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New Customs Requirements for Packages to European Union (EU) Countries

February 27, 2023

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If you’re shipping packages to countries that follow European Union (EU) customs rules, there are new customs regulations you’ll need to follow. If you don’t provide more-detailed content descriptions on your customs forms, your packages may be returned or refused. USPS is providing tools to help shippers comply with these new rules.

What You Need to Know

Starting March 1, 2023:

  • New customs rules apply to all outbound international packages going to European countries that follow EU customs regulations. This includes small personal gifts, ecommerce orders, and military and diplomatic mail (APO/DPO/FPO).
  • Every item in your package must be listed on the customs declaration form.
  • For each item’s description: You can’t just name a general category; your description must be specific. For example, you can’t just say “electronics”; you have to be specific about the type of electronics, like “computer,” “mobile phone,” or “television.”
  • If you use USPS® tools (like the International Retail Postage Price Calculator or Global Shipping Software) and provide acceptable descriptions (that are specific and accurate), USPS will provide an “HS (Harmonized System) Tariff Code” (or just “HS Code”). This USPS-generated code will be included on your customs declaration form.

Guidance for Acceptable Descriptions

Unacceptable Acceptable
Clothes Men’s shirts, girls’ vest, boys’ jackets
Appliances Refrigerator, stove, microwave oven
Artwork Oil painting, pencil sketch, bronze statue
Battery Lithium batteries
Gifts Scented candle, remote-controlled car, cashmere scarf
Medicine Painkillers, antiviral spray
Health & Beauty Products Detergent, toothbrush, towels
Vegetables Eggplant, onions, broccoli

Countries That Follow European Union (EU) Customs Rules

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus, Republic of
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Why These Changes Are Important

Outbound U.S. shippers send tens of millions of packages to EU countries each year. However, if you don’t comply with new requirements in EU customs rules, your shipments will be at risk. Don’t jeopardize your packages, revenue, and customer satisfaction!

For Businesses

  • Prevent loss of international outbound revenue
  • Follow new EU regulations, reducing fraud and increasing accountability
  • Improve speed and efficiency of cross-border ecommerce
  • Meet safety and security requirements, preventing delays, fines, and penalties for noncompliance
  • Increase competitiveness

For Consumers

  • Know EU rules and how to properly describe contents in international shipments
  • Send packages with peace of mind, avoiding delayed, discarded, or destroyed packages
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