Sending parcels to the UK ? We support you after Brexit

After ten months of intense negotiations, an agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union was finally reached on December 24, 2020. The Brexit therefore came into effect on January 1, 2021. This implies the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, and the end of the free movement of goods.

Customs formalities, import and export declarations are now the rule for all transactions.

DPD France accompanies you in this transition and helps you to develop your sales in the UK.

Key steps for successful shipments to the UK


1. Get your EORI number

EORI stands for Economic Operators Registration and Identification number.
You will need this number to export goods to the UK, as well as to import goods from the UK into Europe.

Applying for an EORI number is a simple process that can be done via the French customs website. It can take up to 3 days for this EORI number to become active.

Remember that any import or export operation without this EORI number will result in the goods being detained.


2. Know the customs nomenclature (HS code) of your products


Find out the HS codes (Harmonised System, also known as customs codes) of the products you wish to export from the European Union.

These HS codes allow customs to identify your products and to know what rate of VAT or duty to apply to your goods. No goods can be exported or imported without these codes.

For more information on HS codes, please visit the dedicated HS codes page on the French customs website.


3. Drawing up a commercial or pro forma invoice

A commercial or pro forma invoice is required when you ship goods outside the EU.

This is essentially a declaration containing all the information about the goods, which will be used by the customs authorities to assess the duties or taxes to be paid. The commercial invoice is used when the goods are the subject of a commercial transaction or are intended for resale. The pro forma invoice is used when you are shipping goods that have no commercial value (e.g. samples).

Please note: the parcel declaration requires one invoice per parcel. Each invoice must describe and correspond to the contents of each parcel shipped.

  1. Sender's details
    The consignor, if a commercial enterprise, must indicate the EORI number assigned to it by the customs administration.

  2. Reason for export
    Examples: sale, repair, return after repair, gift, sample, personal use, not for resale, replacement or personal business.

  3. Incoterms
    The incoterms used by DPD for the transit of your goods to the UK are :

    DAP: Delivered At Place
    DDP: Delivered Duty Paid

  4. Description of goods
    Generic or imprecise descriptions are not accepted and will result in additional customs clearance delays. The description must include the name of the items, quantity per item, composition, unit value and intended use. Simply describing items as "samples", "spare parts" or "spare parts", for example, is not acceptable in terms of nomenclature and customs security.

  5. Customs nomenclature (HS codes)
    This is the product identification code used by the exporting country for the classification of goods for export. Specifying the customs code for each product facilitates customs clearance and avoids delays.

  6. Country of manufacture / origin
    This is the country in which the goods were manufactured, not the importing country.

  7. Total declared value
    This is the total value of the transaction for customs purposes. The total value shown on your invoice must match the value declared on your waybill.

  8. Unit and total weight
    It is essential that you indicate the weight of each item on your invoice, as well as their total weight.

  9. Cost of transport
    The transport costs charged by the carrier and paid by the sender.

To help you, we have provided sample commercial and pro forma invoices for your B2B and B2C shipments, which you can download here.

Importing goods worth less than £135 into the UK

From 1 January 2021, UK VAT on orders worth less than £135 becomes sales tax. UK VAT must be accounted for at the point of sale by the overseas seller (you). Import VAT will therefore not be collected on orders below this value (excluding shipping and insurance).


4. Knowing which incoterms to use

Two incoterms are allowed for your shipments to the UK:

DAP: Delivered At Place

If the value is over £135 :

  • Payment of VAT by the importer, whether business or private
  • Customs duties will be collected by the UK authorities.

If the value is less than £135 :

  • Payment of VAT by the exporter with their UK VAT number, whether the importer is a business or an individual
  • No customs duties will be collected by the UK authorities.

DDP: Delivered Duty Paid

Regardless of value, but only in the case of a group clearance:

  • VAT paid by the exporter.
  • Customs duty will be collected by the UK authorities if the value is over £135
  • Requires a pre-start-up review by our Export Department.

5. Obtaining your UK VAT number

We invite you to apply for a UK VAT number on the UK authorities website.

This UK VAT number is required to export to the UK.
Remember to include your VAT number on your commercial or pro forma invoices to avoid misrepresentation and misinvoicing to your UK customers.