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DHL Guide > Going global > Customs > Customs documentation

Customs documentation

There is a bewildering number of customs documentation that is involved in international trade, which may be for UK or destination customs, other government departments or for banking purposes. A few of the more commonly encountered documents are described below, along with details of the enhanced facilities that DHL Express is able to provide.

Commodity Codes

Commodity Codes are six-digit internationally accepted codes which classify shipped goods so that correct taxes and duties are applied. Commodity Codes will decipher if you need any export licences; any import licences for when the goods hit the destination customs; and the particular rate of duties and taxes to be applied to your goods.

More information: www.gov.uk/finding-commodity-codes


Export customs declarations

UK Customs normally require export declarations to be made for all goods departing the UK on a SAD (single administrative document) through the National Export System (NES).

DHL Express has an agreement with Customs which allows most declarations to be made via a paperless system, with the facility for low value shipments being declared after export, or via a bulk low value declaration. This enables us to move your shipments with the minimum of delays, as we are allowed to make routine customs declarations outside of busier peak periods.

If you export goods covered by a licence, from a bonded warehouse, or using other duty relief schemes, we are able to provide most export customs declarations for your controlled goods. Copies of the declarations can be emailed to you by arrangement, enabling you to complete your administration and comply with customs regulations with the minimum fuss – at no additional charge.

If you have a specific export declaration requirement, all you need to do is email our export team on the day of pick-up at emaexport@dhl.com advising them of the shipment details and your needs. For instance, you may wish to advise us details of an export licence, the EORI number, a special Customs Procedure Code or commodity codes to be used for your export.

Your DHL Express invoice provides your evidence of export for VAT purposes allowing you to zero rate your international sales in most circumstances. For movements that are paid for by another party, our track and trace facility can also be used to provide the necessary evidence. If you are shipping to an intermediate receiver in an EU country, we can supply the EAD – Export Accompanying Document, which is needed to show that your goods have left the EU. This can be requested using the following process:

  • EAD documents needed for goods being exported from the EU via a third party in another member state will need to be requested via email to Customs.Euroexpress@dhl.com and Kunjal.Patel@dhl.com (for ESI shipments) or emaexport@dhl.com (for TDI shipments). This is important to identify shipments that need to be separated from the normal intra-EU flow for ths treatment.
  • Any additional entry requirment, such as the IPR CPC, approval or tariff numbers should also be included.
  • The documents must indicate the final delivery name and address, and the office of exit needs to be identified in the documents or the email.
  • An EAD will be issued by DHL and attached to the shipment to move forward with the goods.
  • An electronic copy of the EAD, quoting the MRN number will be forwarded to the customer by email.
  • This number can be quoted in customs returns as the discharge declaration reference.
  • The EAD that travels with the shipment should be removed by the receiver, for subsequent production to Customs at the office of exit.
  • It is the receiver’s responsibility to ensure that the EAD is correctly presented for discharge at the office of exit.
  • When the EAD is produced, the border customs office will record its discharge by scanning the MRN barcode.
  • This information is transferred via a central EC Bureau to UK Customs, and via a link onto DHL’s IT systems.
  • EADs issued by DHL for which the discharge message is received will be logged as discharged.
  • Any EADs not discharged within 10 days (or another period on arranegment) of issue will be notified to the customer.
  • Customers can check the status of their EADs through the European Commision web-site using the link below.
  • Where EADs are not correctly discharged, Customs may be willing to discharge based upon alternative evidence of export.

Export licencing

The movement of many strategic goods – especially those with a military (or potential military) purpose – is controlled through export licences. The Export Control Organisation provides advice and issues licences for UK exporters.

DHL Express is able to produce the Customs declarations required for licensable exports, and in most cases just require a notification email to do this. In some circumstances Customs require a copy licence to be provided – you can email or fax this to us and we will hold it for future exports.


Movement certificates

Forms ATR1 and EUR1 provide evidence to support preferential trade with Turkey and other countries that have reciprocal trade agreements with the European Union. These documents can be obtained from your local Chambers of Commerce or by using commercial consular services providers. Services may include on-line application and issuing of certificates. Your local chamber can be located through the British Chambers of Commerce, www.britishchambers.org.uk

It is also possible to use simplified procedures such as low value invoice declarations, ATR2 and EUR2 documents, or by obtaining authorised exporter status. Details of these procedures are published in customs notices 812 and 827 which are available from Customs on 0845 010 9000 or at www.hmrc.gov.uk


Certificates of Origin

Your customer may ask you to provide a Certificate of Origin, which may be required for Customs clearance or banking purposes.

Due to our extensive global coverage, DHL Express is able to offer you simplified document services to a number of destinations, such as legalisation at destination and higher value allowances before certificates are needed. DHL can help you source information about these and other document requirements for your exports.

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