Exporting goods outside the EU

Key export control documents

Export declarations are submitted electronically to CHIEF.

A paper Single Administrative Document (SAD) known as a C88/ESS may be used exceptionally for some exports from the UK. This should be submitted to Customs (National Clearance Hub) for manual input into CHIEF. These declarations will take longer to process and clear than those submitted electronically to CHIEF.

Merchandise in Baggage (MIB)

MIB is a declaration that passengers use to export commercial goods and samples they're carrying with them outside the European Union (EU). An electronic export declaration or, exceptionally a paper C88/ESS must be completed. A copy of this or the Export Accompanying Document (EAD), and have the EAD stamped by customs as evidence of export, so that you can zero-rate the goods for VAT. This may add to delays, so leave sufficient time at the port or airport to complete these processes. Read more about MIB.

ATA carnet

You can temporarily export some goods for use outside the EU using an ATA carnet. ATA carnets are issued in the UK by chambers of commerce and industry.


In some countries, your goods may qualify for reduced import duty. You must provide documentary evidence of the product's origin to claim relief. If you claim preference for EU originating goods, you need to complete form EUR1. However, if the value of the goods is below a specified amount, you can make the preference declaration on the commercial invoice. Read notice 827 for more detail on European Community preferences.

Non-Preferential Certificate of Origin

Some countries require a certificate of origin showing that the goods come from the UK. This establishes that the goods have been wholly produced in the UK, or made in accordance with specific rules. Your chamber of commerce can issue this for a fee. Read more aboutĀ rules of origin.

Arab-British Certificate of Origin

Many Arabic states require exporters to supply an Arab-British Certificate of Origin with each goods shipment. This must be authorised by the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, who work with chambers of commerce countrywide. You must allow enough time for this procedure.

Health certificates for live animals, animal products and genetic materials

Exports of these goods are subject to health conditions agreed between the UK and the destination third country. Generally, the destination country sets the conditions for imports. While the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) is responsible for issuing export health certificates, exporters must check with their customers that a particular certificate is acceptable to the authorities in the country of destination.

To find out if a particular animal or product can be exported to a particular destination country, exporters should contact their local Divisional Veterinary Office (DVO).

Not all destination countries have agreed certification in place. Read more about animal export certification.

Health certificates for plants

Most third countries require plant exports to be accompanied by a phystosanitary or plant health certificate issued by the DAERA's Plant Health Division. Read guidance on export certification for plants and plant products.

Standards certification for medical devices

Medical devices should be accompanied by a Certificate of Free Sale from the Department of Health, confirming that the products meet UK and EU standards. Read more about Certificates of Free Sale for CE-marked medical devices.

Licences for military, dual-use and technology products

Exports of military, dual-use and some technology goods are strictly controlled. You may need to apply for a licence, possibly even to other EU countries.

You can check if military or dual-use goods need a licence using the Goods Checker tool.

UK Trade & Investment offers a range of market intelligence and export support services.

Your trade association may also be able to help.

If you are trading in a third country outside the EU and there are unrealistic or illegal trade barriers which make trading difficult in your customer's country, you can appeal to the EU's Complaint Register service. This is a single entry point where you can request clarification on third-country tariffs, import formalities, documentation and other measures. You can also make complaints if you think trade barriers are imposed unfairly.

Find out more about the Complaint Register.