Once the UK has left the EU, you will need to provide additional information when shipping to Europe. This information is used by customs officials at the destination country. Once political clarity is available, our shipping systems will be updated to allow you to enter additional information when placing an international booking.

In this guide, we outline the changes you will see following Brexit and how you can start to gather information straight away to ensure you are prepared.

Brexit Timeline

Possible outcomes

On 31st October, MPs are scheduled to vote on the proposed withdrawal agreement. There are two possible outcomes of this vote:


No Deal

If MPs approve the withdrawal agreement, we will enter into a transition period until 31st December 2020. The transition period will allow time for the UK and EU to negotiate trade deals, while businesses prepare for the planned changes.

In this scenario, we won’t see any major changes for another year.

If MPs reject the withdrawal agreement on 31st October 2019, the UK will leave the Customs Union and start to trade on World Trade Organisation terms.

Changes will take effect immediately and there will be no transition period. EU shipments will be handled in a similar way to the rest of the world.

Following recent events, a further extension may be granted in order to negotiate the deal.

Changes to the International booking form

In the event of a No-deal Brexit on 31 October, it will still be quick and easy to book international shipments on ipostparcels. However, you will notice we’ve added some additional fields to our International booking form about the sender, recipient and product you are sending.

This information will be used by customs officials in Europe so it is important that you complete the form accurately in order to avoid delays.

Below we outline each of the new fields and how to complete the form. Note, there are some differences for our business senders and personal senders.


Customs use the commodity code, value of goods and origin of goods to calculate the duties to be paid so it’s important you fill in this information accurately.

1. Commodity codes

Commodity codes (also known as HS codes) are used to classify products. This information is used by officials at customs clearance points across the world. By using a number to describe what is in a shipment, it removes issues associated with vague descriptions and language barriers.

If you are a business, you can start to classify your product catalogue with commodity codes now by following the instructions below:

a. Visit: https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff

b. Enter the search term. Note, the item may not be listed by name, it may come under what it is used for or made from.

c. You will be given a number of suggested sections.

d. The heading in each chapter describes a product. Only select a sub-heading if your item is accurately described.

e. If your item is not accurately described, check further down the list. If none of the sub-headings match your item use the ‘other’ heading.

2. Product description

Your product description should be detailed and correspond to the commodity code given. Where possible, try to include: the type of product, material used to make it and production method.

We give some examples of acceptable and unacceptable product descriptions below:

 Bad product descriptions

 Good product descriptions

  •  Clothing
  •  Men's knitted jumper, 70% cotton, 30% polyester
  •  Laptop
  •  HP Pavilion 14-ce1509sa 14" Intel Core i3 Laptop
  •  Footwear
  •  Ladies leather shoe

3. Value of product

You will need to provide an approximate value for the item you are sending. This will be used to calculate duty.

4. Country of origin

This is the country where the item was originally manufactured. If you are unsure, this information can usually be found on the label of clothes or the base of toys and electrical equipment.


1. EORI number (business senders only)

EORI stands for Economic Operator Registration and Identification. An EORI number is currently needed to import or export items outside of the EU. After Brexit, it is likely that UK businesses will also need an EORI number for shipments to and from the EU.

We recommend that all business senders register for an EORI number as soon as possible to be prepared for the event of a No-deal Brexit on 31st October 2019. It is quick and simple to register and is completely free. Visit the HMRC website: gov.uk/eori – and fill in a VAT registered form or a Non VAT registered form depending on your VAT status.

Note, this is an optional field as it only needs to be filled in by our business senders. If you are a personal sender then you should leave this field blank.

2. Address and telephone number

Both business and personal senders will need to provide a ‘Sender’ address and telephone number.


1. Address, email address and telephone number

In addition to the existing address field, senders will need to provide the recipient’s email address and telephone number when sending to the EU.

What does this mean for business senders?

Make sure your business is ready for Brexit by following the below steps:

1. Register with HMRC for your EORI number

2. Classify each of your products with a commodity code

3. Ensure product descriptions are detailed and relate to a commodity code

4. Ensure you have accurate addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers for all recipients

What does this mean for personal senders?

With Christmas fast approaching, you may be worried about your gifts reaching loved ones across the world. In the event of a No-deal Brexit, you will still be able to ship items to the EU. You will just need to provide a bit more information about your shipment when booking.

The biggest change for personal senders is the addition of a Commodity Codes field to the international booking form. When this comes into effect, you will need to visit: gov.uk/trade-tariff to find out the code for the item you are sending.

Any questions?

If you should require any further assistance, please get in touch with our Customer Service team.

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