Since 1 January 2021 customs formalities are required for all UK-EU and EU-UK shipments. Following a postponement, further customs procedures will come into place on 1 October 2021 and 1 Jan 2022. We recommend keeping up to date with official UK Government sources:


All freight movements between the UK and the EU are now subject to customs procedures. Our priority is to maintain a seamless service to our customers, and although we have taken extensive steps to minimise any impacts caused by the introduction of customs, it is crucial that customers ensure the correct paperwork and necessary forms are completed prior to booking a shipment. Further details on what is required can be found below.


If you have moved goods between the UK and the EU since 1 January 2021 you will have already experienced the additional procedures and shipment information needed to complete a customs declaration for almost all goods.

From 1 April 2021 and 1 July 2021 additional procedures were due to come into place which focused on the movement of goods with animal origin and the introduction of full import controls on remaining goods. On 11 March 2021, it was announced both of these dates would be pushed back by 6 months and so businesses now have until 1 October 2021 and 1 January 2022 to understand what these additional procedures mean for their goods. You can find further information on these deadlines, and how they will affect the movement of your goods below.

From 1 October 2021, goods containing products of animal origin (such as meat, milk and egg products) will need to provide pre-notification to officials, accompanied by the relevant health certificate. Failure to present a health certificate for products of animal origin will mean the goods will be unable to move between the UK and the EU.

From 1 1 January 2022, full import controls, checks and relevant tariffs will come into place for all goods. Safety and security declarations will be required for imports from the EU into GB.

There will also be an increase in physical checks to ensure customs declarations are being completed accurately, extending to products of animal origin, where sampling may take place. Further details of these new procedures will be set out on the GOV.UK website.


The rules surrounding origin have become a stumbling block for many UK and EU businesses since the introduction of customs on 1 January 2021. To ensure you take advantage of the preferential tariffs for goods with either a UK or EU origin, you must include the below statement confirming origin as part of your commercial invoice on all goods with UK or EU origin.

Statement of origin:

(Period: from___________ to __________ (1))

The exporter of the products covered by this document (Exporter Reference No ... (2)) declares that, except where otherwise clearly indicated, these products are of ... (3) preferential origin.


(Place and date)


(Name of the exporter)

Note number



If the statement on origin is completed for multiple shipments of identical originating products within the meaning of point (b) of Article ORIG.19(4) [Statement on Origin] of this Agreement, indicate the period for which the statement on origin is to apply. That period shall not exceed 12 months. All importations of the product must occur within the period indicated. If a period is not applicable, the field may be left blank.


Indicate the reference number by which the exporter is identified. For the Union exporter, this will be the number assigned in accordance with the laws and regulations of the Union. For the United Kingdom exporter, this will be the number assigned in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable within the United Kingdom. Where the exporter has not been assigned a number, this field may be left blank.


Indicate the origin of the product: the United Kingdom or the Union.


Place and date may be omitted if the information is contained on the document itself.



Click here to view a sample commercial invoice with a declaration of origin.

Further information of claiming preferential rates of duty for goods with a UK or EU origin can be found on the UK Gov website here.

Rules of origin

To claim preferential rates of duty, your product must originate in the EU or UK (as the exporting country). You are allowed to include goods originating from the Rest of the World (ROW) however there are strict guidelines per commodity as to what percentage of ROW goods can be used in the manufacturing process for the goods to still qualify for preference. 

Goods of different origins in the same shipment

You can claim preference for different goods on the same document. You’ll need to clearly identify the goods that are originating and non-originating. There is no fixed method for doing this - the only requirement is that those goods are clearly indicated.

Example if you have Chinese origin goods, French origin goods and GB origin goods in the same shipment, you must identify the origin per goods line.

The rules of origin allow for GB and EU goods to qualify for preference, so the goods of GB and FR goods will attract a zero duty rate (as long as not a product with a commodity code which attracts duty regardless), the goods of Chinese origin will incur duty…your still apply the statement of origin to the whole invoice.

Proving origin

To benefit from preferential tariffs when importing into the UK from the EU (or importing into the EU from the UK), the importer is required to hold proof that the goods comply with the rules of origin.

You’ll be entitled to claim the preferential rate of duty if you have either:

  • a statement on origin that the product qualifies by nature of its origin made out by the exporter and displayed in a commercial export document (usually the commercial invoice)
  • the importer’s knowledge that the product is originating

Importers knowledge – what does it mean?

‘Importers knowledge’ allows the importer to claim preferential tariff treatment based on evidence they hold about the originating status of imported products. This evidence must be in the importer’s possession, be in form of supporting documents or records which may be provided by the exporter or producer and provide evidence that the product qualifies as originating.

As the importer is making a claim using their own knowledge, no statement on origin has to be provided by the exporter or producer, but the importer must inform us if they intend to claim preference using this method so that we can clause the import declaration accordingly. You need to be confident that the goods meet the rules of origin and if prompted by customs the importer you must make every effort to obtain suppliers declarations retrospectively. You are currently allowed to use Importer’s Knowledge until 31/12/2021.

Statement on origin and the Exporter’s Reference Number.

As previous e-mail, the text for a statement of origin is below. It can be found in Annex ORIG-4 of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

When exporting to the EU you must include your EORI number in any statement you issue to your EU customer, regardless of the value. For example shipping from UK to ROI.

You do need to insert your EORI number into the statement of origin even though it appears elsewhere in the document.

When exporting from the EU to the UK a statement of origin can be inserted into the commercial invoice by the EU supplier/exporter where the value of the consignment is 6,000 euros (currently £5,700) or less. It does not need an Exporter Reference Number.

If the value of the goods is above this amount the EU exporter must have a Registered Exporter (REX) number and include it in the statement. This is important to consider if you are creating a commercial invoice, where preference is claimed, on behalf of your German business for example.

The key points of our Checklist can also be found below:

In order to qualify for preferential tariffs rates on goods moving between the UK and the EU that have either a UK or EU origin you must ensure you include a declaration of origin on your commercial invoice. This has been detailed in full at the top of this page, and can also be found on the second page of our sample commercial invoice below. You do not need to include this export declaration relating to origin on your commercial invoice if none of your goods are of UK or EU origin.


You will need to provide us with the value, origin, gross/net weight, commodity code and what terms you are shipping under (Incoterms) for all shipments.


Please let us know if you intend to make use of postponed VAT accounting or a deferment account. You should do this by ticking the appropriate box on our Power of Attorney form (step 1). If you are using another broker, and therefore not completing our PoA form, please provide us with your preferences and permission to use them in writing at the time of booking.




Additionally, UK traders must speak with their clients and suppliers to obtain the following:

  • Their EU EORI Number.
  • Details of any appointed customs broker.
  • If no appointed broker, will they empower Rhenus as their Broker/Direct Representative?
  • Are they going to pay Duty/VAT or will they require a deferment facility?
  • Will they clear goods on-site or via our hub.
  • If clearance on-site, what is their customs office of destination.


    Wood packaging material must now meet ISPM15 International Standards when shipping to the EU from GB (excludes NI). This involves being heat treated and marked. Although with freight, this primarily applies to wooden pallets, it is needed for all raw wooden material over 6mm thick, so may include additional packaging.

    You will need to ensure any wood packaging is compliant, or you may consider using alternative materials; corrugated, plastics etc.

    More information can be found here

    Need more Information?

    Our dedicated teams across the UK are focused on providing a seamless service together with our customers, so we hope you can use the information above to ensure your shipments are ready to transport.

    If you have any specific queries you can get in touch: