There are a number of considerations to make in order to be compliant with Customs. This page explains each requirement in detail.

EORI Number

If you are exporting goods to, or importing goods from, outside of the EU you will need to register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) Number – a unique identification number.

More information on the EORI scheme and the process for obtaining an EORI number:

Deferment Numbers

Deferment numbers enable UK Customs (HMRC) to charge duty and taxes on account. Although most carriers will process your imported items under their own deferment number, they will charge for this service.

For many importers, having a deferment account speeds up the clearance process and minimizes any additional carrier charges, whilst avoiding the need for immediate payment of Customs Duty and VAT.

Obtaining a deferment number through HMRC is straightforward and costs nothing, but you will need a guarantee which you can get from your bank. Click here to apply for your deferment numbers. Remember to authorise your shipping agent to use your Deferment Approval Number (DAN) for each of your imports to keep your shipments moving and avoid delays.

Customs Duty

Customs Duty is charged at the place of importation and is calculated as a percentage of the total value of the goods. It is usually paid by the buyer or importer, unless you agree to do so yourself under the appropriate Incoterm® 2010 Rules. There is one exception to this rule: for Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) goods (agricultural produce in the form of raw materials or processed goods), duty can be levied at the place of export.

Excise Duty

Excise Duty is a national charge levied on the importation of certain categories of goods such as alcohol and tobacco. As with Import Duty, Excise Duty is collected by Customs authorities in the destination country, and can vary from one country to the next according to national policy. Payment is generally the responsibility of your customer unless you are contracted to pay it under the sales contract.


All exports of goods to countries outside the EU are excluded from VAT in the UK. It is important that you retain commercial evidence (such as a certificate of shipment from your carrier, or a departure message from HM Revenue & Customs’ electronic export system) that your goods have been sent from the UK. The evidence must be sufficient to identify your goods and show that they left the UK. If you fail to obtain or keep satisfactory evidence that the goods have left the UK, the sale will not be eligible to be zero-rated as an export, and will therefore be liable to UK VAT.

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