Importing and exporting by post

Postal imports and exports requiring full declaration

When trading with non-European Union (EU) countries, you or the sender need to complete a full Customs declaration when:

  • the value of the goods being imported or exported exceeds £873
  • you are claiming relief from Customs duty and VAT eg inward processing relief, outward processing relief or temporary importation

In these circumstances you must complete a Single Administrative Document C88 (SAD). Border Force will send a copy to you which you must complete and return.

Border Force will also send you form C87 'Notice of Arrival of Goods by Post'. This informs you that your goods have arrived in the UK but cannot be delivered until you have completed and returned the SAD form. It contains the customs reference number for the package which you should use if you wish to speak to Border Force about your delivery.

If you are sending or receiving goods within the EU, you don't need to complete a Customs declaration.

Completing the SAD

You can complete a SAD yourself or arrange for an agent to act for you. Read more about declarations and the Single Administrative Document.

Each form contains four pages which you must complete. Once you have completed the SAD, you should make sure that you have completed all the necessary boxes.

You should return the SAD promptly as any delays could result in additional storage charges and the package might even be disposed of.

You should not send any payment with your form unless you have been asked to. Royal Mail will collect charges from you when the package is delivered. If you want to postpone the payment of Customs charges, you will need to quote the appropriate deferment number in Box 48 of the SAD.