Shipping to the European Union: Everything you need to know

3 minute read

Customs declarations are an important part of international shipping. Starting October 1, 2023, customs authorities for the European Union (EU) will be using Electronic Advanced Data (EAD) to make pre-departure approvals. This will determine what shipments are admissible before they are loaded onto aircrafts going to the EU.

Collecting data about goods entering the EU, prior to departure and arrival, allows foreign customs authorities to run risk assessments based on pre-declared data. This facilitates free flow trade across the EU’s external borders, simplifying the movement of goods between customs offices at the first point of entry and the destination.

The current customs process will remain the same. The changes require more detailed information to be included on your customs declaration form.

The countries this affects

The European Union Commission consists of 27 member states and includes Norway and Switzerland. The affected countries are:

Austria (AT)Germany (DE)Poland (PL)
Belgium (BE)Greece (GR)Portugal (PT)
Bulgaria (BG)Hungary (HU)Romania (RO)
Croatia (HR)Ireland (IE)Slovakia (SK)
Cyprus, Republic of (CY)Italy (IT)Slovenia (SI)
Czechia (also known as Czech Republic) (CZ)Latvia (LV)Spain (ES)
Denmark (DK)Lithuania (LT)Sweden (SE)
Estonia (EE)Luxembourg (LU)Norway (NO)
Finland (FI)Malta (MT)Switzerland (CH)
France (FR)Netherlands (NL)

How this affects customs declaration forms

When filling out customs declarations, you will need to share detailed and accurate information about your package to facilitate entry.

What’s included on customs declaration forms

The following information must be accurately provided on your customs declaration form:

Sender and recipient information:

  • Name: Complete first and last name and/or business name
  • Sender address: Street name and number, city, province, postal code
  • Recipient address: Street name and number, city, state (U.S) or province (international), zip code (U.S.) or postcode (international), country code
  • Contact information: Phone or email

False information such as N/A, null or 0000000000 will result in your package being rejected. All information requested is required to secure the approval of your package into the external border and ensure delivery can be completed.

Package declaration (reason for shipping):

  • Sale of good
    • Requires HS Tariff Code, mandatory for selling goods to customers in EU countries. This is required for each individual line item.
  • Commercial sample


    •  You must indicate the quantity of each specific item in the shipment.

Detailed description of goods

  • Provide a detailed description of each good/item, in the package. The description should be 25 characters or less and potentially include brand, material, size and colour. For example:
    • Acceptable: Size 11 black dress shoes
    • Unacceptable: Shoes
  • Description section should include:
    • Item value (CAD) for each line item in the shipment with the minimum value being $1.00 along with a total declared value for the entire shipment
    • Net weight (kg) for each individual item per line, in kilograms, not including any packaging
    • Gross weight (kg) total gross weight of the package and the unit of calculation

Where to fill out customs declarations

Save time when shipping internationally by completing your customs form online. A barcode will be generated that you can bring to any post office location. Alternatively, you can also streamline this process and complete your customs form with Canada Post Snap Ship™.  With Snap Ship, you can print labels and schedule pickups from the Small Business dashboard.

If you’re expanding your business’ reach internationally and are interested in learning best practices for shipping internationally, we’ve created blogs that can guide you on your journey.

Expanding your business’ reach internationally? Discover best practices to guide your journey.

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