- Obtain an EORI number
If you move goods between the UK and other countries, you must have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. For England, Wales and Scotland, your EORI number must begin with GB. For Northern Ireland, your EORI number must begin with XI. More information on trading with Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic can be obtained from the UK governments Trader Support Service.
You can apply for an EORI number on the gov.uk website.
- If another party (e.g. Ligentia) is going to act on your behalf, provide written authorisation
In order for another party to act as your Customs Agent, you will need to provide written authorisation (in the form of a Power of Attorney Letter or a Letter of Empowerment) before they are able to assist in moving your goods.
- Understand the rules and licenses that apply to your goods.
There are a number of different types of goods that require additional licensing or certification. These include, but are by no means limited to, items such as:
- animals and animal products,
- drugs and medicines,
- medical devices,
- Food products,
- Items subject to Prohibitions and restrictions regulations ( Dual Use)
- and waste.
Duties, rules and restrictions for your goods can differ from country to country, so ensure you know what’s required at your destination.
The gov.uk website has a helpful tool you can use to carry out your checks.
- Classify your goods with a commodity code.
Customs declarations require a commodity code (HS classification), which is internationally recognised, to identify your goods. This code will determine the duties and taxes applied by customs.
Determine which commodity code you need by visiting the gov.uk website and using their Trade tariff tool.
- Establish the origin of your goods.
Under a tariff preference scheme, your goods may qualify for lower of customs duty at destination. If this is the case, you will need proof of origin. You may then make a written origin declaration on your paperwork
- Agree on Incoterms.
Incoterms 2020 published by the International Chambers of Commerce. Internationally recognised, they detail the responsibilities of the buyer and seller under each of 11 possible terms of shipment. These also define at which point risk passes from the Seller to the Buyer.
Ensure your Incoterms are agreed so that shipping and delivery responsibilities are understood across the board.
If appropriate under the incoterms, ensure your customer is aware and prepared to clear the cargo.
- Pack your products.
Make sure you adequately pack the products for transportation. Any wood used in packing must comply with the requirements of ISPM15 regulations.
- Prepare your invoice and other documentation.
Your completed invoice, along with any necessary licenses or certification, must travel with your goods. Where possible you should list any freight or export insurance separately to the value of your goods.
The invoice must cover the full price of the goods any deposits, stage payments etc. should be detailed. Failure to declare the true sale values may result in criminal proceeding either in the UK or in the seller’s country.
The invoice should include details of your EORI, the Incoterms, a clear description of the goods and a clear indication of the currency of the invoice. Packing details can be supplied on the invoice or a separate packing list as appropriate. Adding the first 6 digits of the tariff/commodity code is good practice.
If going to the EU also include your Customers EORI with their name and address.
Remember if going directly for export outside the UK you do not need to charge VAT, but you must obtain evidence of exportation.
If another party (e.g. Ligentia) is acting as your broker, they will require this documentation to declare your export. It will also form the basis of the import declaration completed by your customer.
- Make your export declaration.
When goods arrive for customs control, you or your broker must notify customs. They will then assess whether your goods can progress or need further examination or documentation before arriving in the destination country.
- Get written confirmation your goods have left the UK.
It is important you have proof of export, you should keep copies of the export invoice, dispatch receipt, CMR note and customs entry.
- Retain of all your paperwork.
Commercial invoices and customs paperwork proof of export should be kept for at least 4 years. Your record keeping should be able to identify and collate all the commercial and supporting documents including proof of origin should HMRC request it.
For the import customs entry checklist click here