Home Brexit Brexit: International Trade Checklist


New customs procedures will apply when trading with the EU from 2021.

This checklist is designed to highlight areas where you can prepare your business,
and make customs clearance a smoother process going forward.

Are you using Paperless Trade?

Paperless Trade (PLT) is a service incorporated within our Electronic Shipping Tools to support electronic transmission of customs documents. PLT provides a stable future-proofed platform to work from when shipping internationally. More information on PLT can be found at

Do you have an EORI number?

An EORI number is an Economic Operator Registration and Identification number. It will be required for UK imports and exports from 2021. You can submit your EORI number at

Have you checked if your shipments are classed as a document or non-document?

When shipping internationally it is important to consider the content of your shipment, as documents and non-documents are treated differently. It isn’t always obvious which category your shipment falls in to. For help, please review our guide to leaving the EU at or speak with your account manager.

Do you know the commodity code for your product?
The goods you are sending can be identified via a precise, internationally-recognised commodity code. This will ensure the correct duties and taxes are applied by Customs. To identify the commodity code for your product(s) visit

Are additional licences or certification needed for your product?

A wide range of products are subject to additional licensing or certification requirements when importing or exporting to and from different countries. If your goods do not need a licence, please confirm this by informing us via email at and

Have you checked on the restrictions in the EU countries you’re sending to?

New restrictions could apply to a large number of items – particularly foodstuffs – from 2021. Check if restrictions apply to the items you’re sending using our DHL Express Import Guidelines at:
(select a country from the dropdown menu on the right).

Do you provide a declaration for controlled exports?

Goods that are deemed to be military or dual-use are subject to export controls. Controls also apply to antiques and some other items. Though aimed primarily toward the export of goods or technology that can be used for military purposes, sometimes the same commodity codes can apply to other goods like clothing, textiles, or even books.

Have you completed a commercial or pro-forma invoice?

This is essential paperwork in order for your goods to clear Customs in the destination country. The Waybill (which can be generated by DHL shipping tools) is also essential. For advice on what this should look like, visit

Have you confirmed your VAT number?

Postponed VAT accounting will be applied to imports by registered traders from 2021. If you are importing, please confirm your VAT number and whether you wish to postpone accounting to a

Do you have a deferment account for Import Duties & VAT?

Opening a deferment account allows you to postpone the payment of import duties and VAT on imported goods by up to 46 days. DHL can clear your shipments using your deferment account. Apply via using form C1200.

Do you offer a simple e-commerce returns process?

Your returns policy for your customers could be impacted by the transition deadline on 31 December 2020. Orders shipped to customers ahead of 31 December will fall under current EU free trade agreements. However, if your customer then returns an item post-Brexit, it may need to have a commercial invoice to facilitate Customs. Speak to your account manager now if you have any concerns.

Do you offer your customers a Delivery Duties Paid (DDP) service?

A DDP service allows you to bill all duty and taxes back to your account instead of your customer being charged on receipt of their parcel. Retailers who send DDP are growing at double the rate of those that choose for duty to be paid on delivery, with 70% of online shoppers preferring to pre-pay duties and taxes at checkout.


Further info on how you can prepare your business can be found at

The UK Government Check, Change, Go website contains lots of useful information on all aspects of the UK’s departure from the EU.

For any other help or advice on how DHL Express can help you manage the transition, please contact your account manager.


To support every step of your journey, DHL has teamed up with international business experts and key service providers.

Find out more

Helping you understand every step of the international e-commerce journey with our handy guide.

Find out more
Weekly Trade Update

Get the information and advice you need to make the most of international business opportunities.

Read more
footer logo

© 2022 | DHL International (UK) Limited All Rights Reserved Registered Office: Southern Hub, Unit 1, Horton Road, Colnbrook, Berkshire SL3 0BB

Company No. 1184988 | VAT No. 751812341