What is a Customs Declaration (CN23) and how to complete it?

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How to complete a CN23 Customs Declaration
CN23 Customs Declaration, picture by Jesse Ramirez

A Customs Declaration (CN23) is a customs document, used during international trade activities when goods are being transported overseas. It contains information about:
• The nature of the goods (including a detailed description and value)
• The country of origin.
• The Customs tariff number (if known)

Sample CN23 Customs Declaration Blank Form

Do You Need A Certificate of Origin too?

In some rare cases, because of the CN23 containing the “country of origin” of the goods you are sending overseas, you may need to ask your buyer (or the ultimate receiver of your goods/consignment) if they need a Certificate of Origin, which basically identifies the country where the goods/consignment originated.  You buyer may need it to authenticate that the goods you’re sending genuinely come from the country you’ve stated.  Don’t just presume and get a Certificate of Origin (C/O), first ask your buyer if they need it and only then go to the trouble and expense of getting a C/O.

When is a CN23 Customs Declaration used?

If your goods are being transported outside of the EU and have a value over £270 you must attach a signed and dated CN23. The document informs Customs of the contents of your consignment and helps them to check for banned or restricted items.

Why do I need a CN23 Customs Declaration?

You MUST have a Customs Declaration to send goods outside of the EU. If a declaration is not provided OR is completed incorrectly it can lead to delays or even seizure of the goods by Customs.

Where can I get a CN23?

You can get a CN23 template from:

  • Any UK Royal Mail Post Office branch will provide you with one, which you can complete it by hand; securely attach it to the front of your package and arrange postage
  • Alternatively, download a free CN23 template here; fill-it in; print it; securely attach it to the front of your package and arrange postage
  • Finally, if you have a regular need for CN23 forms because you’re sending a number of packages internationally, then use an online solution such as www.edgectp.com to help you generate paper and electronic versions, and for both CN22 and CN23, you get it FREE for 30-days. Couple this with the fact solutions like EdgeCTP saves your product(s) and client contact details, so next time it’s super simple and efficient to send repeat package requests – saving you time and in turn money

How do I complete a CN23?

Simple!  Here’s a field-by-field guide to completing a CN23.  If the package or consignment is worth MORE THAN £270 (GBP) (or 270 Euros) then completing a CN23 is the simplest way to make a Customs Declaration (CN23).  This allows you to inform the Customs authorities on the content of your package and its nature/purpose, origin, value and if known the Customs Tariff (HS Code).   Here’s a field-by-field guide to completing a CN23.  There’s instruction on the back of the CN23, which you can follow to complete a CN23.  However, in this step-by-step guide, we’ve decided to use the 30 day-FREE trials version of the EdgeCTP application (i.e. it’s EdgeDOCS package) to help complete the CN23.

a) Create a New CN23 Document

Having signed-up and signed-in to the EdgeDocs application:

  1. Choose Documents > Customs Declarations to bring up the Customs Declarations dashboard
  2. Choose New Customs Declaration > Custom Declaration CN23 to bring up a new CN23 data entry form
Creating a CN23 in EdgeCTP and EdgeDocs

b) How to fill in a CN23 Form

With the CN23 data entry form visible, you have the ‘Help Text’ (On/Off) to guide you for each field entry, as well as the ‘Instructions show/hide’ for complete instructions.


CN23 Field-by-Field Entry Guide
  • Sales/ Order ID = Automatically set if you’re doing this as part of a specific sales order (within EdgeCTP) or you can enter one of your own or leave it empty
  • Document Date = Automatically set to today, which is supposed to be the date you are filling out the form
  • Document Number = Optionally, add a number to uniquely identify the package or consignment to this CN22 note
  • Document Currency = Automatically set to GBP – British Pounds Sterling, however, adjust accordingly
  • FROM Sender Details = Mandatory, so if you’re the sender of the goods, then add your details of name, business name, country and address
  • Package No. (i.e. the number of items) = Optionally, add how many packages you are consigning/sending.  This isn’t the number of items in a package, it’s the number of packages being sent
  • Is Package/Item for Commercial = Mandatory, indicate the purpose of the goods being sent are either for commercial or non-commercial usage/resell.  If it is for commercial, then you’ll need to also supply a Commercial (Export/Customs) Invoice with this CN23 declaration.  Learn how to create a commercial invoice if you don’t already have one
  • Barcode = Optionally, add any Bar Codes that relate to the consignment or package that you are sending; this helps with tracking purposes
  • TO Receiver Details = Mandatory, add details of the person/organisation who will receive the goods you’re sending.  As a minimum add their name, business name, country and address
  • Importer’s Reference and Contact Details = Optionally, provide these details to assist with ‘faster’ Customs clearance
  • Article Details = For each article in the package (maximum of 5), provide 1 to 8 elements of detail by first clicking the Action Edit icon (pencil) on the right of the detail line, and provide:
    • Article/Product Id = Optional, add the stock item number (if previously used, the details will automatically populate; if not, then this entry will be saved for next time)
    • Article Name = Mandatory, add the name of the stock item
    • Quantity = Mandatory, add the quality of this article/product item in the package
    • Article Description = Mandatory, add the description of the stock item
    • Weight (kg) = Mandatory, enter the gross weight of the article/product item in kilograms.  If less than a kilogram then state in fractions of a kilogram, e.g. 0.25 kg for 250 grams.  Note this is the ‘gross’ weight of the article/product, which will be summed with any other article(s) or product(s) to create the Total Weight (kg)
    • Sell Price = Mandatory, enter the agreed price a single article/product will be sold (must match with the article on the Commercial/Export Invoice if attached for any commercial purpose goods)
    • Value = Mandatory, enter the value of the article/product in the specified currency e.g. 650.00 GBP (if necessary, set the FX Rate if necessary)
    • HS/Customs Tariff Number or Commodity Code [4] = Optional, if known set the Custom Tariff for the article/product; there is a ‘help me find it’ link that guides you through discovering it or get in touch with support@morgangoodwin.com for assistance
    • Country of Origin = Optional, if known set the Country of Origin of the article/product (i.e. where the product was made and its components originate from); as you type the country name a choice of countries will appear, select one and the two-character country shortcode will automatically be displayed
Adding article or product details
  • Total Gross Weight (kg) = Mandatory, check/add/adjust the total gross weight of the consignment/package (INCLUDING all the wrapping + packaging weight)
  • Total Value = Mandatory, check/add/adjust the total value of the consignment/package (in the chosen currency) and MUST match with any supporting Commercial Invoice
  • Total Net Weight (kg) = Mandatory, check/add/adjust the total net weight of the consignment/package (EXCLUDING all the wrapping + packaging weight)
  • Postal Charges = Mandatory, check/add/adjust the postal charges for consigning/sending the package to the destination; this is over and above the Total Value of the goods
  • Total Other Fees/Changes = Optionally, add other charges paid for the consignment e.g. insurance or brokerage fees etc.; this is over and above the Total Value of the goods
  • Consignment Purpose/ Category of Item = Mandatory, tick one that applies
  • Comments = Optionally, add any comments to assist with the Customs clearance of the goods
  • Attachment of Supporting Documents (i.e. Invoice) = Optional or Mandatory if goods are of a commercial nature, in which case you need to add a Commercial (Export/Customs) Invoice to clear Customs controls efficiently.  There is an option to electronically create a Commercial Invoice within EdgeDocs and attach it to the CN23, or simply add your own.  In either case, getting a physically printed copy and attaching it to one side of the package is advisable
  • Attachment of Supporting Documents (i.e. Certificate) = Optional, and only if your buyer wants a Certificate of Origin or Movement Certificate for the goods you are sending, then go and get a certificate; otherwise, proceed WITHOUT one.  If you do get a certificate, then print + attach a copy to the package
  • Attachment of Supporting Documents (i.e. Licence) = Optional, and only if your buyer or destination country requires you to provide a licence for the product(s) you are sending.  If you do get a licence, then print + attach a copy to the package
  • Declaration = Mandatory, read the declaration and make sure you agree with it, then check that the Date of Declaration is correct, otherwise change to suit; click the Signature of Declarant box and either your preloaded digital version of your hand-signature appears, or you can select and upload a new one
  • Click the [Save & Authorise] button, on the top left, once you’re satisfied that the CN22 completed; if confirmation is requested, click [Save]

c) Printing a CN23 Form

Having created a CN23 (in EdgeCTP) and saved + authorised it, printing the CN23 is just a matter of  following these steps:

  • Find and open a previously saved CN23 or create a new one (as above)
  • From the top of the CN23 form click [Generate PDF] button choose:
    • CN23 A4 plain paper  = this generates a PDF of the CN23 form for printing on an A4 piece of paper, positioning the print-out in A4 landscape, with the form in the centre
Example completed CN23 Customs Declaration form

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