The world of uk export documentation can be challenging and perplexing if you’re new to international trade. Even seasoned exporters occasionally experience complications while filling out the paperwork for their shipments. First-time exporters may find the export documentation somewhat intimidating and complex, but don’t let that stop you from reaching your export objectives.


In this blog, we have highlighted the documentation needed to export goods from the UK. You can prevent expensive fines and delays by ensuring your shipments have the proper customs documentation.

Important UK Export Documentation

An important part of international trade is ensuring you have the correct documentation in place. You might need to export the following common types of international trade documentation:

  1. Customs Declaration

All products entering or departing the UK must have customs declarations, which must be submitted through the CHIEF (soon to be CDS) system.

Before your goods leave the border, you must submit this to the customs authorities and have it approved. Your carrier should be able to handle this using the information from your documentation.

  1. Certificates of Value & Origin

This indicates the location of a product’s manufacture, processing, or production. For customs clearance in your target market, it might be necessary. Your chamber of commerce can issue these.

To comply with their customs entry requirements, various countries demand a Certificate of Value & Origin – understanding which marketplaces require which documentation is crucial.

The specific list of documents you’ll need depends on the goods you’re exporting, the country of destination, and export controls. You may also need to provide additional ones as well.

  1. UK EUR1 Movement Certificate

With some countries, the UK has preferential trade agreements that allow importers to bring in goods at a reduced import duty rate, known as importing under “preference.”

To determine if a UK EUR1 form is necessary or whether an invoice declaration or statement of origin will do under the new UK-EU TCA, you will need to review each trade agreement that the UK has negotiated or rolled over.

  1. Commercial Invoice

Traders selling goods worldwide must present a commercial invoice. Some countries have special rules regarding the invoices and declarations’ design, structure, and substance. Additionally, you should include special words or conditions that your customer requests on the invoice.

Make sure you own a commercial invoice. This comprises a detailed product description and the value of your goods.

The customs authorities can use this information to determine whether the products can enter or leave a country and what controls, if any, are necessary. Additionally, it helps in tax and duty calculation.

  1. Packing List

The only way a shipment can be authorised for entry into a new market is the only way a border crossing or customs officer can determine what should be in each carton being shipped internationally.

  1. Air bill of Lading

An air waybill or consignment note is also required. This section contains important information about your shipments, such as the number of items, a description of the goods, and the weight.

  1. UK Import or Export Licences

Certain regulated goods, like firearms, medications, plants, and animal products, are subject to special UK regulations and may call for a licence.

Foreign suppliers frequently require export licences to get import or export certificates, which serve as end-use assurance. To demonstrate to the authorities how the items will be used, the supplier must present the import certificate.

  1. Local Regulations

If you are exporting, find out if any particular paperwork is needed abroad to satisfy local rules. For instance, you can require written evidence that your products adhere to regional standards.

  1. Dangerous Goods

The proper specific documentation must be included with dangerous goods.

  1. Insurance

Particularly if you are passing on the costs, you would need to ensure the goods, and you would also need to show your consumer proof of insurance. You should go over the necessary paperwork with your consumer and your insurance.

Common mistakes that can happen in uk export documentation

Mistakes in export documents could result in the worst situations for both parties involved in an export-import transaction. The smallest error can destroy huge export-import agreements. The paperwork for a professional trade is legally sound and professional.

  1. Wrong Information on packing and payment

Your goods may be shipped to the incorrect address if you fill out your export documentation with the wrong contact, packaging, or payment information. You might have to pay storage fees for the container while it’s being straightened out, and it might end up sitting at a warehouse.

  1. Wrong Classification of Goods

Getting your product classification right is essential because doing so could have expensive consequences for your business. Use the Harmonised System (HS) codes to categorise your products. You will typically mention the first six numbers of the regulations for papers used worldwide.

  1. Wrong Product Description

A product description that doesn’t match your letter of credit should not be used. The letter of credit’s definition of your goods must check the product descriptions and other areas. Disparities could cause delays in shipments and payments.

  1. Wrong Value

Ensure your product is marketed appropriately to give off the right impression.

Best Practices of uk export documentation

The risk of issues and delays is reduced by thorough, precise documentation. Essential things to keep in mind are:


  • Make sure your business and the buyer have a signed contract that is explicit and includes information on where the goods will be delivered and who will be responsible for them along the way.
  • Make sure you know the specific paperwork required to clear the goods through customs and determine the appropriate duty and tax amounts.
  • You’ll need documentation to support the delivery of the products, as well as travel insurance.
  • Proper documentation can play an important role in the payment process.
  • Take into account the regulations of the country from which the goods are being imported and the country from which they are being exported.

Wrap Up

If you export with the EU, you’ll want to carry on with as little disruption as possible. To accomplish this, you must ensure you are completely organised, have all the necessary paperwork, and can move your goods smoothly across countries without experiencing any delays at the border. 

We are available to assist you if you need help comprehending the changes to trade documentation and procedures and what your company especially needs to have in place.

We can teach you the steps you need to take and how to handle them because our team of professionals is knowledgeable about important subjects like trade and documentation.

About ClearCustoms

We have worked with Customs experts to create a simple platform for UK companies and Customs agents to electronically file Customs declarations with greater accuracy. Our digital-first approach makes declarations convenient and simple.