Royal Mail will require electronic pre-advice data by 2019

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To comply with overseas customs requirements, Royal Mail are updating its shipping platforms to enable senders to provide electronic pre-advice data to receiving countries. By providing this information, recipients can also receive free parcel notifications (depending on the in-country service) and help overseas postal services to contact them in case of problems with their parcel.

As well as complying with upcoming Universal Postal Union legislation, providing electronic pre-advice data can enable the seamless delivery of overseas goods. The USA, for example, reserves the right to refuse items that are not accompanied by data and China and Russia are both prioritising pre-advised items. Royal Mail is giving senders and recipients a head start by ensuring they are ready to provide data as soon as possible.

Electronic pre-advice is information you provide electronically about the sender, the receiver and the goods you are sending abroad. For customs, electronic pre-advice data should include:

  • Sender details (name, address, telephone number and email)
  • Recipient details (name, address – including destination country)
  • Item details (description, quantity, weight, value of contents, postage and insurance cost)
  • Trade Tariff (Harmonised System or HS) Code and country of origin of contents which you can find at

For enhanced product features pre-advice should include the recipient mobile number and/or email address.

Electronic pre-advice timelines

In summer 2017, Royal Mail consulted with customers to understand what timelines might be realistic to be able to provide electronic pre-advice data. Royal Mail received over 300 individual comments before making the decision not to make provision of this data mandatory by 1st April 2018 as proposed but to provide advice to support and incentives as required to ensure that customers are able to provide it by 1st January 2019.

Electronic pre-advice with Click & Drop

Click & Drop is Royal Mail’s newest shipping platform and allows you to enter the required information and also print the right labels and International barcode for your parcel.

NetDespatch Ltd will also be Customs ready by April 2018 but if you use other third party Royal Mail integrations you’ll need to speak to your supplier for their integration plans.

6 Responses

  1. It’s a shame that Royal Mail (ideally backed by the government) aren’t using their considerable leverage to get something in return from these countries that are demanding pre-advice data.

    In particular, of the first 4 countries where it’s being implemented, only the United States offers Tracking; China, Russia and Brazil are all destinations we have stopped shipping to because they offer no tracking and deliveries all too frequently don’t make it to the other end in a provable fashion.

    Royal Mail should insist that countries receiving pre-advice data should provide full tracking and make the data available to Royal Mail in a format where it can be integrated with the RM tracking webpage.

  2. Seems a bit of an ordeal but will have to try via Click and Drop. Anybody having a nightmare sending to Italy recently? Would be good if this new system would help but I think Italy is one of those countries that is just too much stress to send to.

  3. How is this going to work with Amazon sales, for which the buyer’s e-mail address, and frequently their mobile number, is unknown?

    BTW you can get tracked post to Russia, and tracked+signed to Brazil. Though recent tracking of an item to Russia merely served to confirm that the Russian postal authorities are almost certainly corrupt!

  4. Russia China and Brazil. I only use dedicated transport now. Costs a fortune but the customers know their delivery services are so corrupt they are willing to pay to guarantee delivery.


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