Your export to the UK is always in safe hands with GLS!

GLS has for many years been customers’ reliable partner for parcel deliveries across Europe

GLS customers rely on existing, proven processes for smooth imports and exports, including of deliveries requiring customs clearance.

As a subsidiary of the IDS we are specialists in UK business!

GLS will give its customers extensive support for parcels to the UK also from 2021.

Requirements for export to the UK

EORI number (Economic Operators’ Registration and Identification)

For shipping to countries outside the EU, you require a so-called EORI number for your business. This identification number is required for customs processing. You can apply for an EORI number at the customs office responsible according to the company's registered HQ. Most customs offices accept e-requests for registration of EORI numbers. When shipping to the UK, the EORI numbers of the commercial exporter in the EU and of the commercial importer in the UK are required.

Goods classification on the basis of customs tariff numbers (HS code numbers)

Goods shipments to non-EU countries must be classified. For this, customs use goods or customs tariff numbers, so-called HS code numbers. This defines which goods are included in your shipment and how high the import duties and other import taxes are. In addition to the goods description, parcels to the UK must also be furnished with the corresponding goods/customs tariff number. Detailed information regarding the HS code numbers can be found at .

Documents required for customs: Commercial or pro forma invoice in two copies and export declaration

The commercial invoice is required for goods with commercial value and the pro forma invoice for goods without commercial value (e.g. sample or gift shipments). The invoice must be placed in a shipping envelope on the outside of the parcel and must contain the following information:

  • Complete importer data if this is not the same as the recipient: name, address, phone number, e-mail address
  • Name and address of the dispatcher with phone number and e-mail address
  • EORI numbers of the dispatcher, the commercial exporter in the EU and the commercial importer in the UK
  • Name and address of the recipient with phone number, e-mail address and contact person
  • Delivery address if this differs from the invoice address
  • Invoice date, number and location
  • Designation and quantity of goods with associated customs tariff numbers and respective values
  • Value of goods (with currency specification)
  • Delivery condition/incoterm
  • GLS parcel number(s)
  • Weight (gross/net)
  • Declaration of origin
  • Company stamp, signature and name in plain text
  • UK VAT number when using Incoterm 18 (VAT Registration Scheme)

For each line of the invoice, the following must be indicated:

  • All goods tariff numbers (summed)
  • The gross and net weight
  • The exact description of the goods
  • The origin
  • The value declaration incl. currency

Three original copies of the invoice (with the stamp and signature of the responsible person) must be handed over to the courier, and an additional one can be placed in the shipping bag on the outside of the parcel.

Items should be grouped by tariff numbers, country of origin and weight. Each item should be accompanied by gross and net weight, value and currency of the goods.

Parcel shipping to the UK in detail


For shipping to a non-EU country, taxes, customs duties and a customs clearance fee are incurred alongside the shipping costs.

Incoterms define which costs incurred within the framework of customs clearance (taxes, customs duties, customs clearance) are borne by the dispatcher and which by the importer.

  • The payable customs duties will depend on the type of goods to be shipped and the tariff rates set by the British government if no origin-related customs exemptions exist.
  • The customs clearance fee will be fixed by GLS and covers the additional work incurred because of the customs clearance process. Depending on the Incoterm selected by the dispatcher, the charges will fall on the consignor or the
    recipient. Your GLS customer advisor will provide you with more information.
When exporting with GLS to the UK, dispatchers can choose between these Incoterms for commercial customs clearance:

Shipment value <= GBP135 netShipment value > GBP135 net
Importer private
Importer commercial
Importer private and Importer commercial
IncotermIncoterm 18 DDP VAT Registration Scheme Mandatory if shipment value <= GBP135Incoterm 20
Incoterm 40
DDU cleared

Incoterm 60
DescriptionFreight costs, customs clearance costs + taxes paid
The import sales tax is paid directly to the British tax authorities (HMRC)
Freight costs paid, customs clearance, duties + taxes unpaidFreight costs + customs clearance cost paid, duties + taxes unpaid.Freight costs, customs clearance costs, customs duties + taxes paid
Clearance borne byShipperShipperImporterShipperRequester
borne by
No duties incurImporterImporterRequester
borne by
ShipperShipper or ImporterImporterImporterRequester
Please noteShipper must register in UK and receives a UK VAT number
->This must be indicated in the invoice and customs data
Shipper may use his own or the importer’s UK VAT number (self-registration)
-> The respective VAT number must be indicated in the invoice and customs data
-> If the importer’s number is used, the
invoice must state:
"Use importer account for VAT to HMRC"
  • Bulk customs clearance is possible for shipments to the UK consisting of several packages for different recipients.
    • In this case, the customs clearance for different delivery addresses is conducted on the basis of a single invoice via one importer.
    • There is only one customs clearance fee (depending on the quantity of customs tariff numbers), which can be broken down across all packages.
    • Bulk customs clearance is, for example, possible via a branch of the shipping company in the UK, a fiscal representation of a company located in the EU, licensed in England, with an English tax number or a general importer in the UK.
Shipments go through a customs clearance and inspection process; GLS will charge fees for this. There are no customs duties.
With Incoterm 18 DDP, bulk customs clearance is not possible.
  • For B2B shipment, the shipper needs a UK EORI number. This must be indicated in the invoice and customs data.

To find the appropriate Incoterm, get in touch with the importers in the UK and determine who bears the import VAT and customs duties: you as the consignor of the goods or the importer in the UK.

What else is important?

Creation of parcel labels

When required, all GLS shipping systems will be able to process the United Kingdom (UK) as a customs destination with commercial customs clearance. Dispatchers who use their own ERP system to control the GLS shipping system must add UK as a customs destination. Dispatchers who wish to use the Incoterm 18 tariff option must also add this new Incoterm to their systems.

You cannot customise your ERP system? You can use the GLS web portal to conveniently create export parcels to the UK. To do this, you just need a computer with an Internet connection. You can request your access data by e-mail:

Your price terms and transport costs

For the customs clearance service, GLS charges a fee that covers the cost of additional actions incurred due to the customs clearance procedure. Depending on the Incoterm chosen by the sender, payment is debited to the sender or recipient. Your GLS sales representative will provide you with more information.

Transit times for the United Kingdom

The standard transit times for the United Kingdom will remain essentially unchanged; 5 to 6 working days (Mon.-Fri.) + 2 working days for the export and import procedure if the correct customs data is submitted to GLS in a timely manner, for example in time of pickup.

Need more information?

GLS Customer Service will be happy to answer any further questions you may have about customs procedures and, if necessary, consult with shipping experts to the UK to clarify certain details.