Are you a major retailer, government agency, SME or start-up business looking to expand your business and trade internationally?
GCL offers customs brokerage services; this means we can help you to import and export your products across international borders. With our vast customs brokerage experience, we are able to offer our customers’ supply chain solutions that give you reliable and timely global coverage. We can also provide international trade guidelines, offer advice and build import and export solutions around your business’s goals and objectives making for smoother and easier transportation of your products.
Trading internationally will enable you to scale-up your business. Entry processes and customs clearance requirements differ from country to country, but our expertise will ensure that your imports and exports run smoothly by facilitating the clearance of your goods through customs. We can help you increase your market advantage through our expert information on preferential duty rates and speedy customs clearance.
We assist exporter “manufacturer(s)/customer(s)” in transporting their goods out of countries and also assist importer(s) in bringing goods into their country with the best professional practices and country regulations. If you are an international trade project or considering buying from an international manufacturer, supplier or wholesaler or vice versa internationally we encourage you to contact us today for a free non-obligatory consultation.
This service is powered by our commitment to complying with customs compliance requirements to ensure that we offer our customers a secure and safe supply chain where shipments move seamlessly across borders.
Customs & Security Information
Customs clearance is the border check made by the government of all goods entering a country. Issues with customs can lead to delays, charges and additional paperwork, so you will need to be aware of your destination country’s rules and regulations when sending a parcel internationally.
In the United Kingdom, for as long as we’re a part of the EU, customs clearance is not required when sending parcels to and from other countries within the EU. This also applies to special and overseas territories linked to EU member states, such as the Channel Islands, Canary Islands, and Falkland Islands. Customs clearance is required for any shipments made to and from countries outside of the EU, including the United States and Australia.
Courier and freight forwarding companies have absolutely no control over customs clearance. As the shipper, it is your responsibility to ensure that you abide by the customs rules of your destination country. All shipments are subject to security screening, regardless of destination. Shipments will be X-rayed and their contents inspected to ensure that they are safe for transit
As the shipper, you must:
- Ensure that you send no prohibited or restricted items:
For example, some governments restrict certain foodstuffs from entering their country. Please view our list of dangerous and hazardous items that are universally prohibited.
- Ensure that you have all of the necessary documentation:
All shipments sent to and from countries outside of the EU require a Packing List, also known as a Customs Invoice, which details the contents of your consignment. We will generate one of these for you, or if you are a business you can use your own.
Certain countries may require additional documentation depending on what you are sending; for example, if you are sending personal effects to Australia, New Zealand or the United States.
See our documentation guide for more information.
- Explain to the receiver their liability for import duties, taxes and charges.
Rules and regulations can vary widely, which means it is not always feasible for us to provide comprehensive and up-to-date customs information.
However, we do provide general country information and restriction guides.
For full customs information, you can usually refer to a country’s government website, or contact them directly. Please see our customs links in the right-hand menu, or at the bottom of the page if you are viewing on mobile or tablet.
If you are shipping personal effects to the USA, Australia or New Zealand, completing the following forms ahead of time can help to speed up the customs clearance process. If you do not send them with your shipment, they will need to be completed by the receiver.
These files are in PDF format. Please click to download.
UK Customs (HMRC) have announced a new online process relating to importing household goods and personal effects to the UK as Transfer of Residence (ToR). Shippers are now required to make an application to HMRC prior to shipping from outside of the EU in order to claim VAT and duty relief for importing personal belongings.
The shipper must complete and sign the application form and provide any supporting documentation.
This is currently a “print-and-submit” procedure – all applications and supporting documentation must be sent by email, once signed, to [email protected].
The application must be made prior to shipping any consignments to the UK. If the applicant is successful in obtaining Transfer of Residence relief, the applicant will then be awarded unique declaration information in the form of an authorisation number, which can be included on the customs invoice (packing list).
The European Union has trade agreements with certain countries outside of the EU, whereby exporters may be entitled to claim a preferential tariff on the import of certain goods. Please see the HMRC website for more information.
The EORI Number was introduced in July 2009, as a way of improving security and speeding up customs clearance for goods entering and leaving the European Union.
All UK companies exporting outside of the EU should have an EORI number. The EORI number for most UK companies takes the following format: GB, followed by your nine digit VAT number, and ending with a three digit 000 suffix. For example: GB123456789000.
Commodity codes are used to inform customs of the precise contents of your shipment, alongside descriptions of individual items. E.g. 4202321000 and “50 x plastic mobile phone cases”.
While commodity codes are generally only required for commercial shipments to or from countries outside of the EU, we advise that you should always provide descriptions of goods to ensure a smooth delivery.
You can use our Commodity Code Finder to search for commodity codes. We would advise doing this ahead of your booking as it can take some time.