Brexit: Goods consignments to Great Britain
What impacts will Brexit have on shipments to Great Britain?

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Swiss Post GLS shipping to Great Britain currently interrupted
Due to technical problems with the customs data transfer at the British GLS network partner, no Swiss Post GLS shipments can be sent to the UK since 12 January 2021 and until further notice. GLS is working intensively to solve the problem and will resume parcel shipments to the UK as soon as possible. For further information, please contact the Swiss Post GLS customer service at e-mail infogls@swisspost.ch or by telephone on 0848 858 686. Parcels that cannot be delivered will be returned to you at a charge without further information.

Great Britain leaving the European Union has an impact on sending goods to Great Britain. Goods will be shipped from Swiss business customers to Great Britain with the customary quality.

The following changes came into force on 1 January 2021:

  • The exemption limit for commercial goods consignments worth up to GBP 15 will no longer apply, meaning that each goods consignment being sent to the UK will be subject to VAT from the first pound sterling in value.
  • For consignments containing goods with an intrinsic value (excluding VAT and transport costs) of up to GBP 135, the seller or sales platform will be responsible for paying the VAT owed to the British tax authority, HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs). No customs duties will be incurred as a general rule. In order to pay, business senders must register in the UK for tax purposes by applying for a UK VAT number and a UK EORI number.
  • If the recipient has a UK VAT number, the VAT will be settled via a reverse charge. In this case, “reverse charge: customer to account for VAT to HMRC” must be stated on the commercial invoice.
  • Consignments containing goods worth over GBP 135 can also continue to be sent to the UK without VAT registration.
  • For consignments containing excisable goods (including alcohol and tobacco), the existing regulations will continue to apply.
  • For non-commercial goods consignments between private individuals, the existing regulations will apply and consignments will be exempt from import levies (VAT and customs duty) up to a goods value of GBP 39. 

Swiss Post GLS

According to current plans, the last parcel post sent to the UK using Swiss Post GLS under the currently applicable import regulations will be on 28.12.2020.

  • UK VAT number and UK EORI number when using GLS incoterms 10 and 18 (VAT Registration Scheme)
  • Designation and number of goods with the associated customs tariff numbers (HS codes) and the respective value
  • Name and address of the consignment recipient including telephone, e-mail and contact person
  • Delivery address if different from the invoice address

For more comprehensive information on commercial invoices, visit www.swisspost.ch.ch/swiss-post-gls and look under “Necessary invoice information”.

  • GLS incoterm 10 (DDP)
  • GLS incoterm 20 (DAP)
  • GLS incoterm 30 (DDP, VAT unpaid)
  • GLS incoterm 40 (DAP, cleared)
  • GLS incoterm 60 (Pick&ShipService, Pick&ReturnService)

For additional information on existing GLS incoterms, see www.swisspost.ch/swiss-post-gls

For consignments containing goods worth up to GBP 135, the new GLS incoterm 18 must be used.

  • GLS incoterm 18 (DDP, VAT Registration Scheme): carriage free, duty paid, taxed – this new incoterm involves the sender paying for freight and customs clearance. The value added taxes are paid either by the importer or the sender after registering in the UK. No customs duty is applicable.
  • For consignments containing goods worth up to GBP 135, use of GLS incoterm 18 is mandatory for commercial senders.
  • The VAT is paid directly to the British finance authorities (HMRC). This may require prior import value added tax registration on the website of the British government and application for a UK EORI number.

The following phrase must be included on the invoice when using the VAT no. of a UK importer: “Use importer account for VAT to HMRC”.

GLS incoterm 18 cannot be used for consignments containing goods worth over GBP 135.

Swiss Post GLS charges CHF 23 for each instance of customs clearance for incoterm 18 consignments.

The British government prescribes various rules for selecting incoterms depending on whether you are sending to a commercial (B2B) or private recipient and on the value of the goods. The following table shows all the available GLS incoterms for sending consignments to the UK from 1 January 2021. To find the right incoterm, discuss this with the importers in the UK and decide who will bear the import value added taxes, customs duties and customs clearance fees incurred.

GLS incoterms 50, 11, 15, 17, 21, 33, 41 and 91 will then no longer be available when sending to the UK.


Swiss Post GLS parcels from Switzerland arrive at their destination in the UK within a normal delivery time of three to five working days (Mon – Fri). We will strive to retain these delivery times even after the new customs regulations come into effect. However, there may be delays to begin with due to the customs clearance process, over which we have no influence. In the event of incomplete or erroneous accompanying documents, such as an incorrect declaration, there may be delays in parcel handling and customs control for which Swiss Post GLS is not responsible.

When using GLS incoterms 10 and 18, the sender’s UK VAT number and UK EORI number need to be stated on the invoice for the customer.

When using GLS incoterms 18 and 10 (for B2C commerce), the sender is obliged to register in the UK for tax purposes in order to have a UK VAT number and UK EORI number.

For B2B commerce, registration in the UK by the sender is only necessary if the sender wants to pay UK VAT directly.

When sending consignments containing goods worth over GBP 135 to commercial recipients (B2B) using GLS incoterms 20, 30 and 40, the sending business customer must have a UK EORI number. However, a UK VAT number is not required in this case.

You can find further information on the GLS website.

URGENT Business

URGENT Business consignments are processed and delivered worldwide via the TNT/FedEx network. Their team in the UK is prepared and provides information on a special website. The basic information on Swiss Post GLS and PostPac International concerning registration, goods values and scope of applicability also apply to URGENT Business. The EU Clearance option is no longer available when sending to Great Britain.

PRIORITY and ECONOMY parcels and small goods consignments

You can find FAQs on the commercial sending of goods via PostPac International and small goods consignments here.

From 01.01.2021, every goods consignment from Switzerland to the UK will be subject to VAT. Two different procedures will come into effect depending on the value of goods:  

For commercial “business-to-consumer” PostPac International and small goods consignments containing goods worth up to GBP 135, the business sender in Switzerland must now always collect the British value added tax and deliver it directly. In order to avoid possible delivery delays due to customs blockades, the sender is strongly advised to register for tax purposes in the UK. If a sender is registered for tax purposes in the UK and settles the British VAT with the UK tax authorities, the consignments are delivered to the recipient without incurring additional costs (e.g. a customs clearance fee) in the same way as a DDP customs clearance solution (duty paid and taxed) For commercial shipments containing goods with an intrinsic value of up to GBP 135 (excluding VAT and transport costs), there is no longer an option of importing goods into the UK using incoterm DAP/DDU (delivered at place or delivered duties unpaid = duty unpaid and untaxed)  

“Business-to-consumer” PostPac International and small goods consignments containing goods worth over GBP 135 continue to be subject to VAT and potentially customs duties on the part of the recipient irrespective of whether the sender is registered in the UK. The sender is not permitted to collect the British VAT for the stated consignments and must send the consignment via incoterm DAP. 

There is currently no customs clearance solution for consignments containing goods worth over GBP 135 in the international letter and parcel channel. 

From 01.01.2021, every commercial goods consignment being sent to the UK will be subject to VAT. Consignments between private individuals containing gifts worth up to GBP 39 and consignments with excisable goods (including alcohol and tobacco) are exempt. Consignments containing such products are treated as consignments containing goods worth over GBP 135 as they also cause customs duties to be incurred. 


The EAD data (electronic advance data) must be recorded electronically for all consignments containing goods. For PostPac International, this happens automatically through the electronic creation of the waybill; and for small goods consignments, through use of the International accompanying documents or the Webshop Connector International (WSC). 

No British tax or EORI number is noted on the consignment by the sender. The customs authority detects whether the sender is registered in the UK on the basis of the sender information in the EAD data, and processes the consignment accordingly. It is strongly advisable to state the UK tax and EORI numbers on the waybill and commercial invoice for PostPac International.

From 01.01.2021, it will no longer be possible to send consignments to Great Britain using the DDP customs clearance solution. If sending consignments containing goods worth under GBP 135, you can register in Great Britain and send your goods taxed and duty paid (DDP) as before. Customers using the DDP customs clearance solution can process GB consignments in the Webshop Connector International or via the web service (e.g. create the shipping label for the consignment) as before. The EAD data is automatically transmitted in the background and does not need to be recorded separately under international accompanying documents. Additional key information on posting procedures can be found here.

More information: 

Postal parcels being sent to the UK will be processed and delivered by our local partner Parcelforce, the parcel division of the state commissioned postal company Royal Mail. Information on Brexit is available on their website.

Documents and press products

From 01.01.2021, every goods consignment from Switzerland to the UK will be subject to VAT. This also includes press products (magazines, newspapers, periodicals and similar). There are no changes for documents (letters, postcards, invoices and similar).  For press products, two different procedures come into effect depending on the value of goods.

For press products containing goods worth up to GBP 135, the seller or sales platform must now always collect and pay the UK VAT. In order to avoid possible delivery delays due to customs blockades, the sender is advised to register in the UK. If a sender is registered for tax purposes in the UK and settles the UK VAT with the UK tax authorities, the consignments are delivered to the recipient without incurring additional costs (e.g. a customs clearance fee) in the same way as a DDP customs clearance solution (duty paid and taxed) For commercial shipments containing goods with an intrinsic value of up to GBP 135, there is no longer an option of importing goods into Great Britain using incoterm DAP/DDU (delivered at place or delivered duties unpaid = duty unpaid and untaxed)

Press products containing goods worth over GBP 135 are always subject to VAT and potentially customs duties on the part of the recipient irrespective of whether the sender is registered in the UK. The sender is not permitted to collect the British VAT for the stated consignments and must send the consignment via incoterm DAP. There is currently no customs clearance solution for consignments containing goods worth over GBP 135 in the international letter channel.

Each consignment containing goods, including press products of any kind, will be subject to VAT in Great Britain from 01.01.2021. There are no changes for documents (letters, postcards, invoices and similar). Consignments between private individuals containing gifts worth up to GBP 39 are also exempt.

Consignments containing goods worth up to GBP 135 must also contain no excisable products (e.g. tobacco, alcohol etc.). Consignments containing such products are treated as products worth over GBP 135 as they also cause customs duties to be incurred. 

The EAD data (electronic advance data) must be recorded electronically for all consignments containing goods, including press products, and a correctly filled in CN22 must be attached. No British tax or EORI number is noted on the consignment by the sender. The customs authority detects whether the sender is registered in the UK on the basis of the sender information in the EAD data, and processes the consignment accordingly.  

General questions

Swiss senders can register with the UK tax authority (HMRC). Registration includes an application for a UK VAT number. Registering for tax purposes obliges the sender to submit a UK VAT statement on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Swiss senders can apply for a UK EORI number from the UK tax authority (HMRC).

If a consignment containing goods below GBP 135 from a non-registered Swiss sender arrives in the UK, the consignment will be blocked by the customs authority. The sender will be contacted. 

Contact us
We are here to help

Swiss Post GLS Customer Service

+41 848 85 86 86 (CHF 0.08/min. from landline phones within Switzerland)

Swiss Post URGENT Customer Service

0800 45 45 45

Swiss Post International Customer Service

+41 848 48 48 47

Would you like a quotation?

0848 458 458