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Shipping from Canada to the U.K.

A simple guide to help you ship your products to the U.K. quickly and easily

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At FlagShip, we strive to make sure our policies, information, and guidelines on our website are as accurate and up to date as possible. However, we are not customs brokers, and this information is to be used as a guide. PLEASE consult your customs broker directly before shipping as customs laws and procedures often change without warning.

For many Canadian businesses using a courier service, shipping products efficiently and safely from Canada to the U.K. is vital for them to thrive. Sometimes, the process and paperwork may seem daunting but don’t worry; FlagShip has years of experience.

We’ve created this simple guide to help you navigate through shipping from Canada to the U.K. with our courier service.

At FlagShip our dedicated team can facilitate all your Canada to U.K. shipping needs, here are just a few of the ways we can help:

All our information is compliant with the UK Border Force, the UK Department for International Trade, and other government resources to ensure we are up-to-date on all rules and regulations.

Courier rates to the U.K.


Start the process of shipping your goods from Canada to the U.K. by reviewing and comparing the best rates and service options from the most reliable carrier companies in the world.

Learn more about saving money on shipping from Canada to the U.K.

Couriers For Shipping From Canada To The U.s.

What are you shipping from Canada to the U.K.?

How to ship the following:

There are some restrictions regarding documents that can be shipped, although nearly all documents can be shipped to the UK tax or duty-free, hence it should be stated on your commercial invoice the type of document you are sending and if you exceed the restrictions then you will be asked to pay duties and taxes.


Type of Document Restrictions
Cheques Must be personalised
Exam papers Maximum of 20 kg in weight
Greetings cards & invitations Must have been personalised.
Passports It must be legibly stated as “passports” on the description of item as this would be checked by immigration and customs.

Gift items can be sent tax and duty-free provided the shipment is valued at less than £40 / $70CAD, it must be addressed to an individual and should be individually packaged/ wrapped. The package can contain multiple individually wrapped gifts with each different recipient’s name. A detailed description of each item should be added as well as the value of the gift should be clearly stated on the commercial invoice. The address of the receiver must be a residential address, not a business/ work address otherwise, the gift will be viewed as a commercial shipment and be treated as such which means it will not be exempt from any duties and taxes.

Personal items can be shipped tax and duty-free, although you may be asked to provide proof of ownership of these items using documents such as purchase invoices or receipts, items warranty documents, insurance documents, and more

For Student

If you are moving from Canada to the UK to study for at least 12 months, you are afforded the ability to ship your personal items to the UK duty and tax-free. On your Commercial invoice, you must specify in the general description or remarks section that your items are “Personal Items”. You will also need to add your Proof of Enrolment from your school to be included with your shipment. You do not need to complete the TOR1(Transfer of residence) form

For Non-Student

If you are moving to the UK for at least 12 months or returning to the UK and you are not a student, you will have to apply for Transfer of Residence relief.

If you are moving temporarily to the UK for a lesser amount of time than 12 months, you will need to apply for Temporary Admission of Goods.

A sample is usually a free product sent from a seller to a potential buyer. Your goods won’t be accepted as samples unless they meet certain standards. Some of the criteria include:

  • Sample goods must have been “defaced” for instance
    • Sample Bags
      Bags should have a tag sewn into them in a visible place or a permanent marking with the words ‘sample or not for resale’ clearly visible.
    • Clothing Sample
      A cut, or a tear should be made in the exterior part of the clothing but not at the bottom. This cut or opening should be visible when the clothes are worn. You can also make a print on the clothing item with the words ‘sample, not for resale’ in permanent ink.
    • Shoe Sample
      A hole can be made in the sole of the shoe or ‘sample, not for resale’ printed on the exterior of the shoe in permanent ink.
    • Books and makeup samples
      These should be clearly labeled either with a sticker or printed on with permanent ink as a sample and is not for resale.
    • Furniture and household objects sample
      The words ‘sample, not for resale’ should be carved on the outside visibly.
    • Food and Drink Samples
      Any edible samples should be packaged in little packaging that clearly states, “sample not for resale”.
  • The commercial invoice must note that the item is a sample and not for resale.
  • Only a single sample of each item.

Commercial or “Salesman’s Samples”

Sending Commercial or salesman samples to the UK from Canada you may be able to claim relief from Customs Duty and VAT although you may still need to pay special handling fees. Click here to check if you qualify to apply

Indicate “Company Transfer,” not sold

Value is low as it is not sold and traveling between the same company

To import your goods duty and tax-free to the UK, you need to:

  1. Fill out a Commercial Invoice.

    Trade show booth or specialized equipment
    you need apply for a Temporary Admission (TA) along with filling out a commercial invoice for more information, please visit this TA may be time-consuming but this would help to make certain that your shipment does not incur any duties and taxes.Although you can also apply for and use an ATA Carnet (ATA Carnet is an international customs document that permits duty-free and tax-free temporary import of goods for up to one year) to ship your items in and out of the UK as it is one of the 176 countries worldwide accept this document for shipping. To apply for ATA Carnet in Canada click
  2. The goods must be exported from the UK within 2 years
  3. The goods cannot be sold or exchanged for monetary value, mortgaged, rented out, discarded, or modified in any manner without getting the necessary approval of the authorities
  4. The commercial invoice must state “Temporary Import/Not for Sale” as well as the “return date” in the description of goods.

All products sold that enter the United Kingdom. If you export regularly, you may need to get a UK broker. The government also requires some items have CE (Conformité Européene) markings on them. Click here to see the list of products that need this marking and how to get it.

  • “REPAIR & RETURN” and estimated time of return should be clearly stated on Commercial in the General Description.
  • If it’s a part that is broken under warranty, indicate the information in the description
  • Serial or product number as well as the cost of repairs should be added to the Description of Goods.
  • The original import document or tracking details that was used to get the item to Canada initially should be included as not having the details or tacking for the item when it was shipped to you initially in Canada from the UK may result in customs delay and incur tax and duty charges.

Prohibited & Restricted Items

This list of prohibited items is based on carriers and customs for shipping from Canada to the U.K.  It’s important to keep in mind that this list is always changing, so it’s always best to check the official customs restrictions page here.

There are some goods you cannot bring into the UK – they’ll be seized by customs.

  • Controlled drugs
  • Offensive weapons, for example, flick knives
  • Self-defense sprays, for example, le pepper spray, and cs gas
  • Endangered animal and plant species
  • Rough diamonds
  • Indecent and obscene materials, such as books, magazines, films, and DVDs
  • Personal imports of meat and dairy products from most non-EU countries

Restricted Items:

A restricted item is something that requires a special license from the federal agency before the item is allowed to enter the country. This list is based on carriers and customs for shipping from Canada to the U.K.

Some of the restricted goods are:

Firearms, explosives, and ammunition. You will need a special license to bring them into the UK.

Shipment containing bladed items/possible cutlery or being suspected to contain bladed items/cutlery, are now restricted for import to the UK.

Some food and plant products are also restricted if they:

  • are not free from pests and diseases
  • are not for your use
  • were not grown in the EU

If you bring goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights (for example ‘pirate’ copies of movies or music) they may be seized, and you could be prosecuted.

In addition to the prohibited commodities listed here, it is prohibited to ship the following commodities to United Kingdom.

  • Shipping of alcoholic beverages is only permitted ISC contract service.
  • The contractual service covers the customs clearance of alcohol at the port of entry where duty, VAT and excise duty must be paid. A customs clearance of alcohol for free circulation with a subsequent transport of alcohol under the excise duty suspension regime is not possible. The customs clearance in UK and the subsequent transport to another EU member state is not part of the service.
  • Alcoholic beverages are subject to excise duty. Excise duty applies usually on the amount of beverage and the percentage of alcohol. The information must be shown on the invoice. Spirits with an alcoholic strength exceeding 35% ABV sold in retail containers of 35 cl. and above need a fiscal mark/excise stamp. The consignor is responsible to get registered for tax stamps, buy them and adjust them to the bottles.
  • Alcoholic beverages cannot be sold and delivered to under aged persons (18 years). The consignor is responsible to verify the age of the consignee prior to shipping.
  • Additional rules apply on the import of wine and wine products. Please check under wine.

Beef jerky and salami are prohibited for import, no matter what the country or territory of origin is. Any shipment received must be returned at the shipper’s expense immediately.

  • Endangered plants and animals protected by the multilateral treaty of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), must be accompanied by a valid CITES Certificate.
  • All import, export, re-export, and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.
  • Shipper needs to provide the following documentation:
    • Invoice with the scientific name
    • CITES certificate.
  • Additional charges will be applicable. Products of animals or plants subject to CITES can only be accepted under a special contract for International Special Commodities (ISC).

(Tobacco Products Directive 2014/14/EU (TPD)

  • Recently HMRC have enforced the regulations put in place in May 2016 for all operators.

Below you can see the regulations we should be abiding to:

  • Restrict e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2 ml.
  • Restrict the maximum volume of e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10 ml.
  • Restrict e-liquids to a nicotine strength of no more than 20 mg/ml.
  • Require nicotine-containing products or their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident.
  • Ban certain ingredients including colorings, caffeine, and taurine.
  • Include new labelling requirements and warnings.
  • Require all e-cigarettes and e-liquids to be notified to MHRA before they can be sold.

Further information on this can be obtained here.

Import restrictions may apply. Please contact your chamber of commerce for details.

Flick, gravity, spring. or butterfly knives are prohibited.

The following are prohibited:

  • Chilli
  • Chilli products
  • Curcuma
  • Curry Powder
  • Palm oil
  • Turmeric

Dried whole Chillies can be imported.

Vegetable Matter is prohibited.


You’ll need to apply for a permit or certificate if you’re bringing items protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) into the UK.

This includes certain foods and beauty products, exotic leather goods, furs, wooden musical instruments, tourist curios, and some medicines.

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Call 1-866-320-8383 or email at

All our customer service representatives (CSRs) are live every day during 8:00am – 5:00pm EST to help with all your questions about shipping from Canada to the U.S. (and other destinations around the world)! They are trained, certified and experienced in international shipping business procedures.

Documents, Forms and Certificates

For each type of product, there is usually some paperwork to fill out. Review the list below to find out what documentation you’ll need for your product shipped from Canada to the U.K.

Commercial Invoice – When creating your Shipment in the FlagShip online system, we automatically generate this invoice for you.

  • CERS (replaced the B1 declaration form) – All Canadian exporters that ship outside of North America must report exports and submit summary reports electronically through either the Canadian Export Reporting System (CERS) or the G7 Export Reporting Electronic Data Interchange (G7-EDI). Click here to learn more.
  • How to get started on the CERS? Before you can register and access the CERS Portal, you must apply to become a portal client. You can apply to become a portal client by downloading the application found on the CERS site and submitting it by email to: cbsa.export

Certificate of Origin (COO) – This document is important because Canada has a trade agreement with the UK which allows a reduced or zero-rated import duty.

ATA Carnet – ATA Carnet is an international customs document that permits duty-free and tax-free temporary import of goods for up to one year) and it is accepted in 176 countries worldwide.

Duties and Taxes

It’s always important to ensure hassle-free delivery by understanding the Duties and Taxes for your products when shipping from Canada to the U.K.

Tax is to be paid on all shipments, no matter the value, no matter the reasoning and duty is to be paid on shipments with a value of £135 or more.

For more updated information visit: Tax and customs for goods sent from abroad, Import, export and customs for businesses: detailed information

Tracking Your Shipments

Tracking your shipments

If you encounter any difficulty tracking your shipment, please to contact us to resolve the problem.

We are there to guide and assist.

Call 1-866-320-8383 or email at

General Information

When sending a parcel from Canada to the UK, you will have to be aware of customs checks. Any items sent from outside the EU to the UK must be posted with documents disclosing what is being sent and its value

As a business you need an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods into UK (England, Wales or Scotland) You’ll need a new one if you have an EORI that does not start with GB.