New electronic pre-advice customs data requirements

I recently got a phone call from Royal Mail to alert me to some changes on how international packages going outside the UK needed to be handled.

They provided the following link

As I understand it this applies to all international carriers, regardless of where you are based - not just Royal Mail in the UK.

The summary is that all customs data needs to be sent electronically to the destination country before the package arrives.

This includes all the customer contact information, your contact information, and the various customs information such as item value, weight, HS code, country of origin.

It will also add what looks like a tracking code onto the label so that customs can link the physical package to the electronic data

The deadline is April 2018, although Royal Mail are saying some countries (Russia, US, Brazil and China) are already using it and causing some problems if its not provided.

I've opened a ticket with LinnWorks, but not entirely sure they are fully aware of it either.

To me this seems like a major change, but I've seen very little about it anywhere. I'm wondering if this is because people haven't heard about it, or because its a non-issue for them.

Has anyone else heard of this? If you know about it, do you think its going to be easily handled, or is there any concern about it? It seems like getting the CN22/23 printed is practically essential - we hand-write them currently. How do others handle this?

We mostly send things using Royal Mail, and they are generally quite low value so adding more work to each item isn't ideal!

2 people have this question


We have got all the specifications for this from Royal Mail and will implement new pre-advise file in the near future. We will contact all our customers if there are any changes that you need to do from your side. 

We are in constant contact with Royal Mail about all the requirements, so you shouldn't worry about the upcoming change or any deadlines. 

Best regards,

Linnworks Support Team

Hi Kevin

We heard to this also today.

We created a CN22 template recently on our desktop version templates, which is automatically prefilled with the required info from the order. We simply print one off and attach it to the parcel. Writing them by hand is easy but we now get as many parcels going abroad and this saves us time.

Hi Salvatore,

Do you add HS codes onto the CN22, and if so, do you have sell lots of different types (i.e. different HS codes) in the same package?

Great to hear from someone who's ahead of us on this!


Hi Kevin

Sorry we don't use the HS codes.

Hi Anton, Salvatore. I'm bumping this topic as I can't find any specific articles yet about royal mail pre-advice and customs CN22 / CN23 labels on Linnworks support pages. I assume there isn't a solution in place quite yet? And we will be notified what / when we have to take any action in order to print the pre-advice labels? I'm guessing new print label templates will be needed with the electronic data passed to it, as specified by royal mail here? (pages 5, 6, 7) -

This has become an issue for us already with those countries - China, Russia, Brazil, USA - causing delayed or missing items, notified by our customers. And out royal mail account manager has been making this front and centre for us as an issue. Is there an expected date by which the pre-advice requirement from royal mail will be satisfied by Linnworks to their customers? Many thanks.

I received this response from a Linnworks support ticket on 25th September:

"Hello, Thank you for waiting. Here is an update I have received from the shipping team manager:

"The preadvice is a file we send to Royal Mail along with the filed manifest. It contains the consignment data and additional options such as SMS and Email notifications etc. They use it to know what is being sent through their system and for OBA they use it for billing. The electronic customs data is a new thing which we have not implemented yet, its due by next year so we have a little while yet before we have to  implement it. There is a development process currently going on."

So I guess just watch and wait.


I thought I'll post an update here as well.

CN22 can now be automatically generated for non-EU shipments. To enable CN22 form, go to Shipping > Integrations > OBA Services > Edit:

Please note, that CN22 option needs to be enabled for each service separately.

CN22 will be auto-filled with items data stored in Linnworks.

You will also find new properties in OBA integration in Shipping > Integrations > OBA Properties:

TariffHarmonisationCode - commodity codes, that can be found here:

UnitCountryOfOrigin - 3 letters manufacturer country ISO code

These properties can now be used to include customs data into your electronic pre-advice file. 

An article on how to import extended properties can be found here:

I've added in a feature request regarding the country of origin as I presume most linnworks users already have a ISO 2 code attribute for country of origin for their Amazon listings , so to have an extra attribute for the ISO 3 code seems a bit silly if Linnworks could automatically convert in the backend before submsision to Royal Mail

Hello Anthony,

Electronic pre-advice data was implemented on January 30th, please refer to my earlier post.

Sorry I saw that and deleted my post accordingly but you beat me to it :-)

Thanks, we'll get working on this right away!

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