At what point is special documentation required for Export?


We are a small company in Scotland and have shipped products to Europe. We send via courier and have so far had no request for special documents. Can the panel advise on when and where documents are required as I think many people are put off exporting by this idea its very complicated thus possibly missing opportunity.


Hi Anthony,

As a very general rule shipment going outside of Europe require export documents. This is because an export declaration is required to HMRC and that requires certain details that a Euopean shipment wouldn’t require e.g. a commodity or tariff code to classify the goods.
There would they also be an import declaration into the destination country so again more detail regarding the products is required.
With a non-European export shipment details like the Incoterm/terms of sale state who is responsible within transaction for any import taxes and duties.
All of these details are displayed on a standard export invoice – you can raise them via if you haven’t got one.

There would be exceptions to this for low value shipments and those sent by courier/post.

After that the most commonly raised documents would be the Packing List, Certificate of Origin and/or preference certificate.
Ask your customer what they require as they will likely know from previous shipments.

It’s difficult to find a definitive list of required documents because the requirements vary so much depending on the product. Factors such as alcohol, hazardous, licensing, need to be considered but likely ruled out for most.

In case useful there is a standard set of most export documents at using the e-z Consign system and you just pick the ones you need or are asked for.



Thank you. I had not realised there was an obligation to inform anyone here. Also would it be right to say that Brexit could make the EU like any other country so we will lose this very easy way to get goods overseas?

I guess the path forward for a tiny company like our would be to find a large exporter who is willing to take our product under its wing?


Looking at customs notice 143 it says for postal exports to non-EU destinations if the value is under £750 a CN22 or CN23 declaration can be made – That’s the sticker you might see on post from overseas. You can use that on your overseas sales.

For any shipments valued over £750 an NES declaration should be made. Using an agent is one way for a small company to satisfy this requirement. An agent would arrange the transport and make the declaration on your behalf.

There is big question mark over how this process will change after Brexit. Depends whether the UK has access to the Free Market (Europe) and the terms of access.

Export Action Plan