Helpful Customs Advice for Shipping From EU To Non-EU Countries

Helpful Customs Advice for Shipping From EU To Non-EU Countries

When engaging in international trade and shipping goods from the European Union (EU) to non-EU countries, it’s crucial to understand the customs procedures and regulations involved. Customs requirements can vary significantly depending on the destination country, the nature of the goods, and any trade agreements in place. This ParcelDirect blog post aims to provide a comprehensive guide to navigating the customs process when shipping from the EU to non-EU countries.

Research Import Regulations:

Before shipping goods, it’s essential to research and understand the import regulations of the destination country. Each country has specific rules regarding customs duties, taxes, prohibited items, and documentation requirements. Additionally, you can contact the customs authorities or consult with a customs broker to gather accurate information and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations.

Classify Your Goods:

Goods are classified under the Harmonized System (HS) code, an internationally recognized standard for product classification. Determine the correct HS code for your goods as it impacts customs duties, taxes, and import restrictions. The EU’s TARIC database can help identify the appropriate code, or seek assistance from a customs expert if needed.

Prepare Required Documentation:

Furthermore, Accurate and complete documentation is crucial for smooth customs clearance. Common documents include:

  • Commercial Invoice: Provide a detailed invoice stating the value, quantity, and description of the goods.
  • Packing List: Include a list of all items in the shipment.
  • Bill of Lading/Airway Bill: These documents serve as evidence of the contract of carriage and should match the commercial invoice.
  • Certificate of Origin: Some countries require a document verifying the origin of the goods.
  • Export License or Permit: Certain goods, such as controlled substances or endangered species, may require specific permits.

Comply with Export Controls:

Also, be aware of any export controls or restrictions imposed by the EU or international agreements. Some goods may require export licenses or face limitations due to national security, dual-use items, or embargoes. Check with the appropriate authorities to ensure compliance with all export control measures.

Consider Customs Valuation:

Customs duties and taxes are often calculated based on the declared value of the goods. Ensure accurate valuation and consider additional charges such as insurance and freight costs. Under- or overvaluing goods may lead to penalties or delays in customs clearance.

Understand Tariffs and Taxes:

Different countries apply various tariffs and taxes on imported goods. Research the destination country’s customs tariff schedule and any preferential trade agreements in place. Some countries may offer reduced or zero-duty rates for goods originating from specific countries or qualifying under preferential trade schemes.

Utilize Trade Agreements:

The EU has entered into numerous trade agreements with non-EU countries, offering preferential treatment for eligible goods. Understand the requirements and rules of origin to determine if your goods qualify for reduced tariffs or other trade benefits under these agreements.

Consider Customs Brokerage Services:

Navigating complex customs procedures can be challenging, especially for first-time exporters. Engaging a customs broker or freight forwarder experienced in international shipping can simplify the process. They can provide guidance, handle documentation, and ensure compliance with customs regulations.

Packaging and Labelling:

Follow the destination country’s packaging and labelling requirements, including language, product markings, and safety labels. Improper packaging or missing labeling can result in delays and additional inspections.

Prohibited and Restricted Items:

Every country maintains a list of prohibited and restricted items that cannot be imported. Ensure your goods comply with these regulations to prevent customs seizures or penalties. Common restricted items include firearms, narcotics, endangered species, and counterfeit goods.


Finally, Shipping goods from the EU to non-EU countries involves navigating complex customs procedures. Although, by conducting thorough research, understanding destination country regulations, preparing accurate documentation, and complying with customs requirements, you can enhance your chances of a successful and hassle-free shipping experience. Also, remember to seek professional advice when needed and stay up-to-date with changing customs regulations and trade agreements to optimize your international trade operations.