Customs Information & Procedures

8th June 2022

With lots of changes to the way goods are shipped around the world we’ve put together the latest customs rules and requirements which apply to our customers. If you have any particular questions that you’re unsure of, get in contact with the team at Whitehouse Solutions.

Economic Operators Registration and Identification Number (EORI)

While the UK government has auto-enrolled many businesses for the EORI scheme, you’ll need to double-check that your business has been enrolled and if not you’ll need to complete this key step.

You may need an EORI number if you move goods between:

  • between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) or the Isle of Man and any other country (including the EU)
  • between Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • between Great Britain and the Channel Islands
  • between Northern Ireland and countries outside the EU

However, you do not need an EORI number if you’re moving goods for personal use only.

To learn more about EORI numbers check the government website.


UK Tariff/Commodity Codes – Import Duties & Taxes

If you are importing or exporting goods to or from outside the UK you will need to find the commodity codes, any taxes and duties that apply to those imports and any licenses or certificates you require. This can be done via the government trade service website. Ensure that products are accurately described and contain the correct HS codes to ensure accurate customs duties.


Export / Import Licence or Control

Before importing or exporting products from abroad you’ll need to check whether import/export licences or controls are required. This is important to do as it could result in financially costly errors and/or delays in transporting your goods. Examples of these products include:

  • Products of animal origin
  • High-risk food and feed (not of animal origin)

In these examples, health certificates are mandatory and will require documentary or physical examination and UK entry points.

You can find information on the following:


Rules of Origin

If your goods originate in the EU or UK, you may be able to claim a preferential rate of duty when imported into the respective countries and released to free circulation. This means they’ll be free of Customs Duty.

You will have to identify the UK/EU/Non-EU content (including individual components and raw materials) within your products to see if you qualify for a preferential rate of duty. You can out whether your goods qualify on the government website.

When exporting from the EU into the UK, and the value of the consignment is 6000 euros or less, a statement or origin can be made out by any exporter. If your consignment is over 6000 euros the EU exporter must have a valid Registered Exporter Number (REX) and include this within the statement.

If you are exporting from the UK you must always include your EORI number, regardless of the value of the consignment.

Statements of origin must be provided on the invoice or any other commercial documentation (excluding bill of landing). You must describe the originating product in sufficient detail to be able to identify it.

This will be valid for 2 years from the date it was signed for imports into the UK and 12 months for imports into Europe. If this isn’t filled out correctly including signatures and dates then it can be deemed non-compliant and duty will be applied by the destination customs office.


Customs Duty

When trading with EU and non-EU businesses and your products do not qualify for a preferential status there is a high chance that customs duty will be applied to your products. Make sure this is something you make your customers aware of if it’s not something that has already been paid as it can lead to costly duty rates on arrival.

More information on duty rates can be found on the pages below:



Incoterms are designed to guide you when filling out a purchase order, packaging and labelling a shipment for freight transport, or preparing a certificate of origin. Incoterms are designed to create some standardisation in the terms of trade. It is key to ensure that the correct, internationally recognised Incoterms are included in your export commercial invoice. For further guidance and the latest Incoterms visit the Incoterms 2020 site.


Wood Packaging Material – Wooden Pallet Shipments

If you use wooden pallets for shipping your items to or from the UK you need to make sure that they are ISPM15 approved. Further information on ISPM15 can be found below:


Exporter Commercial Invoice and Packing List

Make sure that all of your documents contain the relevant information to enable Whitehouse Solutions to complete customs entry on your behalf.


Nominating A Customs Broker

Make sure to nominate a customs broker in advance to ensure there is no delay in importing or exporting your goods. For any imports into the UK make sure to nominate a customs broker, if you do not have a customs broker we can put you in touch with a trusted partner.


Duty Deferment Account

You can apply for a duty deferment account on the government website which will aid your duty payment process when importing from the EU.


Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA)

From the 1st January 2021, HMRC introduced PVA which allows UK VAT registered businesses to import goods into the UK, to account for import VAT on their VAT return, rather than paying import VAT immediately. This will improve cash flow as you’ll have time to sell your imported goods before having to pay import VAT.

For more information on whether you can account for import VAT on your VAT return check the government guidance.

For completing your VAT return to account for import tax, review this guidance from HMRC.


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