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The ultimate guide to CN22 and CN23 Customs Declarations for Brexit and international shipping

Jonas Raaschou

Jonas Raaschou

Content Manager

Customs declarations are essential to know about when shipping parcels internationally. The customs declaration form is CN22 or CN23 and is typically given by the carrier, courier, postal service, or international shipper. This guide will help you understand how to fill out these forms for Brexit and international shipping purposes.

Table of Contents

Customs declarations are essential to know about when shipping parcels internationally. The customs declaration form is CN22 or CN23 and is typically given by the carrier, courier, postal service, or international shipper. This guide will help you understand how to fill out these forms for Brexit and international shipping purposes.

Will Brexit kick-start the need for customs documentation in Europe?

When Brexit finally comes into effect on the 1st of January 2021, you will need to fill out customs documents when shipping to the UK, just as it has been necessary for non-EU-countries in the past.

What are the CN22 and CN23 customs declarations?

The CN22 and CN23 customs decorations are therefore required for international shipping outside the EU. Still, international shipping, including Norway, Great Britain, and Switzerland, requires the CN22 and CN23 customs forms. As a result, the forms contain information about the goods you are shipping. The consignor is required to fill out the content of the shipment and shipper, consignee, tariff codes (HS-codes), date signature, and in some cases, country of origin. Therefore the documents ensure that the customs authorities can keep track of which goods are entering their countries. The papers are essential when shipping internationally because they enable the authorities to collect the correct tax amount.  Modern sorting facilities are often able to scan and read the CN22 or CN23 customs declarations automatically; if they do not comply or accurately describe the parcel’s content, you could be fined, or the package is rejected and returned at your own cost.

When should you use a customs form?

You are required to fill out the customs declaration when shipping internationally to a country outside the EU. When importing from one EU country to another, no customs documentation is necessary. Please check with your local customs authorities for further information about when to use the customs documentation. It would help if you also noticed that exceptions might occur in some regions. For example, there are countries within the EU that are not part of the EU customs zone. Shipments to these regions may be subject to customs control, so you must always include the appropriate customs declaration. Generally speaking, most commercial items are subject to customs control when shipping internationally. But like always, there are exceptions to this rule, so make sure to check the local customs authorities – to avoid any grim surprises.

The difference between the CN22 and CN23 form

You might have stumbled upon the CN22 and CN23 custom declaration forms. But what is the difference? The weight and value of the content dictate which form you are required to attach to the shipments. Packages up to two kilograms (the metric system) with a value up to €425* require a CN22 customs form. The CN23 form is required for shipments weighing from two to 20 kilograms or with a value of €425 or more. When shipping internationally, you must remember to include a commercial invoice in addition to the CN22/CN23 form. This will often ease the handling process for the carrier and customs, so ensure both.

How to correctly fill out the CN22 Customs declaration

The CN22 form is required when you are shipping parcels that weigh less than two kilograms and have a combined value of less than 425 EUR. To avoid delays, being fined, or the shipment being returned, always remember to fill out and correctly include the customs declarations.

Cn22 customs document

  1. Specify the content of the shipment. Most commercial companies will often use “Sale of goods.” Commercial Sample is used if you ship samples of your products. It could, for example, be a color sample for a new kitchen table. You can only choose one per parcel.
  2. Specify the content of the parcel. If the package contains “sale of goods,” “Commercial samples,” or “Return items,” you must include a detailed description of the content. Use English or the language of destination. A clear description eases the process in customs, and the parcel will typically arrive faster due to smooth handling in customs. Remember to specify content, quantity, weight, and value.
    1. Type of products
    2. Quantity
    3. Weights
    4. Value, in euros (including VAT)
  3. Add the international tariff-code (commodity code) and the product country of origin (the country in which the item was produced or assembled). Use the Harmonised System (HS code) for the goods.
  4. Type date and signature. The CN22 form is not valid until it has been signed.

What is HS-code? And how do I find it?

The HS-code is a multi-digit code used internationally to categorize traded goods enabling customs authorities to calculate import duties. International agreements dictate taxation on different goods.

The HS-codes always consists of a ten-digit code. Of which, the first six are internationally harmonized. Make sure to always include the first six digits, and if possible, all ten numbers. The code can be split into three groups of two. The first two digits categorize the products, the second two define the classification, and the final set specifies the product in detail.

Example:

The first two digits may say that your product is clothing, the second two indicate it is a shirt, and the final two tell us it is a cotton shirt. There are some exceptions to this method, some countries require all ten-digits HS-Code, but generally, all you need to apply is the first six digits. If in doubt, please refer to the local authorities.

I have assembled a list of links to the Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, and European Union websites with a list of HS-codes.

Apply date and signature on the form. It is worth mentioning and essential to notice upon signing the document, you declare that the document has been filled out correctly and that the shipment does not contain any banned or dangerous items. If the form is not signed, the shipment may be returned at your own expense! However, some items are banned from shipping internationally. However, your carrier might ship certain goods despite being banned. Ask your carrier for additional information.

The list includes but is not limited to

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animal skins (non-domesticated)
  • Articles of exceptional value (e.g. works of art, antiques, precious stones, gold and silver)
  • Dangerous goods/hazardous materials
  • Firearms
  • Furs
  • Ivory and ivory products
  • Live animals
  • Money and negotiable items
  • Perishable goods
  • Personal effects (except to the U.S.)
  • Plants
  • Pornographic materials
  • Seeds
  • Stamps of unusual value
  • Tobacco and tobacco products
  • Unaccompanied baggage

Like everything else, there are exceptions, so check the website of your national carrier. They always list goods and materials that are banned from international shipping. Your carrier can also provide a list of items that are prohibited in specific countries.

TIP

Always fill out the form in English and use Block Capitals. That prevents delays and ensures that the correct import duties are utilized. 

How to correctly fill out the CN23 Customs declaration

The CN23 customs declaration form is similar to the CN22 version but contains more details and is used for shipments weighing more than two kilograms or with a total value of more than 425 EUR.

CN23 Customs document

  1. Provide address information for both the consignor and the consignee. Make sure to provide all the address details necessary for the carrier to deliver the parcel. Remember also to include the customer’s telephone number and email.
  2. Specify the content of the shipment/parcel. Choose between “Gifts,” “Documents,” “Commercial Sample,” “Returned goods,” or “Other.”
  3. State the product’s commodity code (HS-Code) and country of origin. The country of origin can be tricky but is generally the country where the item was produced or assembled. The HS-system is described under the CN22 customs form above.
  4. “Comments:” If the product, for instance, is subject to quarantine, sanitary, or phytosanitary inspection, then remember to state it in the comments. This typically applies to goods such as food, medicine, or living organisms or animals.
  5. The last thing to do is to specify the date and sign the documents. The document is not legally valid without a date and signature.
Tip

The HS-system is a harmonized system consisting of a multi-digit system that enables custom authorities to categorize products. It contains ten digits. The first six digits are internationally standard, so make sure to always include the first six digits. For further information, please refer to the more comprehensive description above.

Use our Customs declaration generator

To sum up, the CN22 and CN23 customs declarations forms can be quite tedious and challenging to carry out every day. That’s why we have built a free tool, which you can use to create customs declarations in a few seconds. Try the Custom Declaration generator and print CN22 and CN23 forms with a few clicks.

List the content of your shipment

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Need help with automated paperless customs for your business?

If you wish to avoid printing the CN22 or CN23 customs declaration form, then please contact us. We are ready to help your business with paperless customs, a super powerful tool that entirely automates customs documentation. We are more than happy to give even more insights into Paperless Customs and how you can save time and resources with an automated shipping flow.

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