Since Brexit came into effect in January 2021, importing and exporting between the UK and the European Union has been subject to a number of changes in rules, regulations, and associated administration.
Our Customer Service team at Pallet2Ship has been dedicated in helping all of our clients through the process and adjusting to these changes. Following the feedback we have collated so far this year, we have put to together the key FAQs from our customers to help you best understand the requirements for your next shipment.
If these don’t answer your questions then contact us directly.
Do I need an EORI number if I'm a private individual in the UK?
Yes - you will need to apply for an EORI number in the UK even if you are a private individual. This will help you with both exports and imports.
Do I need an EU EORI number if I'm a private individual based in the EU?
No - you do not need to apply for an EORI number if you are based in the EU.
Can I send personal effects after Brexit?
Yes - at the moment, only our DHL services can handle this type of freight, but please keep updated on this service as soon we will have more carriers which will accommodate this freight.
Can Pallet2Ship help with commodity codes?
Yes - we cannot advise you directly, but follow this link or the one on our commercial invoice form which will take you to the government's website. From there you can find commodity codes for your goods. HMRC can also advise you directly on commodity codes.
Do I need to apply for an EORI number in the UK if I intend to bring my personal belongings from the EU?
No - you will not need an EORI number if the goods are personal effects.
Does Pallet2Ship deal with customs clearance?
Yes - the price you obtained via our website includes customs clearance on both the UK and the EU side.
If I ship from Northern Ireland to an EU country, do I need a commercial invoice?
No - a commercial invoice is not required when you shipping between Northern Ireland and an EU country.
I want to return some goods to Europe, can I use Pallet2Ship's services?
Yes - you can use our services. You will still need to complete a commercial invoice on our website and input the reason of export as 'Return'.
I want to import something from overseas, do I still need an EORI number?
Yes - you will need to apply for an EORI number if you are the importer in the UK and the goods are subject to a commercial (or private) transaction.
Can I pay taxes in the EU even if I'm based in the UK?
Yes - but only if you are a business, this is not an option to private individuals. The sender in the UK will also need to have an EU EORI number registered to their address and only business entities can register for EU EORI.
Can I use my own commercial invoice?
No - the customers who placed orders on our website will need to complete the standard commercial invoice on our website. We make sure Customs brokers get the best possible document in a standardised form.
Does my customer have to pay taxes if I'm shipping to Republic of Ireland? And what about the rest of the EU?
Yes - there will be import taxes payable when the goods arrive in both the Republic of Ireland and the EU.
Do I have to pay taxes if I'm shipping to Northern Ireland?
Yes - there will be import taxes payable when the goods arrive in Northern Ireland.
How are import taxes calculated?
Import taxes are based on the value you completed on the invoice and the commodity codes. Customs will calculate the costs based on these details.
For goods of UK origin being exported to the EU, there is no Duty applicable. However, VAT (taxes) will apply. The same applies to imports from the EU.
Who is responsible for the payment of import taxes?
Usually the receiver. However, if you select the DDP incoterms, the exporter can pay these taxes as well, but only if they are a business. Private individuals exporting to the EU cannot send DDP.
Who must sign the commercial invoice?
The person who needs to sign commercial invoice is the person who booked the job.
Where should I input my collection/delivery trading address?
When you are asked if the collection/delivery trading address is the same as the collection/delivery address, please select 'No', and you will then be able to complete this/them.
What is the difference between DAP and DDP Incoterms?
Please select DAP, if you want the duties to be paid by the receiver.
Please select DDP, if you want the duties and taxes to be paid by the sender.
On the commercial invoice page, I am being asked to detail the goods I am sending. May I input all the goods I have on one line?
This is not a possibility. You need to click on "add lot" and insert lines for each item you have. A commodity code for each item will be required as well.
What happens if the recipient refuses to pay for duty and taxes?
The sender can cover the taxes if desired, or the pallet can be returned to the collection address. However, please be advised that there will be a return cost.
I do not have a commercial invoice, what do I do?
You will be able to complete a commercial invoice on our website once the booking is complete.
I understand the Commercial Invoice is a complex document, where do I get all the information from?
Everything you need in order to successfully complete an accurate commercial invoice is available on our website, with clear links and examples. Complete the booking and you will be forwarded to the correct link where you can deal with the commercial invoice.
I am a private individual sending my personal belongings to my EU address, do I need to fill in a commercial invoice?
No - you will be asked to fill in a Pro-Forma Invoice which is a less complex document, however the information must be accurate. You will be asked to send a recent proof of address and/or residence in the country before the carriers will be able to clear the goods through Customs.
I am sending used goods to the EU. Does the receiver have to pay taxes?
Yes - any goods imported into the EU will be subject to VAT. The same applies to goods imported into the UK from the EU.
I am exporting to the EU; do I charge my customer VAT?
No, you should not charge VAT. Taxes are paid locally, your customer will be charged VAT when the goods arrive in the country. They will also have to pay Duty if the goods are not of the UK/EU preferential origins.
I would like to know more about Brexit, Documentation, payment of Duty/Taxes (VAT), legislation. Do you have this information centralised?
Yes - we have a wealth of information on our website. A good starting point is the homepage, but you should also consult our Brexit Hub which has several key resources including a Brexit Cheat Sheet, and a more in-depth guide available.
I would like to import from the EU into the UK. Do I need my own customs broker?
No - we will act as your broker. The prices advertised on our website include customs clearance.
I am looking to import from the EU, can I use my own customs broker?
No - we do not accept this arrangement because of the added layers of bureaucracy to our existing arrangements. We will clear the goods through customs for you, provided you have supplied the correct and complete documentation.
I am based in the EU and want to export to the UK and pay everything so that my customer does not pay anything. Is this possible?
Yes - you will need to ship under DDP Incoterms and you need to be registered for a GB EORI number in order to pay local taxes.
I am exporting from Northern Ireland to the EU, do I need to charge my customers VAT? What about when shipping to GB?
Yes - you will need to add VAT to any invoices when dealing with EU-based customers. The same applies for GB-based customers.
I am based in Northern Ireland and want to send goods to the EU. Do I need an EORI number?
No - you do not need an EORI number and you do not need to complete a commercial invoice.
I am based in Northern Ireland and want to ship to GB. Do I need to be EORI registered?
No - you do not need to be EORI registered or complete a commercial invoice if you wish to send goods to GB.
I want to buy goods in GB and import them into Northern Ireland. What do I need?
If you are a business, you must be GB EORI and XI EORI registered. You will not be able to complete the import without having registered for these two numbers in advance. You also need to complete a commercial invoice on our website as soon as you have completed the booking.
I am a private individual who's sold something on eBay and I want to ship the goods to the EU. Why am I being asked to complete a commercial invoice?
You are being asked because everyone based in GB and involved in a commercial transaction of any type, be it a business or private individual, must be registered for an EORI number and complete the commercial invoice on our website. These are legal requirements and not those of us or our carriers. All the information you need is on our website and we are here to guide you.
I have completed the commercial invoice and applied for an EORI number but cannot complete the commercial invoice. Why?
You must have the EORI number first, then the commercial can be generated. However, you can enter the remaining information and save it whilst you are waiting to receive the EORI number.
I am confused by the Incoterms - which one should I use?
In general, when it comes to road freight, goods travel under DAP/EX-WORKS or DDP. There are links to Incoterms 2021 available on our website, one of which is directly from the commercial invoice form. These explain in detail how things work, so please read the document to get clarification.
DAP means the importer pays taxes locally (the exporter is responsible for transport and insurance), as does EX-WORKS (the importer arranges shipping and insurance).
DDP means the exporter pays taxes, shipping and insurance, so the importer receives te goods without needing to pay anything.
I have all the information needed but not the Commodity Codes. Where can I find them? Can Pallet2Ship provide me with these?
We cannot give you the Commodity Codes. It is the responsibility of the exporter or the importer to find the correct codes for their goods. However, we can guide you - there are a number of links on our website, mainly taking you to the HMRC website, where you can find the codes yourself. If you have tried but you are not getting the correct codes, we can only advise you to phone HMRC and ask them for further guidance.
After Brexit, is there a difference between the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU when it comes to customs clearance?
No - there is no difference. The Republic of Ireland is part of the EU, the same rules and regulations apply.
Can I ask Pallet2Ship to check if EORI number is correct?
You can check yourself if any GB or EORI number is correct. We have links available on the website and on our commercial invoice form where you can check these numbers against the GB or EU databases.
Do I need an EORI number to be able to export to the USA or Japan, for example?
No - you only need an EORI number for exports/imports to/from the EU.
I am a third party and I want to deal with the import/export process on behalf of customers. Can you help with the customs clearance process?
Yes - our system offers the flexibility so that third party importers/exporters can generate commercial invoices and deal with the payment of duty and taxes on behalf of their customers.
How important is it to give the accurate reason for import/export?
Very - based on this information, customs will or will not apply duty or taxes. If the reason for export is "sale", then duty and taxes will apply. However, if the reason is "return of faulty product", then no duty and taxes will apply. You will however be requested to provide the initial purchase invoice.
On the commercial invoice, I am being asked to enter the invoice number. Is this essential?
Yes - you must be provide the sales invoice number and these numbers must match and withstand scrutiny. The commercial invoice number must be the same as the sales invoice. If there are any discrepancies, customs might stop your freight and this will result in extra charges and delays.
I understand I can deal with the commercial invoice on your website, but who can I sign it?
You will sign your invoice online, electronically. Everything is being done online without the need for further email exchanges, scans, or additional paperwork.
I want to ship foodstuff to the EU. Is this possible?
This was possible before Brexit, however, it is currently extremely complicated and most freight forwarders have stopped offering this service. We expect things to improve in the future, so please enquire with our team.
I am completing the commercial invoice but I do not have the accurate description of the goods. Can I enter "goods" or "stuff"?
No - the description of the goods must be brief, but very accurate. The commercial invoice will not be accepted without a clear description of the goods.
I do not the country of origin of the goods I want to ship. What do I enter on the form?
You must find out the country of origin of the goods and enter the accurate information on the commercial invoice. Incorrect information might result in goods being stopped, checked, returned, or confiscated. Extra charges are likely to apply in this case. Duty and taxes will be calculated depending on the origin of the goods, so this information is clearly important.
How important is the value of the goods? Can I estimate it when entering it on the commercial invoice?
No - you should definitely not estimate the value, even if you are a private individual who has sold something on eBay. If this value does not match a sales invoice exactly, your freight is likely to be stopped and/or returned. Fines can be imposed by Customs and you will end up having to pay for both returns and fines, so we strongly suggest entering the accurate value, to the penny.
I am dealing with a commercial invoice - I want to do it quickly and have most of the details required, but not everything, can some of the information be a guess?
We strongly recommend anyone who is exporting or importing and filling in the commercial invoice to never estimate or enter incorrect information on that page. Please remember, you cannot complete the commercial invoice if you do not sign it and accept the terms and conditions. All the information entered must be accurate and correct if you are to avoid fines, returns and/or extra charges.
I am a one-off shipper - can I get my pallet(s) through customs without a commercial invoice for a one-time shipment?
No - there is no chance whatsoever that your goods will travel from the UK to the EU or vice versa without the appropriate documentation. Anyone who wants to ship to/from the EU must take the time they need to complete the commercial invoice and gather all the information needed in order to correctly complete an invoice even if this is done as a one-off.
All these issues following Brexit are just temporary, aren't they? Within a few months it will be the way it used to be and we won't have to deal with this documentation?
No - this is incorrect. These changes are permanent and while certain things will improve, they will only do so if everyone is taking responsibility for dealing with the documentation required by law in an efficient and thorough manner.
I have done everything correctly, yet my shipment is being delayed. Why is that?
Firstly, if any of your international shipments with Pallet2Ship are being delayed, we apologise. A great deal of work has gone into creating a smoother process by all parties involved, however, please remember that when it comes to transportation services, many things can go wrong. In addition to variables such as traffic, poor weather, or restrictions on driving hours, the new customs clearance requirements are an added complexity. If documentation is incomplete or incorrect, significant delays will be the end result.
I have a lot of questions, can I call you and get help to complete the commercial invoice over the phone?
Unfortunately, this is not possible. We have numerous resources on the website to help you through the process and you are welcome to email us, and we will reply as quickly as possible. However, staying on the phone to walk customers through the process is not viable.
Do you offer a guaranteed service to Europe? Something that will mean the goods travel fast and not be checked by customs?
No - we are not able to offer a service like this as no carrier offers a guaranteed service to/from Europe. Any consignment can be stopped by customs at any time and the paperwork will definitely be checked. You should complete all documentation correctly and we will try to ship the freight as quickly as possible.
Do I still need to fill out in the commercial invoice if I use the air service to ship to Europe?
Yes - regardless of which service (road, air or sea) the customs clearance process is the same. You still need to provide all the information required by law and complete and sign a commercial invoice. The same goes for the carrier you use.
I am sending goods to a friend/family member based in Europe/Northern Ireland. Do I still need a commercial invoice? And do I need to declare the value and all other details if this is not a commercial transaction?
Yes - regardless of who you are shipping to, the correct documents are still required. Nothing can be shipped without a commercial invoice.
I am shipping goods to a friend/family member based in Europe/Northern Ireland. Are they going to pay duty and taxes?
Yes - any shipment is taxable even if sent as a present. The only non-taxable shipments are those comprised of your own goods, but you will need to prove your residency status in the country which you are shipping to.
I am based in Europe and sending goods to family/friend in the UK. Do I need a commercial invoice and are they going to pay taxes?
Yes - shipments between the EU and the UK are taxable, regardless of whether it is a commercial transaction. The recipient will pay taxes based on the value of the goods and shipping costs.
I am shipping goods to a charity. Do I need a commercial invoice and are they going to pay taxes?
Yes - you do need a commercial invoice and you need to declare the correct value, origin and nature of the goods. They might be tax exempt if they can provide proof they a registered charity, but this will depend on local legislation.
I have provided all the information but the customs clearance process is still taking a long time. Is it possible to speed up the process?
We can liaise with our carriers and their customs brokers and pass on all the information quickly to them. However, it is not possible to put any pressure on customs officials to speed up the process. They will let us know if anything further is needed or when the goods have cleared customs.
I have filled in everything on the commercial invoice but there was one small mistake. Why are the goods not moving or being delivered?
Please be aware that any mistake, however small, is likely to make a difference and the freight cannot be released by customs until these mistakes or missing information is addressed. There decisions are out of our control and we cannot influence the way customs officials deal with clearance of goods - we can only supply the information they require in the shortest possible timeframe.
I am only sending good to the Republic of Ireland/Northern Ireland, why is the customs clearance process the same as all other countries in Europe?
Sending goods to ROI or NI is now the same as sending them to Greece or Latvia, for example. The freight still needs to be accompanied by the correctly filled-in commercial invoices and the customs procedures are the same. In fact, in a way it is more difficult to send goods to these two countries since there is no border between them and customs officials have a very strict approach to anything moving between the two countries.
Can I ship any goods I want between the UK and the EU, or vice versa, regardless of their nature? As it used to be pre-Brexit.
No - if in doubt, please check in advance as most carriers have stopped taking certain goods for the time being. They might restart the service at a later date, however, we do advise you to check in advance to avoid disappointment.
I want to get more information on Brexit and the new regulations, can I call you to discuss the changes?
We have all the requisite information on the website - there are too many changes to discuss over the phone. This is why we invite you to visit the website and check the Brexit pages, or all other information available to you directly on the homepage.
I have imported some goods from the EU and I need to pay VAT in GB, how do I do that?
We/our carriers will make contact with you and ask you for the payment of VAT when the goods have cleared customs and arrived in the UK. Rest assured, this will happen as quickly as the freight is ready to be delivered, our carriers want to deliver the goods as quickly as possible on every single occasion.
At Pallet2Ship, we are constantly monitoring the situation surrounding Brexit and how it is affecting our customers. We will continue to update this and other pages with further information to guide you through the process of shipping and ensure the best possible service for our customers.
If your question has not been answered here, please contact usGET IN TOUCH