Customs Forms Step by Step: Guide for CN23

form cn23

When you start trading internationally, it is essential that you check all the requirements for transporting goods abroad. One important aspect is customs, and you will no doubt need to familiarise yourself with customs declaration forms, such as the CN23. In this article, we’ve put together everything you need to know about completing this form, so don’t worry: we’ve got you covered.

When the goods you are sending are travelling outside the EU and are worth more than €377.22 (or £270), you are required to complete a CN23. Within the EU, no customs form is required. If a declaration is required and is not included, or is not completed correctly, this may cause a delay or may even result in the goods being seized by customs.

Information included in form CN23

The CN23 is a customs document that informs customs of the contents of your shipment, and also helps them check for prohibited or restricted items. It includes information on:

  • The nature of the goods, including the description and value.
  • The country of origin.
  • The customs tariff number.

The fields on the customs form are as follows:

Sender data:

Here you will need to provide the address of the sender as well as a telephone number. 

Customs number (EORI):

This must be filled in by all companies. 

Recipient data: 

Even if you have already placed the recipient’s address on the front of the parcel, you need to fill it in again here, including the country of destination, the tax code/VAT no. where applicable, and a telephone number.

Detailed description of contents:

Here you are required to describe the item(s) and provide the quantity, weight and value, as well as the HS code and country of origin for all commercial items. You can find a list of all customs tariff numbers here.

Total gross weight and total value:

Here, you add up the sum of the weight and value of all the items together. Make sure the total value of the goods is the same as the commercial invoice you provide.

Postal charges/Fees:

Customs duties in the destination country are based on the value of the goods plus the postage costs, so if the recipient is responsible for the shipping costs then these need to be included here. 

Category of item:

Tick the relevant box and under Explanation state that the parcel contains an “Article for sale”.


If the goods require authorisation in order to be shipped to a non-EU country. Then this should be detailed here. 

Invoice number: 

Fill in the invoice number of the shipment and remember to attach a copy.

Date and sender’s signature:

Remember to sign and date the form – this step is mandatory.

And there you have it. It doesn’t seem so complicated now, does it?

But before you get on with setting yourself up for shipping internationally, here are a couple of additional tips that might be useful:

  • If you are selling the goods, you must attach a commercial invoice.
  • It is important to make sure that the information will be understood by customs officials in the receiving country, so it should either be in English or the relevant national language
  • The CN23 form must be attached to the outside of the shipping box and visible, and we recommend that you protect it by placing it inside a transparent sleeve. 

Remember to double-check all the information you enter, just in case!

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