How-to: import customs clearance documentation

David Rae

Now the UK is its own Customs Territory, outside of the EU, all exports and imports are subject to customs documentation and possible checks. This means two customs clearances are needed for every shipment – for example, exporting from the UK to France means customs documents will be required on UK export and France import. It’s really important these declarations are correct because they affect the amount of VAT and duties which may be payable – and any errors could cause delays or result in a fine.

Providing your freight forwarder with the below documents allows the import customs clearance form to be created. This form is also known as a C88(6), which allows your goods to be customs cleared.

Here’s a reminder of everything that’s needed for your customs clearance documents to be created:

Importer and exporter details

  • Your EORI number beginning with GB
  • Your EU exporter’s details:
    • EORI number. This will begin with their country code, so if they’re in Germany, DE, France, FR, etc.
    • Address and contact details
    • Who their customs clearance broker is and the location EU export customs clearance will take place. Our partner, Gerlach, operates in 27 countries, meaning we’re well placed to help you with customs clearance both in the UK and EU.
  • Northern Ireland: you need an EORI number beginning with XI

Commodity codes

  • The commodity codes of your goods affect whether duties are payable, and if so, the rate of duty
  • Therefore it’s really important they’re always accurate


Statement of Origin

  • Where goods are from affects how much duty is payable – are they subject to WTO rates of duty or preference rates? Under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, UK origin or EU/UK mixed origin goods are duty free.
  • Every import consignment needs one, and it’s your EU exporter’s responsibility to provide it – it’s important you receive a copy from them.
  • Read our blog post on rules of origin for more information and to see sample documents.

Commercial invoice

  • The exporter will provide this, but you need to double check it’s in the correct form. Click here to see a sample.

Packing list

Customs procedure codes

  • Click here to read about different options for your consignment if you don’t want it in free circulation straight away.


  • FCA shipments:
    • Letter appointing a direct customs agent
    • Location of destination customs clearance and whether the goods will be discharged immediately or placed in a facilitation such as a temporary warehouse

Paying VAT and duties

  • Postponed VAT Accounting – click here to read about this
  • If not, provide us with your deferment account number (DAN) or request the use of ours

If you have all of this information and it’s correct, you’ll be well-placed for your customs clearance documents to be generated, keeping your goods moving.


Grace Reddish

2023 AEO audit

We continue to be AEO accredited!  We’re proud to have maintained our AEO accreditation in both Customs Simplification and Security and Safety for another year

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