Which paperwork do I need?


I’m a small publisher. I have a small order from Australia. The carton of booklets will come to approx 31x24x14cm weighing less than 8kg, value about £650. I’m exploring various ways of shipping it, incl via FedEx, TnT, Royal Mail. If I choose the Royal Mail option which requires form CN23 for declaration, do I need to do anything else? If I choose another courier service, do I need all of these: EORI, NES, CHIEF? Seems very daunting for something very small.


Hi Freda,

The CN23 is basically a customs form which is used when the goods arrive at the destination, where they have to be cleared through customs and duty may be charged (although probably not in the case of booklets). The other procedures you mentioned generally relate to export customs procedures when goods leave the UK, and most small parcel / courier companies will usually take care of this for you. You might want to apply for an EORI number, if you are planning to have more export shipments, as this is needed by all companies who export or import.
You will probably be asked by the courier company to fill out a "waybill" which will contain shipping instructions and a description & value of the goods for customs purposes. you should also enclose a copy of your commercial / sales invoice, and attach a spare copy to the side of the package.
You should also ensure that your package does not contain any wooden or straw packing materials, as Austrialia has very strict phytosanitary / quarantine regulations. This is probably unlikely for such a small package, but might be worth bearing in mind if you do anything larger in the future.


Dear Freda
If sending via courier should only need an invoice.
Please contact us directly and we would be please to quote for the courier charges
and help you with the paperwork . tel 01263 513127 or email colin.crown@ntlworld.com
Best regards
Colin ; Crown Frt


Hello Freda,
You don’t mention it in your question but you need to consider who is paying for which part of the transportation and importation. I expect you have already agreed a price with your customer so take care that you do not incur too many additional costs.

If you send by post the fee you pay is for door to door delivery but will exclude any import duty or tax payable at destination.

If you send via courier the fee you pay changes according to your choice – you can pay just the transport door to door and leave the import administration costs and import duty/tax to the recipient for example.

There is also the question of tracking the parcel. In my experience tracking a Royal Mail parcel once it is in the destination country is difficult. With a courier company it is much easier and the tracking results are more detailed.

Whichever you choose don’t forget insurance. You can opt for this from Royal Mail or a courier company for a fee if you don’t already have a global policy. You don’t have to have insurance if you don’t want to and insurance claims can be time consuming and are rarely quick. If you don’t take out insurance you will not get back the full value of your parcel even if you can prove negligence on behalf of the carrier. There are rules that they work to in the small print which base the pay out on the weight of the parcel and this usually works out at less than £2 per kilo shipped.


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