Post-Brexit customs checklist for trading with Europe

IFL Dover customs clearance services Brexit

To help our customers manage new customs documentation requirements on their imports from and exports to the EU, please read the following post-Brexit customs checklist.

Please note: Immediately post-Brexit, International Forwarding (IFL) is ONLY able to act as a customs broker if goods are under our direct control. We can only facilitate clearances on consignments that are moving on our services and not with third-party carriers.

So, if you are a UK company and wish us to move your freight either to or from the EU, we would be happy to quote for the same service, including customs documentation. For further information please call +44 (0)1675 434690 or email

Post-Brexit checklist for sending/receiving EU freight

Our Brexit-ready checklist has the following steps your business should be taking in order to minimise disruption to shipments entrusted to European road freight. Further information is also available in our Customer Information Pack.

EORI number  – your business will not be able to export or import without an EORI number. While the UK government has taken steps to auto-enrol a significant number of businesses, we would urge customers to check that this vital first step is completed.

Know your HS Codes – the Harmonised System (HS) is a listing of commodity tariff numbers recognised on a worldwide basis. The amount of customs duty payable to imports and exports is determined by the HS code of the products your business may import and export. Ensure you correctly describe your products and assign the correct HS code

Ensure your invoices are compliant and consider Incoterms – export declarations will be required for every shipment and HMRC may wish to check that the data on the commercial invoice matches the export declaration and the actual goods.

Getting help with  your customs entries – IFL will be able to prepare import and export customs entries (see below for information we need). For exports we do have our own New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) export guarantee. Please note: as mentioned, at present we are not in a position to act as a customs broker UNLESS goods are under our direct control.

Information we need from UK-EU exporters

To facilitate customs clearance on consignments we require a compliant commercial invoice containing the following critical information from all clients/exporters:

  • Number and type of packages
  • Gross and net weight
  • Full cargo description
  • Value of goods
  • HS/commodity codes
  • Consignor/consignee addresses with valid EORI numbers
  • Country of origin of goods
  • Incoterms
  • Your EORI number

It’s not mandatory to show customs procedure codes (CPC) codes or special instructions on a commercial invoice but the party creating the declaration will require this instruction in some format (for example, ‘returns’ or ‘repair’).

Information we need from EU-UK importers

For imports, we will require a pre-entry unique consignment reference (UCR) / master reference number (MRN). We are trying to avoid clearing under Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) and looking to clear as a straight import. This is to avoid a buildup of deferred clearances and HMRC queries in June.

Consider your Incoterms

It is highly important that you consider what Incoterms to set for this new era of European trading. Where possible, we recommend that our customers amend from DDP to DAP terms – thereby placing the responsibility for the import formalities in the country of receipt as it’s the most logical place to happen.

If you’re unable to amend your export terms of sale from DDP, you will need to have an EU EORI in order to correctly account for any duties or VAT applicable on import into the EU. You will only be able to apply for an EU EORI number if you have either a physical presence in an EU state or you appoint a fiscal representative.

Talk to your customers and suppliers

Ensure that your customers are prepared to complete the import formalities for the shipment you are sending to them. Ensure that your suppliers are able to provide a compliant invoice for the goods you are buying from them. They can use the same guidelines and principle as before.

For goods that are under our direct control, IFL is able to complete the export and import declarations for your business, your suppliers and your customers, including taking payment of any VAT and duty where it applies. Don’t worry if you wish to perform the formalities yourself or you wish to nominate another party – simply tell us now so that we know how to manage your shipments when the time comes.

Talk to us!

We’d urge customers not to wait to tell us how you’d like to proceed with your shipments. Your account manager will keep this information on file so that shipments are managed in the correct way when the time comes.

For further information or to obtain a quote for your European road freight forwarding, please call +44 (0)1675 434690 or email


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