New requirements when sending international items

Electronic customs data now required when posting to destinations in a different customs union

New requirements when sending international items

Electronic customs data now required when posting to destinations in a different customs union

When you send items (of a commercial value) to destinations that are not in the same customs union as the UK*, you are required to provide customs data to us electronically. This has been effective since 1 January 2019. Failure to comply is likely to result in delays, destruction or having items returned.

How to make it easy

Depending on how you are posting your items internationally, this will dictate on how you provide electronic customs data

One of the ways to provide the required data is to use a shipping platform which meets the compliance requirements.

Royal Mail has shipping platforms such as *Click & Drop and *Pro Shipping or you can integrate you system with API Shipping. These platforms capture and generate customs data files plus automatically create the required labels to send items abroad.

*Other competitor shipping systems also available

If you are sending via Post Office: fully complete the relevant customs form (CN22/23) clearly and legibly and attach it to your item. Post Office will advise you of the correct form. Untracked items (Intl Standard / Intl Economy) should use the customs form that carries a barcode. Tracked & Signature items can use unbarcoded CN22/23. Royal Mail will take care of customs pre-advice. 

Franking customers must include a self-adhesive S10 barcode on all untracked items (Intl Standard & Intl Economy) containing goods plus a clearly completed CN22/CN23. Barcodes are available from  For tracked items an additional barcode is not required but clear and legible customs declarations need to be completed.  Royal mail will take care of pre-advice. See more on our International Services on account and franking page


Discover solutions that can be used to provide electronic customs data

Register for Click & Drop

International posting help

International Data Informationpdf, 451.89 KB – an overview of electronic customs data

International Data FAQspdf, 226.9 KB - answers to common questions

Click and Drop mandatory fieldspdf, 204.83 KB

Pro Shipping mandatory fieldspdf, 204.19 KB

Details of our consultation regarding the provision of electronic customs data that we initiated in 2017

HS code look-up

Why should you provide this data?

  • Customers currently providing electronic customs data have been experiencing fewer delays in customs
  • Your items could be returned or destroyed
  • As a result, you may receive fewer complaints from recipients
  • We’ve introduced a discount for business parcel contracts

Making sure you’ve provided the correct information

You need to provide:

  1. Either a CN22 or CN23 form printed and attached to the item, completed fully and correctly.

The type of form you need to fill out depends on the value of the items you are sending. Please make sure you use the correct one:

  1. UPU compliant S10 barcode (unique Royal Mail 13-digit item identifier) attached to the item.
  2. Tracked export goods will also need a 2D Tracked barcode.

In addition, the information on the CN22 or CN23 form will now need to be provided electronically in the pre-advice you send us.

Filling out your CN22 (pdf, 394.05 KB)

Filling out your CN23 (pdf, 227.98 KB)


Business Help Centre

Franked items (excluding correspondence) that do not have a S10 barcode attached may be delayed, or even returned to the sender. We want to ensure that this does not happen to you and that franked items meet international mail standards for goods being sent abroad. We will provide you with the barcodes, and you can order more labels from our shop.

Electronic customs data is required to make sure existing, emerging and future legislative, security and customs requirements overseas are met. The Universal Postal Union (UPU) requests that the customs forms are completed accurately and in full, to enable rapid clearance. Since 1 January 2018, it has been a requirement to add a S10 barcode on every item;  you now also need to provide the CN22 or CN23 form to us electronically.

Some countries are now applying penalties and delaying or returning items that are sent without the required electronic data and physical S10 barcode attached.

More information on specific country regulations

Get a discount for providing the correct information 

To recognise the additional work providing this electronic data may require, we offer a 2% discount on your international surcharge – as long as you provide accurate and complete customs data and apply a S10 Barcode on your items. This discount will apply for all business contract products that do not have a letter format product code.

Find out about the discount

Managed HS Classification Services

Our Managed HS Classification Service is a tool to help you fill out the Harmonised System codes (known as HS or Tariff Codes) on your CN22 and CN23 forms and helps you to remain compliant with export prohibitions and restrictions. We can assign codes to items in your product catalogue to make things easier for you.

Find out more about Managed HS Classification Services

*If the UK leaves the EU with ‘no deal’, items destined for the EU will be treated the same as items bound for non-EU destinations. Find out more about our Brexit preparations.

*To see the list of non-eligible product codes, please read the Electronic Customs Data Pricing Incentive How to Guidepdf, 647.47 KB. This also provides more information on the International Data Pricing Incentive, including benefits, details on the data you need to provide, how to provide data, eligibility criteria, the application and discount process, and further reading.

For further support

Please contact your Royal Mail Account Manager

If you don't have an Account Manager

contact us

For shipping platform specifications

email us