With over a century of logistics experience and the world's largest in-house customs brokerage, we're here to help you manage the requirements for shipping between the UK and the EU. We'll provide you with guidance and useful resources.
Register for EORI number in both the UK and the EU
An Economic Operator’s Registration and Identification (EORI) number in both the UK and the EU is required to ship between the UK and the EU.
To register for an EORI number in the UK:
To register for an EORI number in the EU:
If you are not registered for an EORI number in any EU country, please consult the EU Member States national customs websites.
Register for VAT
The FAQ section on this page provides additional information about Value Added Tax (VAT) changes and charges.
Appoint an Importer of Record (IOR) if the consignee is not the declarant
The IOR is responsible and liable for your customs declarations.
Check the origin of goods
You will need to include proof of origin of goods and claim for preferential treatment where needed on the commercial invoice or other commercial documentation (except transport contracts e.g. Airwaybill or the Bill of Lading). To benefit from the preferential tariffs in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the products you are shipping must fulfil all necessary rules of origin requirements. Check if your products qualify for claiming preferential tariffs here.
Check if the goods are restricted
Some goods require special procedures at the Border Control Point. Agri-food consignments, for instance, require health certificates and undergo sanitary and phytosanitary inspections at border. Therefore, in order to avoid disruption at the border, some restricted commodities can only be shipped using UPS Express services. They will still be inspected, but at other locations. It is the shipper’s responsibility to comply with current government regulations and/or laws applicable in each country. Shipments are subject to inspection and possible delay by Customs or representatives of other government authorities.
Use our Import/Export tool to find out the prohibited or restricted commodities list that applies for your international shipment.
Complete a Commercial Invoice
Incorrect or missing information as well as inaccurate goods’ descriptions are the most common reasons for customs delays.
When completing a Commercial Invoice, a detailed and precise plain language description of the goods being sent is required. This allows the destination brokerage department to identify the goods, and assess and apply the import country’s duty and tax.
Our guide helps you prepare the mandatory documentation needed for shipments clearing customs.
Learn more about commercial invoices and adequate descriptions of goods here
Choose the international billing option that fits your business
UPS international billing options give you the flexibility to bill charges in a way that best suits your consignees.
Keep your customers informed
If shipments may be subject to customs duties and taxes payable by the recipient, alert your customers in advance. Please also provide UPS with your consignee’s contact details. This will allow us to send advance delivery notifications and allow your customer to pay any duties, taxes or charges in advance.
If you are offering your customers returns options, give them clear guidance on the requirements for sending customer returns between the UK and the EU, such as completing a commercial invoice. EU-based B2C shippers should consider using a UK return address for their shipments to the UK to avoid the need for end consumers to complete a commercial invoice to process their returns.
How to ship between the UK and the EU
Download our handy guides for shipping from the EU to the UK to find out more about what you need to do – including a useful checklist.
Moving goods into and out of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland remains aligned to a limited set of EU customs rules. Goods shipped between the EU and Northern Ireland move as an intra-Union movement. This means there should be no customs supervision, controls or formalities for most shipments.
For shipments between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, transactional customs clearance formalities moving shipments with UPS are not currently required for most B2C shipments or B2B shipments valued less than £135. Transitional customs clearance formalities will apply for goods valued above £135. These requirements will evolve as the Northern Ireland Protocol continues to be implemented.
For additional information regarding shipments between Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as shipments through Northern Ireland, please refer to gov.uk.
Minimise Customs Delays
Accelerate clearance and go green with UPS Paperless™ Invoice – an electronic and sustainable solution to commercial invoices and other customs-required documentation, enabling clearance to begin before your goods reach the border.
Reduce customs complexities and costs
Are you shipping from the UK to multiple recipients in the EU, or vice versa? UPS World Ease® allows you to consolidate and clear these as a single shipment, simplifying your paperwork and reducing costs.
UPS TradeAbility® helps to manage the flow of your goods. No surprises with costs, no additional time lost on document preparation, and country-specific tariff codes at your fingertips.
When shopping online, check where the product will be shipped from. If it will be shipped between the UK and the EU, check whether duties and taxes are included in the final price.
Since 1 January 2021, duties and taxes apply to many shipments between the UK and the EU. UPS may need to pay these on your behalf in order to clear and deliver the package.
In addition, due to the increased transportation, customs clearance and network adjustment costs associated with goods moving in and out of the UK, UPS brokerage fees are now applicable.
The above duties, taxes and fees may be payable by the shipper or the consignee, depending on the service and billing options chosen by the shipper.
If these amounts are to be charged to the consignee, then we will collect these amounts from you. We encourage shippers to provide us with your contact details so that we can contact you to arrange payment in advance. If payment is not made in advance, then our only option is to ask you to pay in cash upon delivery.
If you want to return goods that will need to be shipped between the UK and the EU, these shipments now require a commercial invoice for the return leg. We suggest you get in touch with the retailer for more information.
Note: We don’t control or oversee governmental regulations, including the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement rules and regulations. We’re providing information that may assist you with your shipments into the UK and the EU, and should not be relied on as legal or tax advice.