Shipping to the EU
The UK is no longer part of the EU's Single Market and Customs Union and since 1 January 2021, the UK EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) has been provisionally applied. This means that the parcels you send into the European Union are subject to customs formalities. DPD takes care of these processes for you, but in order to do so, you need to declare additional information in the data manifest you submit to us when creating parcel labels.
We have created a step-by-step guide to walk you through the information you need to supply and answer any frequently asked questions.
1. DPD collects your parcel with Electronic Customs Data
Electronic Customs Data is the additional, mandatory information which tells customs authorities where the parcel is going to, what is inside the parcel and who is the exporter, importer and/or recipient.
Consignment detail for Electronic Customs Data
This is a mandatory requirement for UK registered businesses to trade goods with countries outside the UK recorded in the export declaration and used for statistical and security purposes. Your EORI number begins with GB followed by 12 numbers e.g. GB123456789000
Reason for Export
Tell us the reason why you are shipping the goods to Europe, for example commercial sale.
International Terms of Delivery
DPD's default service uses Delivered at Place (DAP) IncoTerms™, where the importing customer is declared as the importer of record from whom we will attempt to collect any import VAT and duties that are due. Please refer to the FAQs if you would like more information about other options available, or speak to your Account Manager.
It's really important you provide full and accurate contact details for the recipient of your parcel. We'll need to contact them for Customs Clearance - and to make sure they receive our Predict notification.
Product detail for Electronic Customs Data
Provide a detailed description of all items in the parcel. Avoid ambiguous terms like gifts, merchandise or tools. Instead of 'textiles' for example, use 'men's cotton suits'. Failure to provide a detailed description may lead to customs delays.
This internationally recognised numbering system is used by global authorities to categorise products for the trade tariff to assess how much duties and taxes are to be paid. Commodity codes are normally 8-10 digits long. We require the 8 digit code to export your parcel.
State the value of each item in GBP in the consignment. If the goods are a sale, you must provide the commercial value. If the goods are not of commercial value, use the intrinsic value. You must make sure the values you declare are exclusive of VAT. VAT is applied where appropriate on importation into the EU.
Clearly indicate the weight of each item in the consignment.
Country of Origin
Country of Origin (COO) represents the country or countries of manufacture where an article or product comes from.
2. Your parcel arrives at our International Gateway
We check and validate the data to ensure your goods can be exported by using state-of-the-art electronic customs software to produce your customs declaration in The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system and everything required for the truck to cross the border into Europe.
What checks are made when your parcel arrives at our International Gateway?
We check that the data you have provided meets all the requirements to produce the export declaration. This includes checking:
- You have provided a valid commodity code (8 digits and correct according to the HMRC Trade Tariff)
- You have provided a full and detailed description of goods as well as a weight and value of each item
- The EORI numbers you have supplied
- The types of goods you want to ship and whether DPD can carry them
- You have supplied the Country of Origin for the goods
How do these checks help me?
By undertaking these checks, this means you don't have to:
- Apply for NES to start filing export declarations
- Complete export declarations and worry about them being correct
- Get access to the Government Customs system CHIEF (The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight System)
- Worry about any IT integration when Customs systems change
3. We export your parcel to one of our Customs Clearance hubs
Once the trailers have left the UK and passed through the ports, our trucks go to one of our customs clearance Hubs, where the import clearance formalities take place.
DPD has strategically located sites throughout Europe where we clear your parcels for import. All customs clearance processes are performed by DPD customs brokers in our own facilities
If you would like to know more about this, please contact your Account Manager or our International Experts team.
4. We collect Duties and Taxes if payable
As part of the EU Customs Clearance process, your goods are assessed for import duties and taxes. This assessment is based on the data you have provided in the Electronic Customs Data.
Although the UK operates under the terms of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, from 1 January 2021 it is no longer part of the European VAT area and for goods over the value of 22 Euros, import VAT is due upon arrival at the EU border. As DPD clears your goods in one of the Customs Clearance hubs before sending the goods to the final destination, please note it is the VAT rate of the country where the goods are imported that applies. Contact your Account Manager or our International Experts team if you would like information regarding this.
If the total declared value of the items in your parcel is over the value of 150 Euros (£130 approx.), then depending on the type and origin of these goods, they are also assessed for duty according to the EU tariff. The type of goods and its duty rating are determined from the commodity code you have supplied and the origin of goods is taken from the country you have declared in the Electronic Customs Data record.
If you are claiming preferential tariff treatment according to the rules of origin outlined in the TCA, then you will also need to supply a Statement on origin with your parcel. Please visit the UK Government website tariff checker to see what duties may apply.
For information and guidance relating to rules of origin, please review the Government guidance and information notices here.
How do we collect Duties and Taxes?
Once the duties and taxes have been calculated, these charges will need to be paid before the parcel can continue its journey to the recipient.
With DPD's default option, we will try and collect the amounts from the recipient. Whilst the parcel is still in transit to the clearance location, we notify the recipient by SMS and/or email. This is sometimes known as 'in-flight' clearance to accelerate the payment process and avoid additional delays. This notification gives your customer all the information they require and a link to DPD's secure payment gateway to pay these charges electronically.
Once paid, DPD will release the parcel and send it on its way. However, if the charges aren't paid before they arrive at our clearance hub, we will hold it securely until they do in our Customs Clearance facility. We will make several attempts to remind the recipient of their need to pay. If the charges remain unpaid, DPD will return the parcel to you in the UK.
For B2C shipments, if you prefer a quicker Customs Clearance experience, DPD offers an additional service called 'Duties and Taxes Prepaid'. Rather than contact your customers for payment, we can prepay these charges on your behalf and bill them back to your DPD account. Your customer is still listed as the importer of record for this service. This can be set up on a shipment-by-shipment basis giving you complete flexibility. Please contact your Account Manager if you would like more information.
5. What is my customer's delivery experience once the parcel clears customs?
Keeping your customers informed is key to first-time delivery success no matter where they are in the world.
With the DPD Classic service, your customer receives our innovative delivery notification solution, Predict. It offers your customers unparalleled choice and convenience in their local language. Predict let's recipients across Europe know the exact hour their parcels will arrive.
By sending delivery information in advance via SMS or email, there's no more waiting around, while with our unique in-flight options, your customers can change the time or date of their delivery, or divert their parcel to a local Pickup point.
Can DPD carry your goods?
Check which goods DPD can ship to the EU by downloading our guide here.
You can see how to export goods to the EU using this Government tool.
Get an EORI number
The EU Commission site covering rules and procedures on importing products into the EU, tariff information and information on customs duties can be found here.
On 1 July 2021, the EU will introduce a package of VAT reforms and changes that will affect B2C e-commerce and marketplaces. Read up on the latest changes here. DPD will keep you informed on what you need to do when more details are made available.
Visit the Department for International Trade to see how they can help you and your business
Find out the latest VAT Rates in Europe.
For Government guidance and help for classifying your goods, click here.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the transit times to Europe?
Our transit times are listed here. Please be aware that parcels may be subject to Customs delays.
What are DPD's charges for Customs Clearance?
From 1 January 2021, an EU Clearance Fee of £3.50 applies to all consignments shipped on the DPD Classic and Republic of Ireland Two Day service. This fee covers Customs Clearance, handling and processing costs to export parcels to EU destinations from Great Britain. This fee may be adjusted in the event of any substantial or material change in circumstances.
My parcel has been returned, will I still be charged?
If we have been unable to export your parcel due to missing or incorrect customs information, your parcel will be returned to you. An unsuccessful export fee applies to these parcels charged as your Next Day RTC rate and a £0.75 administration fee. We have put together a useful checklist to validate the data you have provided and the formats we require, which can be found here.
How do I supply a Statement on origin with my parcel?
If your goods comply with the rules of origin outlined in the TCA, DPD requires the following information from you in order to make the claim on your behalf
- Declare the origin of goods in the Electronic Customs Data (ECD) record using the two letter country code where the goods were made
- Attach two copies of the Statement on origin to the outside of the parcel in a document enclosed wallet, on your Company letter headed paper
The UK Government recommends using the following text:
The text of the statement on origin (Annex ORIG 4 of the TCA)
(Period: from .................... to ....................)
The exporter of the products covered by this document (Exporter Reference No ...) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of ... preferential origin.
(Place and date)
(Name of the exporter)
More guidance on this subject may be found here.
Please be advised that any claim for preferential tariff treatment may be subject to review or verification by the importing EU customs authorities. Such instances are beyond DPD's control and may occur before or after the release of goods from customs. This verification may involve the suspension of granting preferential tariff treatment. For more information, please refer to:
You are also required to maintain records for four years from the date the Statement on origin was made out, including all other records demonstrating that the product satisfies the requirements to obtain originating status.
Important changes to EU VAT rules for B2C Online Sellers coming into force 1st July 2021
From 1 July the European Union will be introducing a number of wide-ranging VAT reforms and changes covering both the distance sales of goods and B2C services.
When shipping to the EU from the United Kingdom after 1 July, you will need to be aware of how they may affect you:
What are these changes?
- The €22 value added tax ( VAT) exemption on goods imported to the EU will be removed. This means that all goods regardless of value will now be subject to VAT
- The introduction of the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) to facilitate and simplify the declaration and payment of VAT for distance sales of imported goods with a value not exceeding €150
What is the Import One Stop Shop?
The Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) is the electronic portal businesses can use from 1 July 2021 to comply with their VAT e-commerce obligations on distance sales of imported goods. By registering for IOSS, no VAT will be applied and charged when the parcels arrive at the EU customs facility, speeding up the release into free circulation of the goods to your customer.
What are the benefits of registering for the Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) for my online sales?
The IOSS facilitates and simplifies the collection, declaration, and payment of VAT for your online sales to your EU customers. It covers the purchase of goods made by a buyer within the EU and for goods valued at less than €150.
What does having an IOSS registration involve?
You will need to:
- Provide your IOSS registration number in the electronic customs data file you submit to DPD
- Charge and collect the correct amount of VAT at the time of purchase to the buyer (i.e. the correct VAT amount for the Member State in which your customer is located)
- Apply this only to goods with a purchase value up to €150
- Ensure you comply with the accounting obligations of the scheme.
Where can I find out more about these changes?
The European Commission has published some useful guidance regarding the new VAT rules here.
DPD will continue to keep you informed on what you need to do when more details are made available.