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When sending domestically within the same country, or between countries that are members of the European Union, your shipment will not require customs clearance.
If you are sending internationally between countries that are not both member states of the European Union you will be required to complete a packing list detailing the contents and estimated used value of your goods for customs purposes.
Further information may also be required depending on the countries you are shipping from or to, and you may need to complete a ‘Personal Effects’ form or to provide additional information such as a copy of the consignee’s passport or flight ticket. More information on the specific documentation required for your chosen route can be found on the relevant country’s destination page on our website.
Most countries, including the UK and USA offer a tax and duty free allowance for returning residents, travellers and settlers who send unaccompanied baggage containing personal clothing and personal effects (sports equipment etc.) which are for their sole use and which have been owned by them for a minimum of 6 months. Not all countries offer this allowance such as Russia and Norway among others.
Over 99% of Send My Bag non-EU shipments will pass through customs without being stopped and as such our service and estimated transit times assume your item will be categorized for free passage and not delayed by customs. This means our prices do not include any taxes, local charges, inspection fees or any other charges.
It is the sender's responsibility to ensure that you are aware of how your own personal circumstances, what you are sending and the prevailing customs regulations of the destination country will affect the categorisation of your shipment and consequently whether you will be liable to pay customs duties, taxes or local charges, or incur delays due to additional processing or inspection by customs.
For example if you send 10 boxes to a business address in Australia the Australian customs authority may require additional clarification on the nature of the shipment than if you sent a suitcase to a residential address.
If you send to a personal shipment to a hotel or business, please use c/o in the company line to help the customs authority see it is a personal shipment travelling to a hotel or business and that it is not a commercial shipment.
To avoid delays, customs documentation should also be attached securely to your bag so that it is clearly visible to the customs authority, and it must also be packed in a separate holder to the tracking labels.
If your shipment enters a customs clearance event, please be aware that processing times vary greatly from country to country and it can take several days for information to be received and processed by the customs authority. Once the extra information is provided or duty paid, it can also take several days from the point customs officially clear the item, for it to be processed, re-enter the delivery network and be delivered. It is for this reason, that it is very important when sending holiday baggage that you always check in advance with the destination country if your items will require additional clearance and ensure the packing list and other documents are clearly visible.
Send My Bag offers the best prices around and while 99% of customers complying with our advice will receive no delay or customs charges, just as an airline cannot check your visa, we cannot check you have fully complied with the destination customs regulations. We therefore recommend every customer sending on a route with customs clearance, takes 5 minutes to check the regulations for their destination directly with the destination country's official travel advice line or customs office.
If your item is stopped by a customs authority and it is assessed as not complying with duty free entry, it will be the responsibility of the recipient to complete any clearance procedure, and pay any duties, taxes or charges. In some rare cases you may be required to present a passport at a local office, or if a customs authority has removed the item from Send My Bag's care you may also be required to pay the authority an additional delivery fee or to collect the item.
Delays are Possible
Brexit related delays continue to affect GB < > EU routes, time critical shipments (e.g. baggage for a holiday) should not be sent GB < > EU and all shipments should be given additional time to clear customs.
Due to provisions under the Northern Ireland Protocol, customers in Northern Ireland are not affected by Brexit, our NI < > EU services are running as normal.
Customs Requirements - Personal Effects
All shipments travelling UK (*excluding NI) < > EU are now subject to formal customs clearance.
When sending your own personal belongings e.g. when relocating, studying abroad or traveling for a holiday, you will be required to comply with destination customs regulations.
This will typically include completing a packing list and providing additional information demonstrating the nature of the shipment. The additional information varies by destination and more details can be found on our destination pages.
As customs clearance is processed by the destination customs authority and is based on what you are sending and your own personal circumstances, Send My Bag provides personal effects customs clearance information from our experience but we cannot make any guarantees regarding destination customs clearance requirements or fees.
If your UK < > EU shipment is not granted tax free entry, VAT and other associated import and clearance fees may be applied by the destination customs authority, which will be collected by our courier partner in the destination.
Please be aware our courier partner may contact the receiver on behalf of the destination customs authority. This communication may also take place in the local language of the destination. When possible you should interact with these communications directly providing them with any information they have requested, but should you require assistance please do forward the communications to us.
Gift and Care Packages
The value limit for shipping gifts duty free GB < > EU is £39 / €45. If you are sending items of higher value; duties, taxes and a customs handling fee will now be charged before delivery in the destination. The final decision on any customs duties are that of the destination customs authority.
For further information on sending gifts to a particular destination please visit the relevant destination pages. Please also ensure you do not send any items which are now restricted which are now restricted.
If your shipment complies with the rules of origin, the destination customs authority will reduce import duty to 0%. Your customer in the destination will still however need to pay import VAT and handling fees. Commercial shippers should also comply with any relevant shipping guidelines and restrictions in place for their industry.
Disputing Customs Fees
Customs fees and associated charges are raised by the destination customs authority based on international agreements and are applied based on what you have sent, your own personal circumstances and your ability to provide the customs authority with any corroborating information they may require. The fees will be collected on behalf of the destination customs authority by the delivering courier partner. If you believe a fee has been raised incorrectly, please do feel free to contact us, however if the destination customs authority confirms the fee was applied correctly based on what you have sent and your own personal circumstances, Send My Bag will be unable to influence their final decision. Due to backlogs at customs authorities within the UK and EU, it may take Send My Bag several weeks to receive an answer from a customs authority and due to data protection in some cases we may need to advise you how to dispute the charge rather than being able to dispute it on your behalf.Please see our destinations pages for further information. Please visit our customs information page for a general overview of customs processes.
As the UK is no longer part of the EU single market, some cosmetic and food items such as chocolate which could previously be shipped are now restricted and can no longer be sent on our services UK< > EU. Please find more information in our separate article here.
As the UK has left the EU, shipments travelling between the UK (*excluding NI) and Europe are now subject to customs clearance procedures.
In the first instance our partners are accounting for the additional cost by charging Send My Bag c. 28p / kg (subject to a minimum of £4.50). We have taken the decision to pass this charge on at cost - Send My Bag does not profit from this surcharge.
We hope that once the initial disruption has settled that our partners will be able to reduce this charge.
Temporary Fuel Surcharge
As a transport business one of our largest costs is the fuel we pay our logistics partners. As you will be aware, during 2022 fuel prices increased dramatically. Initially we absorbed rising fuel costs but from March 2022 we had to pass a portion of the cost on. We introduced a temporary floating surcharge, currently 10% (min charge applies).
We added this as a surcharge rather than increasing our base prices as this allows us to increase and decrease the surcharge on a monthly basis. Having already reduced the surcharge from a high of 15% and getting it as low as 4% during summer 2023, our hope is that in the months ahead we will be able to remove it entirely, we appreciate your support and patience while this temporary charge remains in place.
Northern Ireland < > EU shipments are NOT subject to the Brexit surcharge or the same customs processes as GB < > EU shipments, for the purposes of shipping goods Northern Ireland has effectively remained within the EU. Shipments to / from NI may however still be affected from time to time by minor Brexit related delays at UK ports.
UK Domestic Service: Great Britain < > Northern Ireland
This service is running as normal.
At this time there has been no changes to this service for private customers. Our prohibited item list linked to during the order process and emailed to you once your booking has been completed should however be adhered to as standard.
Commercial shippers should abide by the relevant guidance for their industry and attach the appropriate documentation.
Sending for Christmas? Check out our holiday season shipping information and gift section above.
Most countries offer a generous allowance for used personal effects and therefore no duty or tax will be due in the majority of cases.
In some instances, certain destinations may not offer duty or tax free clearance in all circumstances, or additional fees for customs processing may be required, and we recommend visiting our destinations pages for further information.
Just as an airline cannot check your visa, we cannot check you have fully complied with the destination customs regulations. We therefore recommend every customer sending on a route with customs clearance, takes 5 minutes to check the regulations for their destination directly with the destination country's official travel advice line or customs office.
The declared value is used by customs authorities to assess whether the goods shipped conform to their regulations for duty free clearance as used personal effects, and that the value declared does not suggest the items are new and being imported for resale, or any other reason than for personal use.
Only used personal goods will be considered for duty free clearance, not new items, therefore your declared value should reflect the estimated used resale value of the contents of your bag, not a replacement value or price of the items when new. For example a toothbrush would have a resale value of a few pence or cents, and a used shirt may be valued at a few pounds or dollars. Typically a suitcase of used clothing will have a used resale value of under £100 / $150.
Most countries including the UK and USA offer a generous tax and duty free allowance for returning residents, holiday makers and settlers who send unaccompanied baggage containing used personal clothing and personal effects. The exact limits for each country vary greatly and are subject to change, therefore Send My Bag cannot guarantee all shipments under a specific value will clear duty free, however we may limit the maximum declared value you can enter, or display a warning advising you not to exceed a certain value on specific routes in order to avoid or reduce the possibility of incurring duty and taxes. We do advise checking with the relevant customs authority to confirm their exact value limits if you are unsure.
If your shipment is assessed as not complying with the regulations for duty free entry, it will be the responsibility of the recipient to complete any clearance procedures, and pay any duties, taxes or charges. If you send new or commercial items import duties and taxes may be due as standard.
More information on international customs is also available under our FAQ: Do International Customs Affect Me?
The time taken for customs clearance varies from country to country and the average time from our historical records for customs to release a shipment after it is stopped, can be found in our destinations pages.
If your shipment has been on hold longer than our recorded average, there may be several reasons for this including missing or incomplete paperwork, customs needing to contact the receiver to confirm further details, the general volume of shipments being processed through customs causing a delay, customs needing to physically inspect the shipment, or the shipment being on hold pending payment of any duty, taxes, or customs storage or handling fees.
Send My Bag monitors all shipments going through customs clearance and will keep you updated, however if you have concerns about the amount of time your shipment has been in clearance, or you have been contacted directly by customs or our courier partner for additional information, please contact the Send My Bag team who will assist you further.
We welcome the majority of non- standard personal effects shipments, however, please note that these shipments will need to be classified as either gifts, or commercial shipments. In the event the shipment is classified as non-standard personal effects, it is likely duties or taxes may be applied by the destination country’s customs authority. We recommend you check with the destination country’s customs authority prior to placing your order to ensure you understand what charges, if any, may be applied.
Customs authorities will typically not accept letters of explanation in place of missing documents and if you are unable to provide the documentation required for duty free clearance on your chosen route, your shipment can still be sent but will be cleared as commercial goods. Duties and taxes may be applied to the shipment by the customs authority in the destination country and it will be the responsibility of the receiver to settle any charges with our courier partner.
If you have been contacted by our courier partner directly, it is likely they require you to expand or clarify information that has already been supplied, or your specific circumstances require additional information that is not normally required for the majority of shipments we typically send. If customs have requested further information, this can either be supplied to the agent who contacted you, or it can be supplied to Send My Bag directly to pass on to the agent on your behalf.
We recommend you respond and supply any requested information or documentation at the earliest opportunity to avoid any unnecessary delays or possible storage charges.
If you have received a bill from our courier partner for customs charges, please first check our destinations page for the country you are shipping to, as some charges for customs handling are applied on certain routes, and other countries may not have a duty free allowance.
If the charges are not listed on the destinations page, please otherwise contact the Send My Bag team who will contact our courier partner to check why the charge has been applied and dispute it if possible. Commonly, shipments may have been accidentally cleared as commercial goods in error by customs, and this can then be amended by resubmitting the customs paperwork to our courier partner and have the charges waived.