Export goods from the UK: step by step
How to move goods from the UK to international destinations, including the EU.
Step 1 Check if you need to follow this process
Follow these steps if you're moving goods permanently from:
- England, Wales or Scotland (Great Britain) to a country outside the UK
- Northern Ireland to a country outside the UK and the EU
What you need to do is different if you are:
- moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland or Northern Ireland and the EU
- sending goods through the post
- taking a small amount of goods personally to sell abroad
- taking goods temporarily out of the UK
Step 2 Check the rules for exporting your goods
and Apply for any licences you need to export your goods
There are special rules and you may need to get licences or certificates if you are exporting any of the following:
- animals and animal products
- plants and plant products
- drugs and medicines
- medical devices
- ozone-depleting substances and F-gases
- radioactive substances
- art works, antiques and culturally significant goods
- goods that could be used for torture or capital punishment
- firearms, ammunition and related equipment
- military goods, services and technology
- items that can have both civil and military uses
Step 3 Get your business ready to export
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.
There are processes that can make clearing customs quicker and easier to manage if you export goods regularly.
and Check whoever's receiving the goods can import them
The business or person receiving the goods to may need:
- to make an import declaration in their country
- licences or certificates to receive goods from the UK
Check whoever you are sending the goods to is able to import them into their country.
Step 4 Decide who will make export declarations and transport the goods
You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for you, or you can do it yourself.
Step 5 Classify your goods
You must find the right commodity code to classify the goods you're exporting.
Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this.
Step 6 Prepare the invoice and other documentation for your goods
The completed invoice and any licences or certificates must travel with the goods.
When filling in the value of your goods on the invoice, use the price you’re selling them for. If you're not selling the goods, use the market value of the goods. List any freight or export insurance you included in the price separately.
You may need proof of origin if exporting to a country where your goods have a reduced or zero rate of duty.
You might be able to zero rate the goods for VAT. This means you can charge your customers VAT at 0%.
Step 7 Get your goods through customs
If you've appointed someone to deal with UK customs for you, they'll make the declaration and get your goods through the UK border.
You may need other documentation to get your goods into the destination country. Ask the person or business buying your goods what information you need to provide.
Step 8 Keep invoices and records
You must keep commercial invoices and any customs paperwork.
If you're VAT registered, record the goods in your VAT accounts even if they are zero-rated.
If you exported controlled goods, for example firearms, keep the paperwork that shows who owns the goods.