International parcel delivery and shipments made easy
International shipments made easy
If you are shipping for the first time, our guide will help you make international shipments with ease.
Preparing your shipment
How should I package my shipment?
- Use packaging that is appropriate to the contents to prevent damage or leakage
- Ensure items are securely and discretely packaged to avoid damage and contamination with other items
- Ensure the delivery address is complete, clear and accurate. Include the country of delivery in full as the last line of the address and always include a return address
- Include a duplicate label inside the package in the unlikely event that the outer packaging is damaged
What information do I need to complete commercial Invoices?
For declared shipments being sent outside the European Union, you must include four signed copies of a commercial invoice to comply with worldwide customs regulations. Please ensure the invoice is completed fully. The following items are mandatory for your parcel to reach its destination. The invoice is to be completed, printed, signed and handed to the driver with the consignment. Click here for a copy of a blank commercial invoice. The invoice is to include:
- Sender’s name, address and contact details.
- Receiver’s name and address.
- Date of invoice (shipping date) and invoice number.
- Full description of each item of goods supplied to enable correct Customs Tariff Classification (catalogue and part numbers are not sufficient to describe the goods).
Special note: If your parcel contains multiple items, please list all items on a separate sheet and attach it to the invoice. To avoid delays ensure the inventory is typewritten, detailed and accurate.
- VAT number: Enter the sender's VAT number if applicable.
- EORI Number (what is this?)
- Country of origin (where manufactured) of each type of goods being supplied.
- HS Tariff code. Please include this information (if known) (also known as commodity codes, tariff headings, harmonised system number or classification code). In the absence of a Tariff being provided, a full and accurate description of goods MUST be supplied.
- Total number of items, total weight and total value of goods
- Clearly state currency in which the value of goods is expressed.
- Total value of all goods covered by the invoice for customs (the selling price or fair value of your shipment contents).
- Gross weight (including packaging), net weight (excluding packaging) and number of items.
- The following statement must appear “I declare all of the information to be true to the best of my knowledge”.
- The invoice must be signed and dated. Please note that 4 copies of the Commercial Invoice should be printed, completed, signed and dated prior to our driver picking up the parcel.
- Reason for Export (see definition below)
Exporting goods - reasons for export definitions:
- Sale (payment received for supply of goods)
- Gift (goods of a non-commercial character sent by a private person to another private person without payment of any kind and intended for personal use only.
- Samples (a specimen of a product which is intended to promote the sales of that product and which allows the characteristics and qualities of that product to be assessed without resulting in final consumption,
- Document shipment (of no statistical interest e.g. advertising materials/leaflets/paperwork/banking documents. Shipments classed as Documents must not exceed 5kg via TNT Direct)
Economic Operator Registration and Identification scheme (EORI)
What is an EORI number?
The Economic Operator Registration and Identification scheme (EORI) is an EU initiative that helps to identify the exporter to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
How is the EORI number used?
The EORI number must be included on all pre-arrival and pre-departure information on goods entering or leaving the customs territory of the European Community. The number must also be used for customs authorities to exchange information and, where appropriate, to share information with other government departments and agencies.
What is the format of the EORI number?
UK EORI numbers start with the letters ‘GB’ and most are then followed by a 12 digit number based on the trader’s VAT number (e.g. GB123456789000).
How do I get an EORI number?
If you are registered for VAT in the UK you can download an EORI application form (C220) at customs.hmrc.gov.uk
If you are not registered for VAT in the UK, please ensure your invoice states “NOT VAT REGISTERED” in the EORI/VAT field.
If you are a private individual exporting goods of a non commercial nature, please ensure your commercial invoice states “PRIVATE SHIPPER” in the EORI/VAT field.
What is a tariff number?
Tariff numbers (also known as customs tariff codes, tariff headings, harmonised system numbers and classifications codes) are a global means of classifying each item being exported.
Why do I need to include a tariff number?
Tariff numbers classify goods for import and export so that you pay the right tax and duty and follow regulations. You must have a commodity code for all goods you want to export from the UK.
How do I get a tariff number?
To find out what tariff number applies to your shipment, simply visit www.gov.uk/trade-tariff
TNT Express operates an unknown shipper policy for all parcels sent via TNT Direct to an international destination by air. All parcels may be subject to inspection for security screening.
What does this mean?
When your TNT Direct driver collects your parcel they will apply an ‘unknown shipper label’ to it . Once the parcel arrives at the TNT depot, security-trained staff will open and inspect the parcel to ensure the paperwork and contents correspond and that the content is acceptable for movement through the TNT Express network. This may include the use of x-ray, explosive trace detection and other security screening methods. If the content is in order, the label will be signed and the parcel will be securely closed before continuing the shipping process. Note: If the parcel cannot be inspected due to size, volume or complexity, the security screening will take place at the air hub.
Click here for a list of dangerous goods and prohibited items. These items are prohibited by legislation or regulations. TNT Express cannot carry certain items without prior written agreement between TNT Express (the carrier) and the sender. For more information contact us via
LIVE CHAT SERVICES.
What if I do not want TNT Express to open my parcel?
It is TNT Express policy to inspect all international goods being sent by unknown shippers through TNT Direct.
What is customs declaration?
TNT declares all exports to HMRC on your behalf (unless we are instructed otherwise).
The customs declaration is submitted electronically detailing all the information provided on the commercial invoice. A customs entry is mandatory for all shipments outside the EU, this includes innocent goods, controlled and restricted items.
How do I calculate the value of goods for declaration?
The value to be declared is the cost of the goods to the purchaser overseas. If there is no sale, you need to declare the expected price of the goods if sold to a purchaser overseas. This cost should include packing, inland and coastal transport in the UK, dock dues, loading charges and all other costs, profits, charges and expenses.
Please note outward sea/airfreight and marine/air insurance should be excluded and any cash or trade discounts to the purchaser should be deducted.
An export declaration is required for:
(a) goods exported to a non-European Community (EC) country including European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries
(b) goods sent to one of the ‘special territories’ of the Community
An export declaration for UK goods dispatched to other Member States of the Community is not required unless the goods are non-community goods (ie; goods on which customs duties and other charges have not been paid). Such goods are also known as T1 status goods.
EU: TNT Direct can only send shipments deemed to be in ‘free circulation’ which are NOT customs controlled. When sending goods within the EU you do not have to pay duty and there are no Customs checks. The goods are in free circulation within the EU. This also applies to goods from outside of the EU but only if Import duty has previously been paid. A commercial invoice is NOT required*.
* Special territories are an exception – eg. Canary Islands requires a commercial invoice - In this instance, you will need to provide a commercial invoice to progress your shipment.
Exporting / Importing Goods
TNT Direct can only ship permanent exports and goods not controlled or restricted. TNT Direct can NOT ship the following examples:
- Temporary exports e.g. shipped out of the UK for repair/process/adaptation or for loan/demo/exhibition which will eventually return to UK
- Goods returned after repair e.g. goods returns to original owner if you have imported the goods into an IPR (Inward Processing Relief) regime
- Goods exported from Warehousing regime
- Goods exported under Licence - goods covered by Open or Individual Licence
If you have a need to transfer items listed as prohibited or restricted contact us on
LIVE CHAT SERVICES.
A wide range of resources and support is available to help you further with exporting internationally. Some of these include:
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets. With offices all over the country, UKTI’s International Trade Advisors can provide sector-specific advice about trading internationally, along with tailored support for your business. It organises useful trade events so you can go and meet potential buyers and suppliers in the destination of your choice, and find out more about business there first-hand.
The British Chambers of Commerce supports and advises businesses in all areas of international trade and exporting. It also offers links to British
bi-lateral and International Chambers of Commerce, providing you with connections in new markets.
There are regular networking events throughout the year designed to help you develop local contacts and grow your business. Many Chambers have also embraced social media to help you keep in touch with what’s happening locally.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) provides assistance on a number of matters relating to the importing and exporting of goods. Information and guides are available covering topics such as the classification of goods, the European Union, Relief Procedures on Duty and VAT, Tariffs and Duties, Intrastate and the requirement to submit Supplementary Declarations, together with basic guides on export licences, export taxes, import licences, rates of exchange, etc.
UKtradeinfo is an HMRC site that provides extensive import and export statistics. You can use it for research and also find things like the right commodity code for your goods or the right airport code.
The Institute of Export (IOE) is the professional membership body representing and supporting the interests of everyone involved in importing, exporting and international trade. IOE members also receive regular updates, newsletters and a magazine, providing up-to-date information on trading overseas. A range of events are held locally and nationally throughout the year.