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Customs invoice and how to complete it

If you send or receive any parcel from outside the European Union, you have to complete and attach the customs form to the parcel. Here you can find the customs form and step by step instructions on how to complete it.

Download customs invoice here:

📥Download PDF

If you ship outside the EU it's very important:

1To complete the above form correctly and carefully.
Use the instructions below for reference.
2To print 3 copies of the Customs form for each parcel you're shipping, and:

if the shipment is non-commercial:

  • print 1 copy of the sender's personal ID

if the shipment is commercial:

  • print 1 copy the sender company's VAT registration number
  • print 1 copy the commercial invoice
3Insert all documents inside a transparent envelope to be attached on the parcel. 
You can buy sticky envelopes in any convenience store or post office.

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Step by step instructions on how to complete the form:

You must complete the customs documents with a computer and in English.

1 CUSTOMS INVOICE

The customs document is an invoice, that the Customs Authorities of each country needs to process, to apply the necessary taxes and enforce restrictions. You need to choose how you want your Customs Invoice to be processed:

  • as a commercial invoice
    When the goods are a sale, the recipient has bought them from you.
  • as a non-commercial invoice
    When the goods you are sending are:
    • your personal belongings
    • a sample
    • a return
    • a gift

Custom authorities are especially careful with non-commercial invoices, and make sure that the shipment doesn't in fact contain a hidden sale. Do not try to cheat the customs authorities by indicating the wrong type of invoice, or by under-valueing the items sent.

2-3 SENDER AND RECEIVER INFORMATION

It is compulsory to complete both the sender and the receiver's Tax ID fields or, in case of a company, the VAT number. Without this information, your parcel will be stuck in customs.

Tax ID = the national identification number, in most countries


VAT number = the identification number a company was registered with

Make sure you ask your recipient for their Tax ID / VAT number before you send your shipment.

4 INVENTORY OF CONTENTS

You have to make a detailed inventory of everything that you are sending. If you are sending more than one parcel, make as many copies of the customs document as the number of parcels you're sending. The rest of the sections should be exactly the same, besides this one. The inventory should reflect the contents of each parcel

Detailed description of each object in English

Take each different type of object you're sending, and describe it in the first column of the table. Use as many details as you can, if they apply:

  • its purpose
  • the material is made out of
  • its brand
  • its size
  • its usage
  • the gender it's meant for (e.g. woman's shoes)
  • any other detail that may apply to your particular object

Example

Maria is sending her boyfriend who recently was transfered to work in Argentina some of his own valued posessions: a poster, a pair of shoes, a phone, a watch and two t-shirts.

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For items that can contain any animal based material such as leather, wool or silk (e.g. shoes, jackets, bed covers, etc) it is compulsory to mention the material and its provenience, whether it is bovine leather, or synthetic material.

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If your items have been used (second hand), make sure you mention that in the description.

Tariff code

The tariff code is an international classification of objects that customs authorities use. To make sure that your parcel is delivered without delays, you need to find the right tariff number for your object.

To find your tariff number go to www.tariffnumber.com or Trade Tariff Gov UK and search for your item with the search box at the top. Carefully read the entire description of a code, before you chose the right one.

tariffnumber-screenshot.png

Example

Maria needs to find the Tariff number of 5 different objects. Here are the tariff numbers she found:

descriptions-tariffnumbers.png

alert-icon.svgDo not copy this, because your objects could contain different materials.

Tips on finding the right Tariff number

  • think of the materials or ingredients your object is made out of, and its function
  • once you have some results, use the search function of the browser (ctrl+f or cmd+f) to highlight keywords within a search
  • read the entry until the end - make sure it fits to your object
  • be careful of the text following a "excl." word - which indicates that the number doesn't represent anything described after that word
  • if you can't find your object through search, try synonyms ('trousers' instead of 'pants', 'prints' instead of 'posters', 'disc' instead of 'vynil', etc)
  • don't panic

Country of origin

Inidcate the country of origin of your object. You can usually find this on the "Made in" label. If you're not sure what this is, you can put the sender's country.

Number of items

If you're sending more than one item of the same object (e.g. two t-shirts of 100% cotton), you only need to describe it in one row of the table, but specify the number of items you're sending. To decide if you need to describe your object on a new line, ask yourself:

Would the same tariff number apply to all the objects on this line?

If the answer is no, then you need to describe this object on a new line.

If you're sending more than 13 objects, download an extra table from here:

download-icon.svgDownload extra inventory table

Item value

Indicate the real value of one item from the object type you're describing.

This value cannot be 0€

If you are sending personal objects with no clear value, try to value them as accurately as possible - for how much would you sell them on a second hand market?

If you're sending items you made yourself, try to estimate the value of the materials that went into making them.

Putting a value that doesn't seem to describe an object (e.g. 1€ for a smart phone) to avoid custom taxes would delay or block your shipment. Authorities will notice irregularities and will request a more accurate documentation.

Example

Even though the shoes and phone are used, Maria completed with their real market value, that she calculated based on their original value, and the number of usage years. This value is approximate, but necessary.

Here is how Maria completed her customs document:

entire-inventory.png
5.svg REASON FOR EXPORT

Mark the true reason for the shipment. Remember, Packlink doesn't do temporary exports, only permanent ones.

6.svg SHIPMENT DETAILS

Indicate in the appropriate field the number of parcels the shipment contains. If it is more than 1, add up the total weight of the parcels you are sending for the weight field.

It is extremely important to indicate the exact weight, otherwise you will encounter problems with the customs authorities: your parcel may be delayed or stuck and you may be charged extra.

7.svg DECLARATION OF DUAL USE

This is a necessary declaration for the customs authortities. It states that you are not sending anything that could also be used for military purposes.

If you plan to ship abroad anything that could also be used for military purposes, DO NOT DO IT, it is illegal.

8.svg CITES Declaration

This is a necessary declaration for the customs authortities. It states that you are not sending anything that is made out of forbidden materials, due to laws for protection of endangered species.

If you plan to ship abroad anything that may be made of a material from endangered species of animals or plants (such as elephant tusks), DO NOT DO IT, it is illegal. If you're not sure, check it here: http://checklist.cites.org/#/es

9.svg PERMANENT EXPORT

Here you need to acknowledge that your shipment is not a temporary one, and the standard customs taxes will be applied no matter what. Packlink doesn't send temporary shipments outside the EU.

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