Export Requirements

Wednesday, February 2021

Basic export requirements

  • Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI)
  • Commodity Codes
  • Bill of Ladings
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List

What is an EORI number?

Businesses and people wishing to trade must use the EORI number as an identification number in all customs procedures when exchanging information with Customs administrations.

Having a standardised identification number across the EU is more efficient, both for economic operators, customs authorities and security purposes.

The EORI format is set out as the country code e.g. GB for England, Scotland and Wales. Followed by a number that is unique to the member state. In the UK it is your VAT number.

EORI numbers are required for a number of different situations, the below explains the most common:

Lodge a customs declaration in the customs territory of the Union;

  • To submit an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS)Search for available translations of the preceding link
  • To lodge an Exit Summary Declaration (EXS)Search for available translations of the preceding link
  • To lodge a temporary storage declaration in the customs territory of the Union
  • Act as a carrier for the purposes of transport by sea, inland waterway or air;
  • Act as a carrier who is connected to the customs system and wishes to receive any of the notifications provided for in the customs legislation regarding the lodging or amendment of entry summary declarations.

What’s a commodity code?

  • A commodity code is required to make a customer declaration when you import or export goods. A commodity, is a 10-digit number allocated to all goods and classifies import and export duty. Your commodity code simply tells you:
  • The duty and VAT ratings you’ll be charged for your goods
  • If you can apply for a preferential duty rating (General System of Preference aka GSP)
  • Whether your product requires an import licence

Whether anti-dumping duties apply

If you’re unsure or need guidance on searching for your product commodity code we recommend using the government website on the below link, to search your product to find the correct code or giving one of our experts a call on 01386791537


Why do I need a commodity code?

When you import or export goods you will be charged a duty. This charge is calculated as a percentage of the goods value. Your duty rating directs how much you will have to pay Customs when you import. HMRC requires you to declare your product’s commodity code to them in order for them to classify your product and give it an accurate duty rating.
If you incorrectly code your product then your goods are liable to be held by customs, which will result in larger costs and fines than what you would be paying in your goods had been correctly declared. If you are unsure, we also recommend reading the below government advice, or call one of our specialists who will be able to support you in this.


What documentation is required for Imports and exports?

With there being a vast amount of goods that are imported and exported there is inevitably documentation that is required in some circumstances but no others. However, there is documentation that would can gaurantee that you will need.

The documentation that all importers and exporters need the following;

  • Bill of Landing
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List

What is a Bill of Lading?

This is an essential legal document used when shipping goods. In simple terms, it is given to the shipper (the cargo owner or Seller) by the carrier (Haulier) when goods are loaded. On delivery, it is given to the buyer/consignee, to transfer ownership and allow the shipper to release the goods. official shipping document, containing all the details about the shipment.

 A bill of Lading provides evidence of the contract terms for carriage. It will include the type of shipment, how much there is of the shipment and the destination for the shipment. (it is not an actual contract but evidence of a contract).  A Bill of lading also acts as the title of the goods as it represents ownership of the goods; when the bill of lading is transferred, the goods are moved from belonging to the supplier to you. This means that you can legally resell them on. This also means that it’s ‘release’ to the intended recipient of the goods is often held until a final payment for the goods is complete. 


Commercial Invoice

What is a Commercial Invoice?
The commercial invoice is one of the most important documents in international trade. It is a legal document issued by the seller (exporter) to the buyer (importer) in an international transaction and serves as a contract and a proof of sale between the buyer and seller.

Unlike the bill of lading it does not indicate ownership of the goods or carry a title of the goods being sold. The commercial invoice is used to detail the price, value, and quantity of the goods being sold. It should also include the trade or sale conditions agreed upon by both buyer and seller of the transaction being carried out. Customs authorities need it to assess possible taxes and duties. Filling it out correctly helps to avoid delays. Due to this we have created a template that you can use to make this process as easy as possible. 

Download our Commercial Invoice here

It is a legal requirement to fill out a commercial invoice accurately.Failure to do so may result in lengthy hold-ups and shipping delay costs. Given that a commercial invoice is also used for customs declaration purposes, any misinformation may lead to underpayment of the correct amount of duties and taxes due and their legal ramifications.

Packing List

What is a Packing list? The packing list is a detailed summary of what you are shipping, how much of it is being sent, and where it is going. The packing list is the only way in which a consignment can be cleared for entry into a new market and most importantly the only way in which the border crossing or customs officer can tell what is supposed to be in each carton being delivered overseas. 

A packing list must include the following:

  • Date
  • Shipper/exporter contact information
  • Consignee contact information
  • Address at origin country of the cargo
  • Address at destination country of the cargo
  • Total amount of packages
  • Detailed description of each package
  • Volume and weight of each package
  • Volume and weight of total shipment
  • Commercial invoice number related to the shipment

© Insight Trans Logistics