
CN22 and CN23 forms are the most common types of customs documents. They are required when shipping goods outside the EU or to territories with a different tax system than the EU. The CN22 form is less detailed than the CN23 form. Usually, the CN22 form is attached to the address side of the parcel in the form of a sticker. The CN23 form contains more detail. It can be attached to the outside of the parcel in a transparent envelope.
*Please note that the threshold amounts for the CN22 and CN23 forms vary across different countries. To ensure you have the most up-to-date information, we recommend that you check with your chosen courier or postal service.
Do I need a customs form for shipping between the EU and Switzerland?
Yes, you will need to submit a customs form when shipping between the EU and Switzerland. This is because Switzerland is not a member of the EU, so when you ship goods between these two areas, your shipment will go through customs clearance.
Make sure to check the regulations and requirements that apply in your specific case to ensure a smooth shipping process.
How do customs declarations work when shipping to or from Northern Ireland?
Customs procedures are quite complicated for Northern Ireland as a result of Brexit. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, but it remains in the EU single market.
This means that if you are sending a parcel between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, there should be no customs inspections. On the other hand, if you are sending a parcel between Northern Ireland and Great Britain or other non-EU countries, you will need to fill out the required customs forms.
It is important to note that customs regulations and procedures may change over time, so it is recommended to consult with relevant authorities or shipping companies to ensure compliance with current regulations.
Do I need to print out any customs forms when shipping with Eurosender?
Yes, when shipping internationally with Eurosender, you will need to fill out and then print a proforma invoice. After booking the service, you will receive instructions via email on how to fill out and submit the customs documentation.
Disclaimer: The information above serves as a guideline and reflects the requirements for international cross-border shipments. You may be asked to provide additional documentation if needed, depending on different country regulations. It is the shipper’s responsibility to check and fill in the documentation correctly.