FAQ’s: Requirements when trading with EU countries


As we all adjust to the new requirements when trading with EU countries, we want to share some of the common issues the carriers are seeing and frequent questions they’re being asked. We’ve been speaking to Peter Sandhu, International Shipping Consultant at World Options – courier service to the UK and Worldwide.

Here are some common issues stopping goods from clearing Customs: 

  • An accurate and specific Goods Description must be on the Waybill as well as the Commercial or Pro-Forma Invoice. This needs to list each item by line, starting with the most valuable.
  • Values are not being included on Commercial / Pro-forma Invoices. Please include values by line item as well as the total value.
  • Incomplete recipient information has been provided – for example a phone number is missing.
  • A shipment being ‘Returned’ does not have Customs paperwork with it.

Other current issues to be aware of: 

  • Current EU regulations mean that Import Duties will not be applied to goods under €150 (regardless of origin). VAT will not be applied to goods under €22. Please note these regulations are due to change in July 2‌0‌2‌1.
  • The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement allows for a zero tariff to be applied to goods entering the EU from the UK (and vice versa), only when they meet the rules of origin requirements, which needs to be clearly stated on the Commercial or Pro-Forma Invoice. An example of a Commercial Invoice is below. Please note that Excise Duties will be applied to Excise shipments of all values, regardless of origin.
  • What is the difference between excise duty and customs duty? While excise duty is levied on goods produced or manufactured within the country, custom duty applies to the goods that are sold in, for example, India but were produced in a different country. Excise duty is to be paid by the manufacturer of the goods and not by the consumer. Custom duty is to be paid by the importer of the goods.

Commercial Invoices

A commercial invoice is a document that details the goods being shipped and its value. It is used to assess duties and taxes for customs processing. Commercial invoices are now required for shipments going into the EU.

Here are some examples of World Options Commercial Invoices. (If you would like a copy of these PDF’s, please email Alice)

Firstly, one for Portal Shipments:

Commercial Invoice

Secondly, one for e-commerce:

Commercial Invoice 2

Advice from Carriers: 

If there is a particular carrier that you use on a regular basis, we advise that you to read their guidance and familiarise yourself on their Brexit strategy by clicking the links below.

UPS – Brexit Guide: https://solutions.ups.com/gb-brexit.html

DHL – Brexit Guide: https://dhlguide.co.uk/brexit/

TNT – Brexit Guide: https://www.tnt.com/express/en_gb/site/company/bre…

FedEx – Brexit Guide: https://www.fedex.com/en-gb/about/brexit/q-and-a.h…

DPD – Brexit Guide – https://www.dpd.co.uk/content/about_dpd/brexit-rea…

World Options 

You can find out more about the services of World Options on their website here 

You can also download or view the World Options guide here and discover:

  • How to create an effective shipping plan
  • How World Options can help your business ship
  • The essential packing guide
  • What insurance you’ll need
  • Dangerous, hazardous, prohibited and restricted items
  • What World Options customers say
  • And more

MIA Members – if you would like to speak directly to Peter Sandhu – International Shipping Consultant, please email Alice who will put you in touch. Peter would be happy to address any questions on a one to one basis personally.