Customs documentation

There is a bewildering number of customs documentation that is involved in international trade, which may be for Irish or destination customs, other government departments or for banking purposes. A few of the more commonly encountered documents are described below, along with details of the enhanced facilities that DHL Express is able to provide.


When exporting goods or products from Ireland to outside the EU, your most important document will be your invoice. From an exporting point of view, you will either need: A commercial invoice, which is used when goods are for re-sale or have a commercial value OR A pro-forma invoice, which is used for items like gifts, samples or items not for re-sale.

Pro-forma Invoices
It is important to know that if you need to interact with the customs authorities, you will need an Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI) number. To check if your company is registered for EORI, contact Don’t forget, when trading within the EU, you don’t need to provide a commercial or pro-forma invoice as no customs declaration is made on these goods as they are in free circulation.

Commodity Codes

Commodity Codes are six-digit internationally accepted codes which classify shipped goods so that correct taxes and duties are applied. Commodity Codes will decipher if you need any export licences; any import licences for when the goods hit the destination customs; and the particular rate of duties and taxes to be applied to your goods. When you’re exporting with DHL you need to ensure that if a licence is required that the license number is declared on the invoice.

For more information on Commodity Codes, visit TARIC or the Irish Revenue website at

Export customs declarations

An export license is a document issued by the relevant Government Department authorizing the export of restricted goods. An export license may be needed for any goods and can range from live animals and animal products to endangered species and cultural goods. A Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) license will probably be required whenever an export refund is being claimed.

CAP Licenses are usually needed for the export of foodstuffs, whether as raw materials or processed products. If a license is required and is not presented at the time of export, the consignment will not be released for export. It is worth remembering that CAP goods declared for one country of destination may need a license, whereas the same consignment going to another country may not.


The SAD is the Customs declaration document used by all countries within the European Union (EU). It is required for all exports, with the exception of postal exports, and must accompany your goods to the point of exit from the EU. Guidance on completing the SAD is available from

In order to create your SAD declaration to customs the commercial invoice is required.


A Certificate of Origin is a signed statement certifying where an exported item was made. Some, but not all, countries will require a C/O in order to gain Customs clearance. Your local accredited Chamber of Commerce can produce this documentation for you.


The EUR1 certificate is used to claim preferential (reduced or even zero) rates of duty in the country of importation. To qualify the goods must fully meet the rules of origin in the exporting country and be accompanied by a correctly completed and endorsed EUR1.

This system only applies to destination countries where trade agreements exist with the EU, and benefit the buyer by making goods cheaper to import. Other countries, including Turkey, Albania and Mexico apply their own rules of origin. The EUR1 should be completed by you as the exporter.

You can find out more information from


An ATA Carnet is an international Customs document that allows the temporary importation of commercial samples, professional equipment or goods going to a trade fair or exhibition in countries that are part of the ATA Carnet system. The system covers over 70 nations and territories in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

Without this document you would have to go through each individual country’s Customs procedures for the temporary admission of goods. An ATA Carnet is valid for one year and allows for movement of the goods shown on the Carnet as many times as required during that period to any of the destinations applied for. You can apply for an ATA Carnet from your local Chamber of Commerce.


This Carnet covers goods temporarily imported/exported between the EC and Taiwan. Its function is identical to the ATA Carnet but is distinguished by its colour and size.


An ATR certificate applies only for exports to Turkey and has a similar purpose to the EUR1. It applies specifically to the movement of industrial products that have been manufactured in or are in free circulation in the EU (all duties and taxes paid into the EU). As the exporter, you are responsible for completing the ATR form. You can find out more information from Irish Revenue at


Your local Chamber of Commerce will be able to provide advice and guidance on country-specific requirements for health certificates etc.


When shipping internationally (outside the EU), there will be destination duties and taxes applicable to your consignment. DHL can offer an estimate towards those costs through a free, 24/7 online tool called “Trade Automation Service” or TAS.

DHL TAS is a broad, web-based suite of trade information tools that covers 63 countries and approximately 98% of the world’s trade. This free tool gives you the ability to get the right information you need depending on the products you’re shipping or receiving with access to all the relevant international trade regulations, including all the information you need to comply with customs regulations.

TAS can also provide you with information around customs terminology and provide tools to help you classify your goods. Why not visit this free online tool at: for more information or visit Trade Automation Services (TAS).

DHL Express in Ireland will ensure that where required, an export declaration is submitted to the Irish Customs authorities to allow a customer’s product to be shipped from Ireland. At destination, the import declaration will also be completed by DHL Express or a local broker. We will ensure a customer’s products are cleared through customs accordingly. It’s also important that your customer, the importer, has all of their import licenses completed and presented to DHL at point of clearance in the destination country to minimize any customs delays.