In 2016, the United Kingdom (UK) narrowly voted to leave the European Union (EU). The UK officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 whereupon a transition period started to allow the EU and UK to negotiate a trade deal.

A trade deal was agreed on 24 December 2020 which then allowed a future partnership to begin between the EU and UK as the transition period came to an end on 31 December 2020.

Before Brexit, goods and services were able to move between the EU and UK tax free, however, the UK is now classed as a third country and extra rules and regulations must be followed.

Fundamentally, whilst trade is tariff free, it is not tax (VAT) free.

For simplicity we have referred to the United Kingdom as UK, however, this is not entirely true. It should actually be Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland.

Therefore, goods exported to the EU (Northern Ireland are still subject to UK VAT) from GB are VAT free, however, VAT will be payable in the majority of cases when the goods arrive at their destination within the EU.

In order to facilitate the movement of goods between the UK and the EU, a commercial invoice is required.

A commercial invoice will be generated by Overland Express, based upon information provided by you during the booking process.

There are several key pieces of information that it would be prudent to have to hand prior to booking the parcel delivery to the EU (and to the rest of the world), these are:

Description of the goods being exported

According to HMRC, these details should include:

1. Product description
2. Materials it is made from
3. What it is used for
4. How it is presented or packaged

From what we have encountered being shipped to other countries, 'Dress Size 10, pure wool' would be acceptable.

The quantity of identical items in your consignment

In our example this would be '1'. However, if you were shipping 10 identical dresses, the quantity would be 10. It is recommended that wherever there is a variation, for instance, different sizes or more crucially, prices, each 'different' product would be entered on a separate line.

The cost of EACH item, not the cost of ALL identical items

If your consignment of dresses was worth £2000.00, assuming all of the dresses are identical, the price each would be £200.00.

Harmonised System (HS) Code

The HS Code system is used to identify a product type by means of a code to allow duty classification to be easily conducted.

The commodity (HS) code for this particular item is 6104199020.

The UK government have provided a look-up facility, which can be found at

We have provided a selection of common HS Codes on our online booking page. We strongly advise that you independently look up your own HS Codes to avoid mistakes. Overland Express accepts no responsibility or liability for incorrect HS Codes being used.

Country of Manufacture

The country where the product originated or was manufactured should also be selected.

VAT or EORI Number

If you or your business are VAT/EORI registered, you must provide your EORI number, in lieu of this your VAT number will be sufficient.

This page will be updated when more information becomes available.

Should you have any further questions, or require assistance with customs clearance, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Overland Express customer services team on +44 (0) 20 8977 2777 or Email us at

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. At what value do I need to enter a commodity code, when sending a parcel to Europe?
A. Anything apart from documents will require a commodity code/HS code.

Q. I am sending a gift to my family, will they have to pay duty on it?
A. Duty is payable on any item sent from the United Kingdom, other than documents. This is imposed by Customs in the receiving Country.

Q. I am sending items that I bought online, for my own personal use, do I still have to pay duty on them?
A. If you are sending items from the UK, to Europe, or anywhere else in the World, you will be required to pay duty on them.

Q. Do I need an EORI number to send a parcel to Europe?
A. If you are a private individual, who is not VAT registered, then you do not need an EORI number.

Q. Do I need a commercial invoice to send items to Europe?
A. Anything other than documents being sent to Europe, will require a commercial invoice. We provide these free of charge.

Q. What value do I declare for the items I am sending.
A. You declare either the purchase cost, sale price, or the replacement cost. If the item is used, the market value. This can be found by comparing similar items for sale.

Q. Do I need to declare all the items that I am sending?
A. We need a full description and value, for each item that you are sending.

Q. How do I find the HS code?
A. We have listed many commonly used HS codes that are accessed during the booking process. If yours is not listed, they can be found on the website.

Q. Will my delivery to the EU be delayed due to Customs clearance?
A. Since 1 January 2021, deliveries are experiencing delays. This is due to the increased paperwork required. Please ensure that you attach all 3 copies of the commercial invoice provided to only one parcel and sign where indicated.

Q. Do I enclose the commercial invoice inside my parcel?
A. Please attach all 3 copies of the commercial invoice to the outside of the parcel. If sending more than 1 parcel, please attach all copies to just 1 parcel.