Help with customs and sending items abroad

Do I need to fill out a customs form?

Yes, if you’re sending goods (including gifts) to a country outside the UK. Except when sending items from Northern Ireland to the EU, where no customs declarations are required for sending gifts or goods.

You will need to complete customs declarations form (CN22 or CN23) for gifts and goods sent abroad. Items sent without a customs declaration (CN22 or CN23) or an incorrectly or partially completed declaration may be delayed or returned to sender.

How do I fill out a customs declaration form?

For items with a value up to £270 use the following customs declarations. Please use the correct form for the service you are purchasing.

  • For use on our International Tracked, International Tracked and Signed & International Signed services, you can print and complete form CN22A Opens in new window .
  • For use on our International Standard and International Economy services, use form CN22B Opens in new window . Please DO NOT print and complete the example here, obtain the form with a unique barcode from your local Post Office®.

For items with a value over £270 use customs declaration form CN23 Opens in new window .

The best method is to use our customs friendly Click & Drop online shop at This will allow you to buy and print compliant address and customs labels.  If you are a business you can also set up an account and link it to your marketplace or website.

You can also get these forms from any Post Office® branch.

If you are sending items using International Standard or International Economy and intend to purchase postage at a Post Office® branch, please get your CN22 at the same time as it will include a unique barcode.

To accelerate customs clearance, you must complete all applicable fields, writing in English, French or in the language of the destination country. Following these instructions will lower the chance of the item being delayed or returned. This can be completed electronically using Click & Drop at

  1. Guidance on completing the customs declaration.
    If completing customs declaration manually please use BLOCK CAPITALS

    • Select the nature of goods for the contents, ie Sales of Goods, Returned Goods etc
    • Describe each item accurately e.g. ‘Men’s cotton shirt’.  Generic descriptions such as ‘clothes’, stock numbers, or print/design descriptions are not acceptable.
    • For each item type (commodity) described, provide the total quantity, weight and value.  Write the currency if it is anything other than GBP, for example CHF for Swiss Francs.
    • The overall totals should be added in the boxes.
    • Sign and date the form.  This confirms your liability for the item in terms of the contents of the parcel.
  2.  Write your name and address on the CN22 if there’s an allocated space for it, otherwise it should be written on the top left corner of your package. This is required by overseas customs authorities and will help us to return your item if they won’t allow it into their country.
  3. Fix the form to the outside of your package. If you’re using form CN23, use the plastic wallet available from Post Office® branches.

Click on the image below to see an example of a completed CN22A form.
For use on our International Tracked, International Tracked and Signed & International Signed services

Example completed CN22A form

Click on the image below to see an example of a completed CN22B form (with barcode).
For use on our International Standard and International Economy services

For commercial items only

  • It is recommended that you attach an invoice to the outside, as it will assist Customs in processing the items.
  • ‘Gift’ is not applicable as a description/nature of goods of the contents for commercial items.
  • If known, add the 6-digit HS tariff number.  This must be based on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System developed by the World Customs Organisation. . Find out your HS code at Opens in new window
  • If known, add the Country of origin.  This means the country where the goods originated e.g. were produced, manufactured or assembled.

Sending items to the EU – VAT & customs duties

  • Taxes, duties and a clearance fee may be due on goods (excluding personal correspondence) sent from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) to the EU. There are no taxes or duties due on items from Northern Ireland to the EU.
  • The taxes and duties depend on the contents’ value. The thresholds are as follows:
    o  Since 1 July 2021, most goods to the EU (with the exception of gifts) are now subject to VAT and potentially a clearance fee.
    o  Goods above €150 may be subject to VAT, customs duties and a clearance fee.
  • The thresholds and the amounts charged vary from country to country. The customs authorities in the destination country determine the thresholds and the amounts charged. See guidance from the European Commission Opens in new window .
  • You will need to decide how the recipient will pay these, as the parcel won’t be released until payment has been received. If you are a business who sells to customers in the EU, with Royal Mail you have several options to consider. To find out more, please visit our Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) Opens in new window page.
Find out more about sending gifts or goods abroad with HMRC’s guide for international post users Opens in new window .

I’m sending mail to the Channel Islands. Do I need to complete a customs declaration form?

Yes, if you’re sending any goods or gifts to these destinations.

This includes Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark.

Please note: gifts and goods sent to Jersey may be liable for GST (Goods and Service Tax), currently 5%.

Find out more about sending mail to the Channel Islands


I’m sending mail to a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) destination. Do I need to complete a customs declaration form?

HMRC pays particular attention to all HM Forces Mail arriving in or leaving the UK.

You must complete a customs declaration if you’re sending gifts or goods to any BFPO destination. This is regardless of value.

Please attach the form to the outside of the item.

If the information published on our website does not answer your query, please click here for further assistance.

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