Is my item considered a ‘document’ or ‘non-document’?

When sending or receiving goods overseas it’s important they are classified as either ‘document’ or ‘non-documents’ correctly.  There is some difference in paperwork, duty may be applicable to non-documents, and incorrectly classifying your goods may result in penalties being applied by customs and/or delay in delivery. 

The general definition of document and non-document is: 


  • Generally, paper of little to no commercial value – the item does not have any inherent value, it is simply a medium.  
    For example, business communications, company reports, proposals, application forms 


  • Any item that is not a document (as defined above), it has some sort of commercial value.  
    Obvious examples are things like toys, clothes, electronic goods etc but it also applies to paper goods like books and magazines which can be sold. 

The classification of certain items which seem to straddle the fence between the two categories can vary from country to country.  This includes goods such as CD’s, other small data storage devices (e.g. USBs), and brochures.  If you are sending these types of goods, it’s worth checking with us to confirm how it is classified by the country you are sending the item.  You can contact our international helpdesk directly by emailing or phoning 0800 655 010. 

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