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

From 1 January 2021, the United Kingdom (UK) has the status of a third country from the perspective of the European Union. This means that the movement of goods and thus parcel dispatch between the EU and the UK will be subject to customs supervision from this day.

For many years, GLS has been customers’ reliable partner for parcel deliveries across Europe and the world. This is why GLS customers rely on existing, proven processes for smooth imports and exports. This also includes deliveries requiring customs clearance. Thus GLS will give its customers extensive support for shipments to the UK also from 2021.

What does Brexit mean in terms of shipping parcels to the UK?

The UK has ceased to be a member of the EU since 1 January 2021 and now has the status of a third country. This means that trade between the EU and the UK will be subject to customs clearance. The exception to this is the case for deliveries to Northern Ireland.

Is shipping to Ireland affected by Brexit?

The withdrawal of the UK from EU structures has not changed the status of Ireland in any way. The country is still a member of the European Union and the transport of goods remains as it was. This means that shipping to Ireland (Republic of Ireland) can be done without customs clearance.

Northern Ireland, on the other hand, which is a part of the United Kingdom, remains in the Customs Union with the EU despite leaving the structures of the European Union. This means that the transport of goods is not subject to customs clearance.

What needs to be done to ensure successful customs clearance?

  • Make sure that your company has an EORl number. This is an identification number that is used by customs. To obtain an EORl number, you must visit the Electronic Services Portal of the Customs Service (PUESC) and submit an application available under the e-Customer service.
  • You should know the customs tariff codes of the goods being sent. You can check them at
  • The customs agency must be authorised to represent your company during customs clearance. It is possible to choose any customs agency (and hand over the parcels already cleared for transport) or use the Raben Customs Agency with which GLS cooperates. The authorization forms can be provided by assigned customer service at GLS.

What customs documents and information are required?

Senders have to provide the following:

1. For commercial consignments, you will need an invoice in two copies (original plus one copy) with the following details:

  • the name and full address of the sender/issuer of the invoice together with NIP number and contact details,
  • the name, full address of the recipient with contact phone number and e-mail address,
  • the address of the actual consignee, if the goods are delivered to an address other than that of the payer of the invoice,
  • precise description and quantity of the goods, unit price and value of the goods (the description should clearly state what is the subject of the shipment, none of the invoice items can assume a zero value, e.g. EUR 0),
  • customs tariff code,
  • total invoice value including currency (excluding VAT),
  • transport conditions according to Incoterms® 2010,
  • weight of parcels (net, gross),
  • a declaration of origin (stamped and signed by the invoice issuer),
  • the company stamp of the invoice issuer and the signature of the person authorised to issue the document,
  • UK VAT and UK EORI number - depending on selected transport conditions.

2. For non-commercial shipments (containing e.g. documents, samples, catalogues, specimens, etc.) a pro-forma invoice in two copies (original plus one copy) confirming the data of the sender and recipient together with contact details, exact description of the package content and net/gross value and weight is required.

3. Documents (invoice, Customs Clearence Form and confirmation of customs clearance if you use a customs agency other than Raben) should be attached when filling in the data in ADE-Plus. The documents should be placed outside the package in a separate envelope, next to the address label.

Where can I access information on customs tariff numbers?

When shipping to the UK, the appropriate goods/customs tariff number must be provided.

Detailed information about goods/customs tariff numbers is available online:

What Incoterms are available for shipping to the UK?

Incoterms set out which customs-related costs are borne by the sender and which are borne by the recipient.

When shipping to the UK with GLS, senders can choose from the following options:

  • Incoterm 10 (Incoterms® 2010 DDP); Freight costs, customs clearance costs, customs duties and taxes paid – the sender pays all costs incurred, the importer bears no costs.
  • Incoterm 20 (Incoterms® 2010 DAP); Freight costs paid, customs clearance costs, customs duties and taxes unpaid – the sender pays for freight only, the importer bears all other costs.
  • Incoterm 30 (Incoterms® 2010 DDP, VAT unpaid); Freight costs, customs clearance costs and customs duties paid, taxes unpaid – the sender pays for freight, customs clearance costs and customs duties, the importer pays for the taxes incurred.
  • Incoterm 40 (Incoterms® 2010 DAP, cleared); Freight costs and customs clearance costs paid, customs duties and taxes unpaid – the sender pays for freight and customs clearance costs, the importer pays customs duties and taxes.
  • Incoterm 50 (Incoterms® 2010 DAP); Freight costs, customs clearance costs – the sender pays all costs incurred, the importer bears no costs. It can only be used for gifts.
  • Incoterm 18 (Incoterms® 2010 DDP, VAT pre-paid scheme); Freight costs, customs clearance costs and taxes paid – the sender pays all costs incurred, the importer bears no costs. → For single or various parcels with a goods value of less than GBP 135. Here, the import VAT can be paid directly to the British tax authorities.

Is it possible to send gifts/samples to the UK without incurring duty?

The British government has decided that the limit for low-value clearance ceased to apply on the day of Brexit.

Exception has been made for gifts up to value of 39 GBP.

What is the maximum size and weight of a parcel shipped to and from the UK?

The maximum dimensions and weight of EuroBusinessParcel will continue to apply. For more information, visit this link.

Are there any new rules for exporting to the Channel Islands?

The same rules apply for the Channel Islands as for the United Kingdom.

What changes have taken place in terms of imports?

Basically, goods coming from the UK are subject to import customs clearance.

For recipients, this means that any resulting taxes, customs duties and clearance fees may, depending on the Incoterms stipulated by the sender, have to be borne by the recipient.

What additional costs are incurred when shipping to the UK?

When shipping to the UK, additional costs (i.e. taxes, customs duties and clearance fees) occur in addition to shipping costs.

  • Import VAT in the UK currently stands at 20%.
  • The customs duties payable depend on the type of goods being shipped and the tariffs set by the British government, assuming that no exemption based on country of origin applies.
  • The clearance fee will be charged by GLS for its customs clearance service. Depending on the Incoterms® selected, the fees will be paid by the sender or recipient.

What delivery times apply to shipments to/from the UK?

GLS shipments from Poland will arrive in the UK within five to seven working days. This time also applies to parcels shipped from the UK to Poland.

Are there any restrictions on shipping goods to the UK?

GLS Poland does not accept for transport parcels containing i.e. food, live animals or plants, tobacco products and alcohol, medicinal products, fireworks and others.

The full list of goods excluded from transport can be found in the General Logistics Systems Poland Ltd. General Terms and Conditions.