Electronic Customs Data - Effective from 1st January 2021

From 1st January 2021, all postal administrations dispatching goods will have to supply recipient postal administrations with electronic customs data detailing the contents of any mail, packets and parcels containing goods. This concerns all items containing goods to be sent to destinations beyond the UK.

From Friday 1st January 2021, the requirement for accurate customs documentation for items containing goods sent to Rest of World addresses will also apply to EU destinations. The changes are required by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

It has always been a requirement for customs declaration forms (CN22 and CN23 for mail and CP72 for parcels sent via Parcelforce) to be used for countries beyond Europe, but from 1st January 2021 they will need to be used for all destinations beyond the UK including the Channel Islands – Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark.

The information provided on the customs declaration forms (set out below) will be  captured and forwarded digitally to the destination postal administration and their Customs Officials, in advance of the goods being despatched. This method of providing customs data will help to automate and speed up manual processes, which can enable a more efficient customs clearance process as well as supporting an effective risk-based customs control.

Which form do I need?

Service / value of contents

Customs form

Standard mail / less than £270


Standard mail / £270 or more


Parcel / all values



Forms are available from all Post Offices, or to download at the bottom of the page. 

To complete the customs forms accurately the following information is required for each item (containing goods):

For commercial items only:

From 1st January 2021 any items received by Isle of Man Post Office without the above information may be delayed or returned and subject to further charges.

This page will be updated frequently, so please do check back regularly. In the meantime please see below some Frequently Asked Questions to provide further context to these changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Electronic Customs Data (ECD)?

Electronic Customs Data is the electronic transmission of customs information. The contents data needs to be captured electronically and transmitted to the country of destination. This is due to statutory and international requirements. The new requirements are internationally valid and are coordinated by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in cooperation with the World Customs Organisation (WCO).

Why do customers need to provide ECD?

ECD is required to ensure that existing, emerging and future legislative, security and customs requirements in overseas destinations are met. Some countries are applying penalties, delaying or returning items in the absence of the required data and we want to help our customers avoid this. If customers ensure all the correct data is provided when the item is posted, this data will be collected and forwarded by IOMPO. 

What are the benefits of ECD?

Providing complete and accurate electronic customs data will:

Which countries require customs declarations?

All destinations outside of the UK, including the Channel Islands – Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark require customs declarations.

What items are considered as documents?

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) definition is that letters, postcards, braille letters, individual invoices / statements don’t need CN22s, but magazines, periodicals, bulk sets of blank forms (such as invoices and statements) all need customs declarations as these are goods and should have a value applied under valuation methods as usual.

What is the difference between the customs forms?

CN22s can be used for goods with a total value of less than £270 whereas, CN23s are used for posting items with a value of £270 and above. CP72s are used when sending parcels using Parcelforce services.


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