How to send Christmas gifts between Germany and the UK after Brexit

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According to a recent poll, most Germans get annoyed at the sight of a “premature” Christmas cookie. While most people are just starting to put away their summer clothes, it’s hard to be faced with a row of gingerbread snowmen suddenly smiling at you at Aldi.

While we can certainly relate to this, the realities of Brexit mean it might pay off to think about Christmas a few months earlier this year. (Maybe the owners of these supermarkets had British gifts in mind when they filled the shelves with festive marzipan goodies in August?)

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In the old days, Britons in Germany often appreciated small family packages containing a taste of home – from homemade treats to products not readily available in Europe – but Brexit has made that type of thing much more complicated.

All types of packages – whether commercial or private – are affected by the changes to the rules that came into effect when the UK left the EU. In many cases, costs have increased due to customs fees and VAT requirements. In a few cases, products may no longer be shipped at all.

Since Brexit, sending gifts from the EU to the UK now costs more, and vice versa, it takes longer, and some items are unfortunately prohibited.

Here’s what you need to know when sending gifts between UK and Germany this Christmas.

UK to EU

In addition to having the correct postage, gift parcels sent from the UK to the EU require an additional customs declaration form attached.

This form asks for the contact details of the sender and recipient, whether the item is a gift or an item sent for sale (which may affect the level of duty payable) and a detailed description of what is there. inside – so, unfortunately, Christmas packages lose their element of surprise.

It should be noted that the new VAT rules on packages arriving from outside the EU have required some people receiving packages from the UK to pay a handling fee of € 6 and a VAT of 19% in Germany.

While gifts under € 45 are supposed to be exempt, the local has learned from some readers that they have been asked to pay the fee regardless – so it’s a good idea to make sure the gift is clearly marked as a gift on the customs form. .

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why Germans Are Charged For Receiving Small Packages From Outside The EU

The form is downloadable here. And the base prices are on the Royal Mail website here

Due to the Northern Ireland Protocol, these new rules do not apply to people sending packages to Europe from Northern Ireland.

Foodstuffs

Additional issues come into play if you plan to send food products from UK to EU – you may remember the outcry over the truckers’ ham and cheese sandwiches last January.

Importing animal products into the EU from a third country (that’s what the UK is now) is a complicated process and the rules apply to both businesses and to individuals – and prompted the closing of Marks & Spencer stores in France.

Strict EU phytosanitary rules mean that all imports of animal products technically fall under these rules, so sending a box of chocolates by post to France is now not allowed (due to the milk).

Packages containing prohibited animal products can be seized and destroyed at the border.

If you’re unsure, you can find a full – and slightly overwhelming – list of items you can and can’t send from the UK to Germany on the Post’s website. here.

EU to UK

New rules also affect the sending of parcels from EU countries like Germany to the UK.

As with sending parcels in the other direction, the customs declaration must be completed before sending. You can either do this at the post office or complete the online form on the website of Deutsche Post / DHL or another carrier if you frank your package in advance.

A man posts a letter in the snow in Magdeburg. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Jens wolf

If you haven’t released anything in the UK for a while, know that post-Brexit prices can dampen some of your party mood. Since Britain left the EU, it has been pushed into a new geographic category with Switzerland – and you should expect Swiss prices to match.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about sending mail between Germany and the UK after Brexit

For example, the smallest possible package will now cost you € 9 instead of € 5, while a large package weighing up to 20 kg will now cost you around € 50 to send, instead of € 32. (A complete list of the new postage rates can be found here.)

Unlike parcels sent to Switzerland, however, there is no option to pay extra to extradite postage to the UK, so be sure to post all Christmas gifts well in advance of the day. -same.

Foodstuffs

Here, at least, there is good news. UK rules are currently less restrictive than the EU’s, meaning that sending food parcels from France to the UK is slightly easier.

The UK government website currently lists the The UK has not placed any restrictions on dairy or meat for ‘personal’ imports food – although the usual rules on customs and duties still apply, and there are limits on the amounts that can be claimed as “personal”.

It means delicious Fly that you have collected from Netto must be accepted by UK customs authorities, provided it is properly packaged and not joined by an industrial container full of other marzipan-filled treats.


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