Post Office customers in Great Britain are being warned that from Tuesday 29 December, any parcel containing gifts or goods that is being sent to an EU country must have a customs declaration form attached to it.
The UK’s exit from the Customs Union means that customs declarations which apply to non-EU countries has been extended to EU counties. A form does not have to be completed if customers are sending a letter, postcard or document to an EU country.
Around 45% of the total international parcel traffic received by Post Offices in Great Britain goes to EU destinations. Post Office is advising its customers that they can pick up customs forms at its branches and complete them at home before returning to their Post Office to hand over their parcels in order to save themselves time.
Amanda Jones, 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. Customers should also look out for a leaflet in branches that has information about the new customs declaration requirement.”
The new requirement applies to anyone posting a parcel from England, Scotland or Wales to EU destinations. This was already a requirement when posting a parcel to non-EU destinations. Whilst this requirement comes into effect on 1 January 2021, Post Office advises that customs labels are attached from 29 December so that customers can be sure their parcel has the correct documentation in case there are delays to their parcel arriving at their EU destination.
Customers posting a parcel from Northern Ireland to EU destinations are not required to attach a customs declaration form. However, they must continue to do so for parcels going to non-EU destinations.
Travelling to the EU
The UK’s exit from the Customs Union means that anyone thinking of travelling to an EU destination should spend time preparing for their trip.
Commenting on what travellers need to consider if thinking of a visiting an EU destination next year, Amanda Jones said, “From 1 January, a number of changes will come into effect that means it’s more important than ever to be fully prepared for a trip to an EU destination. Whilst travel will be limited at the start of the year, Post Offices are that one-stop shop where travel insurance, International Driving Permits and foreign exchange can all be purchased in one go.”
European Health Insurance Card and travel insurance
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will no longer be valid for UK citizens. This places greater emphasis on the need for travel insurance with health cover for trips to the EU.
It’s particularly important for those with a pre-existing medical condition to get the right cover. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies do not.
Driving in the EU
Depending on which part of the EU someone is driving in, an International Driving Permit may be required. These are available to purchase at 3,000 Post Offices. The nearest branch offering this service can be found at postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder
Anyone thinking of travelling to an EU destination should check the validity of their passport before they leave. Travellers should have at least 6 months validity on their passport at the time of arrival. The Post Office has digital check and send services at 700 branches. The nearest branch offering this service can be found at postoffice.co.uk/branch-finder
Taking pets to the EU
Pet passports will not be valid from 1 January 2021. The process for taking a pet abroad could take as long as four months, and possibly longer. If the UK is categorised as an ‘unlisted’ country a pet will require EU-verified vaccination against rabies. Once a pet is vaccinated in the UK, its blood sample needs to be verified by an EU-approved testing facility.
Main Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska