Knowledge Centre

Case Studies

icon arrow Go back

Shipping to TLS from abroad

icon arrow Back

We understand that the thought of shipping lenses to us can be quite daunting, however our team at TLS are here to assist you on the basics of how to ship your lenses to us safely and correctly to avoid any customs issues that may arise.

The first step to shipping your lenses is to make sure they are packaged up safely and securely.

I’ve never shipped before, what paperwork do I need?

If shipping from outside of the UK, you will need a shipping invoice to go along with your lenses.

A shipping invoice tells customs and the receiver (TLS) who the goods belong to, and what is in the box / case.

The information you need on your shipping invoice is the below:

  • Sender / Exporter Address (Yourself)
  • Receiver / Importer Address (TLS)
  • Description of the goods
  • Value
  • Reason for export
  • Dimensions
  • Weight
  • Incoterm
  • Commodity Code
  • EORI Number (If in the EU)
  • EIN Number (If in the USA)

Please see below a brief description of these details:

Description of the goods

•    We would recommend using the description “Lenses for Film Cameras” or “Film Lenses for Camera Equipment”.


•    This is how much your lenses are worth, please do not under value your lenses when shipping to us. If they were to get lost or damaged the courier/freight forwarder you use to ship your goods with will only be responsible for the value that you declare. 

For example if your lens is worth £5,000.00 but you declare it as £250.00 then they will only be liable for the £250.00 declared value. This will also depend on the insurance taken out when shipping to TLS.

Reason for export

•    As we provide a rehousing and repair service, we recommend sending your lenses to us under “Repair and Return” terms when booking your goods with your selected courier


•    This will be the size of your box/case. 

•    Length x Width x Height (LxWxH) - this can be in either inches or centimetres


•    This is how heavy your goods are

•    This can be in either pounds or kilograms


•    An Incoterm defines the trade contract responsibilities and liabilities between a buyer and a seller.

We recommend that you ship your goods via DAP Terms.

What are DAP Terms?

DAP “Delivered at Place” - This means the goods are delivered to the place you declare on your paperwork. As you are sending your goods to us, TLS is located in the town Barwell. Your terms should look like the below:

“DAP – Barwell – As per incoterms 2020”

DAP means the responsibility of the goods is of the exporter/sender, this includes insurance, but the duties and taxes are the responsibility of the receiver/importer (TLS).

Commodity Code

•    Commodity codes are internationally recognised reference numbers. A code describes a specific product when importing or exporting goods.

The code we recommend is: 9002110090

•    However, depending on the trade agreement with your country, the code can differ slightly, if you’re unsure please feel free to contact us via  or calling our office on +44 (0)1455 848411.

EORI Number (If in the EU)

•    Also known as an “Economic Operators Registration and Identification” number. An EORI number is mandatory for customs clearance in the customs territory of the European Union.

EIN Number (If in the USA)

•    The term employer identification number (EIN) refers to a unique identifier that is assigned to a business entity so that it can easily be identified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

EINs are commonly used by employers for the purpose of reporting taxes. The number is made up of nine digits and is formatted as XX-XXXXXXX. Businesses can apply for EINs directly through the IRS, which usually issues them immediately.

How will TLS return my lenses?

We will return your lenses to you via your own courier account, or charge a fee for shipping.

What will the TLS export paperwork show?

For both rehousing and servicing your lenses will have the same information as per the shipping paperwork tab.

The only differences will be the below:

1) Value of the goods. As we are repairing / rehousing your goods, we will have to declare the value of the service per lens.

For example, if you declare your lens as £2,500.00 upon sending to us, and the repair/rehousing cost is £4,500.00, the total value of the goods will show as £7,000.00

2) If Metal work is being returned, we will weigh them and take the value from the weight. We currently calculate this at £2.70 per Kilo:

We will then take this value out of the incoming value. 

For example:

3.00Kg metal work will show £8.10 - Incoming Value: £1,500.00 – £8.10 = £1,491.90

This would mean that the metalwork value is contained within the incoming value. We must declare this as it is a legal requirement by customs to do so. 

Please see our shipping document example to see a live example of this. 

Sample - Shipping Invoice Sample - shipping invoice.pdf PDF 56.38 KB Download

Can you under value/under declare my lenses when shipping back to me?

I don’t want to pay higher duties/taxes.

Unfortunately, not, we must declare the import value plus the rehousing/repair value. We are legally obliged to do this. 

If we under declare your goods, this is classed as fraud under our governing body. This poses the risk of a hefty fine and the potential to lose our trading license.

Can I ship under a Carnet?

Servicing – Yes 

Rehousing – No

Why can’t I bring my lenses through on a Carnet if I’m having them rehoused?

A Carnet is a customs licence authorizing the temporary importation of goods. They usually have up to a year to return the goods to their original country.

Due to the rehousing process the lenses do not fall under the Carnet terms and conditions. Our governing website HMRC states the below:

“Goods should be meant for return to the country you first exported them from. You cannot process or repair them other than routine upkeep to keep them in their original condition”

Servicing the lenses falls under a Carnet perfectly as no amendments are being made, however this is not the case for rehousing. 

If goods are brought under a Carnet for the rehousing process, customs can stop and challenge the goods upon inspection, this runs the risk of a tax fee that is payable on the spot. 

Can I drop my lenses off in person?

Yes of course, please contact our customer service team to let them know when you would like to arrange to have your lenses dropped off to us. 

Can I collect my lenses in person?

Yes you can, however you have to pay 20% VAT on your invoice for the goods, this is applicable for any item in the UK and cannot be avoided if you wish to collect in the UK. 

Is there a way I can avoid the UK VAT charge when I collect?

Unfortunately, not, however, for customers based outside of the UK, if proof of export out of the UK is provided to us then we can issue a refund of the VAT. There is a time limit of 3 Months for this.

You can read more of the regulations for 0% VAT Rating below: 

If I ship my lenses to you from outside of the UK, can you forward them onto a UK address when complete?

Yes, we can do this for you, however your final invoice will have the 20% VAT added to it as the goods are staying within the UK.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service team via  or calling our office on +44 (0)1455 848411.

Last updated 07 May 2024
'To inspire through innovation, passion and quality'
'To inspire through innovation, passion and quality'