Anyone sending any kind of parcel to the EU must go through a new procedure from today, the Post Office has said.
People sending packages from the UK to any EU country must now attach a customs declaration, otherwise it will not be sent.
The change, which is due to Brexit, applies to anyone sending any kind of parcel to the EU. That means people sending personal gifts to their friends and relatives, not just businesses.
However, it does not apply to letters, postcards and documents.
The change is due to the UK leaving the EU’s single market and customs union, which Boris Johnson refused to stay part of.
While the UK now has a trade deal with the EU, customs rules will still apply from January 1. It’s only tariffs that don’t need paying.
While the rules only take effect at 11pm on Thursday, the Post Office is advising anyone who sends a parcel from today to attach the document to help avoid delays.
It will be a major new burden for the Post Office and its customers. Around 45% of total international parcel traffic received by 11,500 Post Offices in Great Britain goes to EU destinations.
Post Offices will also be responsible for handing out £5.50 International Driving Permits, which are needed to get behind the wheel in the EU after January 1.
Amanda Jones, the Post Office’s retail and franchise network director, said: “We know that over the past few weeks, many people will have been preoccupied with thoughts about Christmas and the pandemic.
“Postmasters are on hand to provide practical advice, particularly to small businesses, who regularly send parcels to the EU.”
People posting a parcel from Northern Ireland to somewhere in the EU do not need to attach a customs declaration form.
But one will still be necessary for parcels going to non-EU destinations.