Assessing what you can and cannot take or bring with you is one of the first steps in moving your belongings into or outside the UK. An item that might seem common these days, like a cordless phone, could result in your shipment being stopped, unpacked, and held in customs while the contraband is removed, which not only causes stress but also costs time and money. We advise asking as many questions as you can before packing everything into your package.
Several products are forbidden if you’re returning to the UK, you can find a list of them on the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/moving-to-uk
In general, it is in your interest not to import the following items:
- Firearms & ammunition
- Inflammable goods & substances
- Plants & plant material
- Foodstuffs, perishables, or otherwise
- Narcotics and dangerous goods
- Offensive materials
- Alcohol & Tobacco
You must complete the ToR01 form online, print it off, and post it to HMRC to request permission to bring your possessions, pets, automobiles, or vessels from abroad.
Before beginning to move any personal property to the UK, HMRC strongly advises that you obtain approval. HMRC is aware that there may be many questions you are unable to answer at the time of application, but if you are transparent and provide as much information as you can, your approval should come very quickly.
You often do not need to submit a formal declaration when bringing items into or out of the UK if they are for personal use. Private vehicles that have previously been to the UK, as well as personal items and gifts transported in luggage or driven in a car, are examples of these products.
Most personal items can be declared orally or through a statement of conduct. Despite being less complicated than other techniques, these methods for reporting your items are nevertheless considered to be legal declarations.
A declaration by conduct emerges when you move your goods past a customs inspection point at an airport or port (including roll-on/roll-off sites), which is typically a green channel marked “nothing to declare.” You can simply:
- pass past a customs control station with the goods
- drive past a customs control point with the goods inside your vehicle
- continue your onward journey if there are no customs control points (this is still deemed to be a declaration by conduct)
An oral declaration can be made by passing through a red channel (or using a red phone, where available) at a port or airport, and verbally telling a customs officer:
- what the goods are
- what the purpose of the goods is
- who you’re making this declaration for (yourself or on behalf of someone else)
When a private individual moves their nation of residence from the EU to the UK and brings their personal belongings and household items with them, they are eligible for the transfer of residence relief. In order to be eligible, the applicant must have resided outside the United Kingdom for 12 months or more and, barring student or marriage-related claims, must have owned and used the goods for at least six months prior to importation.
Before the products are distributed, HMRC requires form ToR1 to be filled out online. Once the goods are delivered, there are some usage restrictions in place for a 12-month period. Imported products from secondary and vacation residences in the EU are not exempt.
When they arrive in the UK, items that are not eligible for transfer of residency exemption may be subject to tax and VAT based on their original purchase price.
Duty and VAT rates differ depending on the kind of goods involved; common examples include:
- Vehicles are subject to VAT at the regular rate of 20% and duty at 10% (except for classic vehicles). This is based on the purchase price for new cars, however, used cars are taxed according to their value in Glass’s guide.
- Antiques: The importation of original works of art and antiques (100 years old or older) is duty-free, although there is a 5% VAT charge.
- Collector’s items, such as vintage automobiles, may also be eligible for duty-free and VAT-free importation at a rate of 5%, however, this requires a particular HMRC judgment that the commodity qualifies.
You will need to go to the following https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-transfer-of-residence-tor-relief-tor01 and fill out the online form before shipping to get the right information for when the goods get imported to the UK.
You can also complete the declaration via CDS-ready custom declaration software like tradePhlo which lets you complete a customs declaration starting at £7 per declaration and in just 10 – 15 minutes. To learn more about the process of submitting a declaration through TradePhlo, click here.