Requirement to provide electronic customs data - what you need to know

Royal Mail requires you to provide customs data electronically when sending items (excluding items of correspondence) to destinations that are not in the same customs union as the UK*. This requirement came into force on 1 January 2019 and is reflected in our PDF icon International Business Mail Services user guide and PDF icon International Business Parcels user guide.

*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.

If you haven't been able to make these changes, you won't be prevented from posting with us, but please note the risk of items being negatively affected when they arrive in the destination country.

Please contact your Royal Mail Account Manager if you need further support with providing electronic customs data. Or, if you don't have a dedicated Account Manager, please send a message to We can then work through the options to get you on board with these changes. If your query relates to shipping platform specifications, please contact


Why are we asking you to provide electronic customs data?

Electronic customs data is required to make sure existing, emerging and future legislative, security and customs requirements in overseas destinations are met. Some countries are applying penalties, delaying or returning items in the absence of the required electronic data and physical S10 barcode and we want to help you avoid this. More information on international customs data requirements, such as legislation passed by the United States Government to mandate electronic customs data, as well as details about requirements in other destinations, can be found here. 

However, there are also real commercial benefits to providing complete and accurate electronic customs data. We've seen that customers are receiving fewer complaints and less delays in customs, resulting in faster and more successful deliveries. 

Providing electronic data will also be important if the UK leaves the EU customs union in the event of 'No Deal', when items destined for the EU will be treated the same as items bound for non-EU destinations are currently. We'll be communicating soon on our Brexit preparations to make sure our networks keep flowing freely post Brexit.

Electronic customs data - what has changed and what stays the same?

The requirement to provide customs data by attaching a physical PDF icon Customs declaration form CN22 or PDF icon Customs declaration form CN23 to items (excluding items of general correspondence) you're sending to destinations that are not in the same customs union as the UK* is nothing new.

For detailed instructions on how to fill in PDF icon Customs declaration form CN22 and PDF icon Customs declaration form CN23 please see: Help with customs and sending goods abroad.

*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.

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) requests that these customs forms are completed accurately and in full, to facilitate a rapid clearance. Since 1 January 2018 it's also been a requirement to add an item identifier (known as a S10 barcode) on every item. 

The new requirement this year is that you now need to provide the customs data to us electronically.

Electronic Customs Data Pricing Incentive

To recognise the additional work providing this electronic data may require, we have introduced a 1% discount on your international supplement (currently 3%) – as long as you provide accurate and complete customs data and apply an 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 more about the Electronic Customs Data Pricing Incentive, including the How to Guide and Terms and Conditions.

Managed HS Classification Services

Royal Mail International’s Managed HS Classification Service provides a solution for retailers looking to obtain Harmonised System codes (otherwise known as HS or Tariff Codes). We can append codes to items in your product catalogue. 

Find out more about Managed HS Classification Services, including the User Guide, Terms and Conditions and Rate Card.

Information for International Franking users

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has mandated that any international items containing goods must have an item unique identifier (known as a S10 barcode) attached. Items that do not have an S10 barcode attached may be delayed or even returned to the sender. We want to ensure that this doesn’t happen to franked items and that franked items meet international mail standards for goods being sent abroad.

To make this easy for franking customers, S10 barcode labels will be provided to franking customers. Simply stick one label onto each item you are sending abroad containing goods, along with a physical CN22 or CN23 customs form (for destinations that aren't in the same customs union as the UK*). To order more labels visit In future the barcodes will need to contain electronic customs data and we will be in touch when a process has been finalised.

*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.

For more information on electronic customs data please see our:

More information, including details of our consultation regarding the provision of electronic customs data that we initiated in 2017.

What electronic customs data you need to provide and how you can provide it

Here is a reminder of the information you were already requested to provide prior to 1 January 2019:

  • A fully completed PDF icon Customs declaration form CN22 or PDF icon Customs declaration form CN23 for items sent outside of the EU*, including:
    • Sender details (name, address, and if available, telephone number)
    • Recipient details (name, address including destination country, and if available, telephone number and email)
    • Item details in the form of an accurate and concise description of individual goods, quantity and measurements used, weight and value. It is absolutely critical that each item is shown as a separate line entry
    • Harmonised System (HS) Trade Tariff code. Find out more about Royal Mail's Managed HS Classification Services here, contact your Account Manager or email us at for further information.
    • Country of origin of contents, which refers to where the goods were produced or assembled
    • Provide the amount of postage paid and separately specify other charges such as insurance costs
  • A Universal Postal Union (UPU) compliant S10 barcode so the electronic customs data can be linked to the exported goods

  • For tracked export goods, in addition a 2D barcode 

*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.

What’s new since 1 January 2019

  • The data you were already requested to provide will now also need to be provided electronically in the pre-advice you send to us.

How you can provide electronic customs data

The easiest way to provide electronic customs data and apply the Royal Mail 13-digit item identifier (S10 barcode) is by using one of Royal Mail’s shipping platforms such as Click & Drop and Pro Shipping or by integrating your system with Royal Mail’s API Shipping. 

These platforms generate customs data files which automatically create the required labels to send items abroad, including barcode, CN22 or CN23 and a dispatch note. Watch our video for a guide on how to complete all the required customs information using Click & Drop.

More information on these and other shipping solutions that can be used to provide electronic customs data.

We'll be updating this page with further information so please keep checking back.