Guide to the CN23 Customs Form for International Shipping

A CN23 form is a mandatory customs form that must be attached to package shipments outside the EU, which are transported with a postal carrier.

Chantal van Thiel

Chantal has been writing about logistics topics for almost two decades and has worked for major international carriers.

What is a CN23 customs form?

The c23 form contain information about the goods being transported. This includes which goods are packaged, the value of the goods, who the sender and recipient are, and which parties are involved in the transport.

Customs use these forms to maintain control over goods entering and leaving a country, in terms of taxes, safety, public health, and environment. Based on the Commercial Invoice, customs determine whether import duties must be paid on the goods.

International package shipments are often scanned. If the completed CN23 customs form does not match the contents of the package, the sender can expect a fine of up to 100% of the value.

Shipping packages internationally requires meticulous attention to customs regulations, especially when sending items outside the European Union (EU). The CN23 customs form is a critical document in this process, designed to provide detailed information about the package's contents to customs authorities worldwide. This guide delves into the purpose, requirements, and step-by-step instructions for filling out the CN23 form accurately to ensure your shipments are processed smoothly and efficiently.

Understanding the CN23 Customs Form

The CN23 form is a mandatory customs declaration for all parcels sent internationally with a value over €425 or weighing more than 2 kilograms. It serves as a detailed invoice that accompanies your shipment, allowing customs officials to assess whether duties and taxes are applicable. The form covers information about the sender, recipient, description of goods, their value, weight, and origin country, alongside any additional charges related to the shipment.

When is the CN23 Form Required?

Any shipment sent outside the EU that surpasses the thresholds for weight and value must include a CN23 form. This requirement ensures that all necessary details are available for customs inspection, facilitating a quicker clearance process. The form is particularly important for items that might be subject to taxes, duties, or special import regulations in the destination country.

How to Fill Out the CN23 Form

Filling out the CN23 form requires attention to detail to avoid delays, returns, or penalties. Each section should be completed with accurate information regarding the shipment, including:

  • Sender and Receiver Details: Full names, addresses, and contact information.
  • Description of Goods: A clear, detailed description of each item in the package.
  • Value and Currency: The declared value of the goods and the currency used.
  • Weight: The gross weight of the package.
  • Country of Origin: The country where each item was produced or manufactured.
  • HS Tariff Number: The Harmonized System (HS) code for classifying traded products.

Additionally, you must sign and date the form, declaring that all provided information is accurate and the package does not contain any prohibited items.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Common mistakes when completing the CN23 form include underdeclaring the value of items, providing vague descriptions, or omitting necessary details about the contents. Such errors can lead to fines, confiscation of the package, or delivery delays. Always ensure the information is comprehensive, truthful, and in compliance with the destination country's regulations.

Difference between the CN22 and CN23 Customs Forms?

Both CN22 and CN23 forms are mandatory for packages sent outside the EU with postal carriers. They provide detailed information about the shipped goods, such as type, value, sender, and recipient, helping customs authorities to assess and process shipments efficiently. The primary difference between the two forms relates to the weight and value of the shipment, with CN22 used for lighter, less valuable packages and CN23 for heavier, more valuable ones.


The CN23 customs form is an indispensable part of the international shipping process, ensuring that your packages comply with global customs regulations. By thoroughly completing the form and providing detailed information about your shipment, you can help prevent delays, avoid additional charges, and ensure a smooth delivery process. Remember, accuracy and transparency are key to successful international shipping.

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