Get UK customs clearance when exporting goods: step by step

How to make export declarations and get goods through the UK border.

  1. Step 1 Check if you need to follow this process

    Follow these steps to get your goods for export through UK customs if you’re managing the process yourself.

    Getting customs clearance can be complicated. You can hire a transporter or customs agent to make the export declaration and get your goods through UK customs.

    1. Hire someone to deal with customs for you

    Your business and goods must be ready to export before you can get customs clearance.

    1. Find out about exporting goods from the UK
    1. Check if you need to make an export declaration
  2. Step 2 Set up your business for making export declarations

    You need an EORI number that starts with GB to export goods from England, Wales or Scotland.

    If you move goods to or from Northern Ireland you may need one that starts with XI.

    1. Get an EORI number

    Depending on where you're moving goods, you need to be registered on the right systems and have compatible software to make declarations.

    1. Check what systems and software you need to make declarations
  3. and Register to export plant products or controlled goods

  4. Step 3 Check if you can make the customs process quicker

    There are processes that can make clearing customs quicker and easier to manage if you have to make customs declarations regularly.

    1. Find out about using simplified declaration procedures
    2. Check if you can use Common Transit to move your goods more quickly
    3. Find out about getting Authorised Economic Operator status
  5. Step 4 Declare your goods for export

  6. Step 5 Get the goods across the UK border

    The goods must be taken to the port or UK border location named in the export declaration.

    At the border, you or your transporter will need:

    • the ‘master reference number’ from the export declaration
    • the invoice
    • any export licences or certificates needed

    Customs staff might check the goods before allowing them to cross the UK border.

    1. Find out about customs procedures if you're taking goods out of the UK by road
  7. Step 6 Get the goods released if they're held up at the UK border

    The goods may be held up at customs, for example if:

    • you do not have the right licences for the goods or business
    • they did not pass inspection
    • they've been combined with a shipment that has been held up

    If this happens you will be told why.

    1. Contact the National Clearance Hub to get help