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The United Kingdom (UK) ceased to be a member of the European Union as of January 31, 2020. There is a transitional period until the end of 2020. The customs status of the UK after this period will depend on the ongoing negotiations and agreements with the EU. One outcome may be that the UK will be given the status of a third country from the EU's point of view.

That means that the movement of goods and thus parcel shipments between the EU and the UK would in this case be subject to customs supervision as of January 1, 2021. Hence customs-free shipping to the UK will be possible for the last time on December 30, 2020.


Requirements for export to the UK at a glance

Expected from January 2021:

EORI number
For shipping to countries outside the EU, you require a so-called EORI number for your business (Economic Operators' Registration and Identification). You can apply for an EORI number from the German customs authorities.

Goods classification on the basis of customs tariff numbers (HS code numbers)
Goods shipments to non-EU countries must be classified. For this, customs use goods or customs tariff numbers, so-called HS code numbers. This defines which goods are included in your shipment and how high the import duties and other import taxes are.

Documents required for customs

  • Commercial or pro forma invoice
    For shipments to the UK a commercial or pro forma invoice is required in duplicate (original plus one copy). A commercial invoice is required for goods with commercial value and the pro forma invoice for goods without commercial value.
  • Export declaration
    When a goods value of €1,000 is reached, shippers in Germany need an electronic export declaration for parcel transportation to the UK. In Germany, this is done via ATLAS (Automated tariff and local customs clearance system).


Your export to the UK is always in safe hands with GLS

GLS customers rely on existing, proven processes for smooth imports and exports, including of deliveries requiring customs clearance:

  • As a subsidiary of the British Royal Mail we are specialists in the UK business.
  • GLS has for many years been customers' reliable partner for parcel deliveries across Europe and the world.
  • Specialists in export and customs issues take care of the particular needs of customers trading internationally.
  • GLS will give its customers extensive support for shipments to the UK also from 2021.


Further information and downloads

Information about parcel shipping to the UK in detail - including information about Incoterms, creation of parcel labels, customs data collection via the GLS customs portal, lead times to the UK, UKCA marking as well as helpful links - can be found in the following documents in our downloads section:

Brexit customer information

Brexit customer presentation

Brexit FAQs