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.
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:
Businesses shipping goods internationally are required to fill out additional information on their customs forms, including but not limited to:
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:
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:
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.
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.
Be sure to include accurate information in your item descriptions.
|Bad descriptions||Good descriptions|
|Parts||Hexagonal aluminium bicycle nuts|
|Personal items||Green hat (100% Merino wool)|
Be as specific as possible to avoid possible misclassification of the parcel.
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:
You can find the list of HS codes on any official government website or customs portal.
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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