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What are Customs Procedure Codes (CPC)?

A Customs Procedure Code (CPC) is a pre-defined HMRC code that is required to describe the purpose of your overseas shipment.

The code is used to determine how your shipment will be processed and how the duties and taxes, if applicable, will be collected. 

Smooth and timely transportation of goods and products is, more often that not, dependent on the quality of the accompanying paperwork.    So, ensuring you have the correct CPC assigned is very important.   Use of the wrong code could result in incorrect duties being applied.

What is the purpose of your shipment?  

  • Is your shipment a straightforward commercial transaction - the sale of goods to another party?
  • Are you transporting samples to potential customers?
  • Do you have an item that needs repair and needs to be shipped to the original manufacturer?
  • Are you a tradesman working overseas requiring tools and machinery to be transported to the working destination?

Customs Duties are not payable on all of the above examples so if the wrong CPC is assigned the shipment could be delayed and duties incorrectly applied.  Unclear, incorrect and incomplete customs declarations can cause long delays that can easily be avoided by understanding and using the correct CPC on the customs declaration. A shipment cannot be released for delivery until customs have established whether duties and taxes apply.

The full list of import and export CPC’s are available on the website:

Import Customs Procedure Codes

Export Customs Procedure Codes

Instructing your freight forwarder

If you are unsure which code to apply provide a brief written statement on your customs declaration and shipment instruction, describing what you are transporting and why, and your freight forwarder will apply the correct code. 


If you have any questions regarding Customs Procedure Codes, please do contact our team on 0113 250 1155 or email us at

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