Exporting to Outside the EU

Find out more about exporting outside of the EU below.


Click the links below to find out more about exporting from each country.

Exporting any goods to businesses, customers and others in countries outside of the EU is a less straightforward task than sending parcels to those living in EU nations. Having the appropriate licences, paying the correct tax and VAT and making export declarations where necessary is vital.


Exporting to countries outside of the EU is often referred to as sending exports to ‘third countries’. Depending on the country you are sending goods to, the regulations and requirements will differ. At TNT our range of delivery services are made up of an extensive network covering over 175 countries, so getting your packages to their destination safely and on time is no trouble at all.


VAT is not charged on goods exported outside of the EU. It is a tax on goods used within the EU. If the goods only leave the EU temporarily or they are returned, then there is no need to pay VAT when they come back to the UK. However, some third countries may charge their own equivalent to VAT or purchase tax. There is no VAT charge for services exported outside the EU.


Zero-rating Goods

Most goods exported out of the EU can be zero-rated, depending on whether you’re exporting the goods directly or indirectly, when you organise delivery and the customer collects. It is important to keep evidence of the export in order to zero-rate goods.


Ensure all goods leave the EU within the set time of three months and have evidence a transaction took place. Hold onto the Goods Departure Message for those leaving directly and an Export Accompanying Document (EAD) for those leaving indirectly via another EU nation, which must be stamped.

Commodity Codes

A commodity code is required for all exports outside the EU. This classifies goods for duty, tax rates and regulations. Use the online Trade Tariff to find the correct commodity code which will provide more information on duty, VAT and other elements. If you use none or the wrong code, HMRC can fine you and seize the goods, delaying their release from customs and therefore affecting your reputation with customers.



The amount of duty you or the receiving party have to pay on goods sent to countries outside the EU will depend on their own regulations. Usually it is based on the type, value and origins of the goods being exported. The Trade Tariff has information regarding duty charges.

Duty Reliefs

It is possible to claim back money or delay payment for customs duties and VAT for certain exports outside the EU. There are various types of duty relief available if your exported goods meet certain criteria.


Inward Processing (IP) means goods imported from and then re-exported to non-EU nations can suspend payment of import duties or claim them back. You must be authorised by HMRC and use form C99 to claim IP. Community system of duty reliefs (CSDR) allows duty to be suspended or claimed back on goods that promote culture and science, such as charity items and museum exhibits.

Export Licences

Exporting particular goods to non-EU countries requires a licence where there are restrictions placed upon them. Military items along with food, agricultural products and plants often need an export licence from the appropriate government department. Check with the country you wish to import goods to in order to find out whether you need an export licence as it will depend on their import controls.



It is vital you declare all goods exported to a third country by submitting an electronic export declaration. You must first register for an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number and also with the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system. Accurately fill in an export declaration and submit through the CHIEF system online to ensure all your goods being shipped out are adequately declared.


Alternatively make the most of TNT’s international delivery services and allow us to deal with all the legalities.