If you are based outside the UK, or in the EU (after Brexit), please read these instructions on the use of the Customs form CN23. We've provided a template for you to use but you won't need one if you use one of the big parcel carriers.
Sending packages internationally without providing correct customs information usually leads to delays. Using one of those small square green CN22 stickers isn't usually acceptable for anything other than small value items.
We recommend that you avoid using your National Post Office postal service. These are relatively antiquated compared to carriers like UPS or FedEx etc. Quite often when you use your national post service, it gets handled here by Parcelforce where it can be delayed because by default they will always claim import charges from us and the process can be painfully slow. We don't claim those charges back from you by the way but the process to sort it out can be quite slow. Carriers like UPS etc can be more expensive but your equipment will arrive without delay. Also, the large carriers will have a section for you to complete for international shipping called the 'Commercial Invoice', which takes care of the customs information that is needed. We use UPS exclusively for all our domestic and international shipping.
Using a broker: We use UPS but through a broker called Interparcel. The reason we do this is because it is considerably cheaper than booking directly through UPS. Also we find that the online booking system is more user-friendly. In your country, you may find such an online service that allows you to use a quality carrier at a much lower cost. For us, UPS is usually the most expensive option but as they say, you get what you pay for. We never have problems with UPS.
When printing out your shipping labels, you will usually be provided with the commercial invoice too. There should be three copies attached to the outside of the box using a clear pouch and visible. Customs will not open the box to search for the paperwork if you put it inside. UPS require us to print an extra commercial invoice that the driver takes at the time of collection. Each company has its own way of doing things so check on their website.
When you come to the section where you fill in the form, you are required to complete certain information. This usually includes the value of the equipment. Please do not overstate values. Country of origin will usually be Germany but occasionally Canada. A description may be vintage film camera or lens. If you are asked for a commodity code or tariff code, for a camera you can use 9006590000. If this number is too long, just knock the '0's from the end. For a lens or other item, use 9006910000. Reasons for export are 'Repair & return'.
DON"T FORGET TO PRINT OUT AND FILL-IN A REPAIR BOOKING FORM TO ENCLOSE
WITH YOUR EQUIPMENT. A HAND WRITTEN NOTE WILL SUFFICE BUT WE PREFER A BOOKING FORM! Click the PDF.
Our advice - it's just a lot easier to use UPS or FedEx etc.
Using your Post Office or National Parcel Service...
If you have to use your national parcel carrier – USPS, Japan Post, Norway Post etc, please use our CN23 form. We have partly filled it in for you. Make sure you print out three copies and place them in a separate clear document wallet attached to your package. If you prefer that the details on the customs documents can't be seen, you can put them in the document wallet the other way around but if you do this, please make sure you write clearly on the back of the forms “Customs documents here”.
HOW TO COMPLETE OUR CN23 CUSTOMS FORM
We've partly filled it in for you and we'll explain here how to do the rest. It just takes a few minutes!
Form for you to use
Sample form for you to look at
Once completed, attach three copies to your parcel in a clear document wallet. You can fill-in the sections in pen or use a PDF editor if you like.
Guide to completing the CN23 form
Firstly, your name and address in the 'From' section.
Section (1) This will normally say 'Film camera 35mm' – mentioning the film size is important. Another one might be 'Lens for film camera'. Avoid just saying 'Camera' or 'Lens', customs don't like it!
Section (2) Quantity of items listed in (1).
Section (3) The weight in grams of the individual item without packaging. You can get away with estimating this one. Please don't use Pounds and Ounces here!
Section (4) The total weight of the package – in grams!
Section (5) Individual value of each item. Please indicate the currency – Euro, US Dollar, GB Pound etc. Please be realistic and if coming to us for repair, it may be worth less than the current market value.
Section (6) The total value of all items being sent.
Section (7) Each type of commodity has a code - the commodity code or 'customs harmonisation code'. They are used worldwide to identify what is in the parcel. You simply write in the appropriate code. Please use the appropriate code from the short list below:
35mm non-SLR camera: 9006590000
Lens for camera: 9006910000
you can use the lower code for other accessories such as viewfinder attachments etc. You don't need to list things like lens caps etc that are part of the camera/lens. If you're not sure, you can look these up online, Google Customs Commodity Codes or just email us.
Section (8) The country that the item was manufactured. Probably Germany in most cases.
Section (9) The total cost of shipping plus any other costs such as insurance.
Section (15) Don't forget to sign and date the form! We've filled in the rest for you. If you're planning to send more than two or three items, please speak to us first.
14 Rollesby Close
Bury, BL8 1EW