Postal and courier services in Canada and the UK are well established and organised set-ups, and so sending your parcel to the UK is a simple and easy process. That said, it’s important to follow a few rules and guidelines to help make sure that your delivery arrives on time, and to avoid unnecessary charges.
Dealing with customs and duty
Any items imported into the United Kingdom from outside the EU - which includes Canada - will be required to go through the customs process and may be subject to a duty charge. The exact charge levied will depend on the nature of the item you are importing, as well as its value.
In the UK, recipients of parcels usually pay any customs charges and must pay all costs in full before carriers are allowed by law to deliver an item. Generally, the carrier will contact the recipient - often with a card through their letterbox - letting them know how much Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has assessed the charge to be, and how they should pay.
When you send your parcel, you must ensure that you attach a fully completed Customs Declaration (CN22 or CN23) form stating, in full and in English, what the parcel contains and how much each item is worth. This enables HMRC to assess customs charges and inspect most packages without opening or damaging them.
There are a few exceptions to duty charges, including personal gifts, items which are ‘Duty Exempt’, and anything which is being imported to the UK temporarily (a scheme known as ‘Inward Processing Relief’). Full details of all of these exemptions, as well as about UK Customs in general, are on the HMR website at www.hmrc.gov.uk.
Value Added Tax (VAT)
VAT is the sales tax levied on all consumer purchases throughout the European Union (EU). Any items sent from a non-EU country into the EU will have a VAT charge levied upon them when they cross the border.
This charge should be paid by the person receiving the goods in the same way as Duty.
Only one exemption is available from VAT, and that is for personal gifts sent from one individual to another, with a total value equal to £36 or less.
How should I address my parcel to the UK?
UK addresses are in the format:
123 Any Street (house number and street)
County (eg. Greater Manchester)
AA1 2AA (postcode)
If you need to look up or check the format or details of an address, the UK Royal Mail provides an address finder service at www.royalmail.com. Above all, you MUST include the recipient’s postcode, as most carriers will not be able to deliver your parcel without it.
How much does sending a parcel from Canada to the UK cost?
ParcelBroker provide a range of services for importing parcels in to the UK from Canada starting from £28.48.
How long does it take to send a parcel from Canada to the UK?
Most carriers offer standard airmail services, which will usually deliver items in three to seven working days.
Economy, sea-borne services are available for the cost-conscious or for items which are not able to be carried by air (eg. because they are large, heavy, or hazardous). Sea-borne shipping from Canada to the UK can take up to six weeks, depending on weather and sailing schedules.