Suspension of Royal Mail Services to Ireland

It seems that since the new VAT rules for non-EU originating shipments came into effect on July 1st Ireland’s postal operator has been refusing parcels from UK, even when correctly booked/processed with all the correct data/info.

At the moment Royal Mail does not know why.

Until this situation is sorted I’m afraid I have to remove Royal Mail services to Ireland. DHL is still available however can prove cost prohibitive for small value orders.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Here’s an article from the Irish Mirror.

Below is the reply from a Royal Mail account manager when asked about this issue (from the Amazon forums)


· Since the EU VAT and customs changes which came into force on 1 July 2021, greater scrutiny is applied to items leaving GB and entering the EU; all non-personal correspondence items need to be accompanied by full and complete electronic customs data, including an IOSS number where relevant, as well items carrying a full and complete customs declaration (CN22/23 document).

· However, we have been made aware this week that some business customers exporting items to Ireland are receiving their items back, them having been rejected by the Irish Customs authorities. This is happening with items sent via IOSS and via normal DDU services (Tracked and Untracked).

The importance of electronic customs data and customs documents (CN22/23)

    • Data – whilst we have previously communicated this, it’s mandatory for customers to provide all required electronic customs data in a shipping solution. Complete and accurate data is what allows items to be cleared rapidly through customs. In particular, customers need to include the postage the sender is paying RM and if using IOSS, a correctly formatted IOSS number (IM followed by 10 digits with no gaps).
    • CN22/23s – Please make sure customers are completing CN22/23 documents and affixing them to the front of each item. In particular, business customers should not be using the contents classification of ‘gift’. This classification is only to be used by consumer senders. Please also make sure the description of contents is detailed, not vague.

More Information about items being returned

    • Royal Mail is urgently requesting information from the Irish Customs Authorities and AnPost, our Irish postal partner, on why items are being rejected in circumstances where we believe our exporting customers are meeting all the stated EU postal requirements.
    • However, for items recently returned (posted since 27 July), the labelling affixed by AnPost is not clear in explaining why items have been rejected. The label says return to sender. Item is not customs compliant. Item must have electronic CN23’ .
    • Items only require a CN23 if they contain items valued at £270 or more. We have asked Anpost to use the correct process for the labelling of returned items to help customers understand why their items have been returned. We have also asked for tracking events to reflect the operational processing of items (rejection by customs) so customers can see where items are and if they’re being returned to the UK.
    • In particular, we are seeking clarification on what appear to be new requirements surrounding HS codes, which have not been previously communicated to Royal Mail or other country postal authorities.

If asked whether we are aware of specific issues to do with HS Codes and Prohibited Items

    • HS codes are required as part of being compliant electronic customs data and on customs declarations (CN22/23). But, we are being advised by Irish Customs Authorities that they require a 10-digit HS codes (your customer may only be providing 6/8 digits at the moment). We are urgently seeking clarification on this as it is not an EU-wide requirement for items travelling via postal systems to be declared at 10 digits.

· We are also experiencing items being returned as rejected by customs which are being stated as prohibited. These cover items different to those already advertised and which existed before 1 July 2021. In particular, these new requirements seem to prohibit goods which use HS codes starting with the following numbers –

33 – essential oils and resinoids; perfumery, cosmetic or toilet preparations

39 – Plastics and articles thereof

    • Items are usually prohibited at a much more specific level than this, rather than covering a whole category of items. We are urgently seeking clarification on why this approach has been taken so we can better advise customers.

Updating our Advice to Customers

We know how important it is for customers to have all the information they need to ship internationally and meet the needs of their customers. As soon as we are in a position to provide updated guidance, we will do so, in order that customers can ship with confidence.



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