top of page

Brexit Basics


Brexit Update: September 2021

Hello Friends!

What a challenging time it has been for everyone in the last year. Our team are privileged and proud to be trusted with film sent to us from all over the globe, we love our worldwide network of celluloid film fans and the work we all create and share together.  

Cinelab Film & Digital’s location is very near Heathrow Airport and parcels/cans of film arrive with us from filmmaking friends around the world many times a day, every day.  There are no issues/time delays - providing a customs invoice is completed.

See below for more information.  Thank you for making the effort to work with us, it is appreciated.  



How does 'Brexit' affect sending film to Cinelab Film & Digital?

  • Unfortunately, as of 1st January 2021, the UK is no longer part of the EU Customs Union and the Single Market

  • This means ALL goods moving between the EU and the UK are now either an Import or Export and Customs Controls are required Just the same as it would be when you import or export to/from the rest of the world. Please Note There is NO Duty on Film

  • We want to do all we can to help and ensure extra charges are not unnecessarily charged

Will it be more expensive for me to send film to Cinelab Film & Digital now?

  • No, it shouldn't be.  A Customs Invoice is required (which can be handled by your Courier) and there is a change in costs on delivery.  These are UK Import VAT/Admin Fee/Customs Clearance fee.

  • The additional charges on your delivery costs (UK Import VAT/Admin Fee/Customs Clearance) Cinelab Film & Digital will pay, if the correct process is followed as below. Please Note There is NO Duty on Film.

What has changed?

  • All movement of goods between the EU and UK (and vice versa) are now classified as Imports and Exports.

  • Customs Invoices are required for the movement of all goods between the EU and UK (and vice versa).

  • All goods are subject to Customs Duty and Import VAT. Please Note There is NO Duty on Film.

  • All goods carry a Customs Clearance/Admin/Handling fee

  • All clients need an EORI number (unique identification assigned by Customs)

  • There are revised VAT rules: European Commission VAT Guide


Revised VAT Guide - Interesting Facts!

  • VAT is no longer charged at the point of Sale (20%) in the UK and will no longer be shown on Cinelab Film & Digital invoices

  • VAT is now charged by the resident EU country at the point of Import

  • VAT is now charged from £0 - there are no exemptions to this

  • EU - Import VAT rate is charged is in line with the minimum EU VAT rate of 15% (at the resident country rate)

  • Import VAT and any Customs Clearance/Admin Fees are paid by the Freight company and recharged before goods are released.

Please Note: Northern Ireland - is subject to a limited set of EU rules related to the Single Market for goods and the Customs Union.

  • EU Customs Code applies to all goods entering or exiting Northern Ireland 

  • EU Customs Duties apply to goods entering Northern Ireland from any other part of the United Kingdom or any other third country - unless those goods are not at risk of moving on to the EU.  Please Note There is NO Duty on Film.

  • Protocol on Northern Ireland

How can Cinelab Film & Digital help? 

The extra paperwork (mostly be handled by your courier) and costs on delivery (see below) which Cinelab Film & Digital will pay, providing the correct process is followed.

  • Import VAT: Cinelab Film & Digital willpay and reclaim UK Import VAT - providing the correct process is followed. 

  • Duty: There is NO Duty on film, providing the correct information is given on the customs invoice. 

  • Admin Fee/Customs Clearance Charge: Cinelab Film & Digital will pay this charge, providing the correct process is followed. 

What is the best way to send my film?

  • Use an excellent freight forwarder/courier company as you normally would.  They move goods cross-border, offer customs services and complete most paperwork for the clearance of goods through customs, ensuring prompt delivery. 

  • If you have raw stock or unprocessed negative that cannot be x-rayed and requires special screening, they can arrange air freight for speed and security, fast clearance and delivery to us door to door.          

  • You must ensure correct commodity codes, descriptions and EORI number is given to the courier       

Can you recommend Freight/Couriers Companies?

If you have great contacts to recommend please let us know!

What information is needed for the Customs Invoice?

  • Your Full registered Address

  • EORI Number/VAT Number

  • Full Description of Items and Metres of Film

  • HS Code/Commodity Code

  • Value of Goods for Customs purposes

Just the same as it would be when you import or export to/from the rest of the world.

Example: Dynamic Freight Customs Invoice


I don't have an EORI number (Business senders only)

EORI numbers are issued by your resident country, if you don’t have one, your goods will not clear Customs

. Getting an EORI number is straightforward,.

  • EU Residents - Need an EORI number? You can Apply Here It should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.


Description of Goods  

When sending your precious exposed negative/unprocessed film please use the official Customs description:

Description: "Cinematographic Film Exposed But Not Developed".  


Correct Cinematographic Commodity Codes/HS Codes 

Commodity Codes/HS Codes are global customs freight codes and must be included in the Customs Declaration to clear goods through UK or EU customs.  Your courier/freighting company should know the correct codes, or you can provide the below. 


All Film Codes:

Exposed Negative/Unprocessed Film (Film being sent for development: 

IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Code is: 3704001000

Cinematographic film, exposed and developed, whether or not incorporating soundtrack or consisting only of soundtrack:

IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Code is: 3704001000

35mm/65mm Processed/Exposed

IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Code is: 3706102000

35mm Optical Sound Track Negative

IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Code is: 3706102000

Other Positives - 35mm Film Prints

IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Code is: 3706109900

Other - 35mm Film Test/Wedge Test

IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Code is: 3706109900

Other, of a width of Less than 10mm - 8mm, Super 8mm

IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Code is: 3706909100

Other, 10 mm or more - 16mm, Super 16mm

IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Code is: 3706909900

More Information:

More Information:

Hard Drives 

We recommend that you DO NOT send us hard drives from overseas for your projects to try and save money.  Freight, Import VAT and customs clearance/admin will need to be paid.  Cinelab Film & Digital will not cover these charges.  If you choose to send, the IMPORT Commodity Code/HS Codes is: 8471705000

More Information:

Value film for Customs Purposes  

Customs assess the amount of TAX/Clearance to paid based on information provided on the Customs Invoice, where the goods were sent from, the type of contents, their value and the weight of the package.  We are advised to list the value of the physical film.

Why is Import VAT Charged? 

Import VAT is designed to make imports from outside the EU,  where they are not subject to VAT, no less expensive than goods that are already in the EU.  By charging import VAT,  EU and UK goods are supposedly on the same commercial footing. 

Import VAT:  Cinelab Film & Digital will pay and can reclaim UK Import VAT by accounting for each transaction through a UK scheme for Postponed VAT accounting (PVA).  We can only reclaim with correct and proper evidence/ paper trail. 

  • Goods are imported for use in a business

  • The business has a GB EORI number and this is used on the customs declaration (this is usually linked with the UK VAT number)

  • The businesses VAT number is shown on the customs declaration

We will issue you with the correct EORI number/VAT number at the point of confirmation


Example of Duty/UK Import VAT calculation

·     Value of Film €100 + Freight Charge to the UK €25 = €125

·     Total value for Duty €125 x 0% Import Duty for film = Total Import Duty payable €0

·     Total UK Import Duty and 20% VAT Charges payable on arrival = €25


Freight Admin Fee/Customs Clearance

As Duty and Import VAT are paid on your behalf by the Freight/Courier company - an admin fee/customs clearance is charged.  This is normally a small percentage (of the Duty and Import VAT together) and/or a minimum charge. Cinelab Film & Digital will pay this charge on your behalf.  We reserve the right to recharge in full and reserve the right to change this at any time.

Can I bring Film in my luggage/carry on?

If you are travelling and bringing film to Cinelab Film & Digital - let us know in advance. We can help with the commercial invoice that will be required for you to clear customs quickly and correctly! See notes below. 

Commercial goods also known as 'Merchandise in Baggage are goods where: 

  • A commercial transport operator does not carry them for you or you do not pay them to carry them for you

  • You’ve travelled to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) carrying goods in your accompanied baggage

  •  You must declare all commercial goods.  And make either: 

  • a full import declaration

  • a simple online declaration

  • an oral declaration at the ‘goods to declare’ channel or the red point phone in the customs area at the port

  • You have 5 days to declare the goods before you arrive in Great Britain if you make a simple online declaration.


Cinelab Film and Digital can provide our EORI number to pay the Import VAT and Admin fee.  By doing so it means a full declaration will be required by Customs:  Full declaration:

Can I still send my film by Post?

Sending to the UK will require you to complete a customs declaration form for anything you send that contains goods. You will need to check with your resident postal service/online. The same rules apply, you will need to provide full details for the Customs invoice, what you are sending to Great Britain, the value of the item and its contents.

Thankyou. Vielen Dank, Dank je, Blagodarya ti, Hvala vam, Efharisto, Děkuji, Tak skal du have, Aitäh, Kiitos, Merci, Danke, Efcharistó, Köszönöm, Go raibh maith agat, Grazie, Paldies, Ačiū, Merci, Grazzi, Dank je, Dziękuję Ci, Obrigada/Obrigado, Mulțumesc. Ďakujem, Gracias and Tack. 

bottom of page