The UK Customs Declaration Form Explained

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The UK Customs Declaration Form Explained

Are you moving to the UK? Whether you are a UK citizen or an American citizen, there are specific guidelines and procedures that you must adhere to when relocating your residence to the United Kingdom.

What’s on this page?

01 | What is a customs declaration the UK?
02 | Can I bring my car to the UK?
03 | What is a customs relief?
04 | What is temporary storage and how I can use it?
05 | What cannot be shipped to the UK?

What is a customs declaration UK?

If you are considering transferring your home to the UK from a non-EU country, you may be eligible to apply for Transfer of Residence (ToR) tax relief. This relief is designed to facilitate the importation of your personal belongings without incurring excessive import taxes or duties. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for ToR tax relief when moving to the UK from outside the EU:

  1. Determine your eligibility: Before proceeding with the application, make sure you meet the requirements for ToR tax relief. Generally, you must have owned and used the household goods and personal belongings for at least six months before the move. Additionally, you should intend to use these items in your new UK residence.

  2. Gather necessary documents: Collect all the relevant documents to support your application. This may include proof of residence in the country of origin, ownership documents for the goods, inventory lists, and evidence of employment or study in the UK.

  3. Complete the ToR01 application form: Visit the official HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website to download and fill out the ToR01 application form. Provide accurate and detailed information regarding your personal circumstances, including your contact details, intended UK address, and a comprehensive list of the items you plan to import.

  4. Submit the application: Once you have completed the application form, submit it to the HMRC along with the supporting documents. Ensure that all the information provided is thorough and accurate to avoid any delays or complications.

  5. Await the decision: The HMRC will review your application and inform you of their decision in due course. If approved, you will receive a Unique Reference Number (URN), which you will need to provide to the shipping company handling your relocation.

  6. Arrange the shipment: With the URN in hand, you can now proceed with organizing the shipment of your household goods to the UK. It’s advisable to engage a reputable international moving company experienced in handling UK imports to ensure a smooth process.

  7. Declaration and customs clearance: Upon arrival in the UK, you’ll need to declare your goods to the UK customs authorities. Provide the necessary documentation, including the URN and a detailed inventory, to facilitate the clearance process. You may be required to pay any applicable customs duties or taxes on restricted or prohibited items.

It’s important to note that the rules and regulations surrounding international relocations can change, so it’s recommended to consult the HMRC website or seek professional advice to ensure compliance with the latest requirements.

Can I bring my car to the UK?

Are you considering bringing your car to the UK? While it is generally not possible to permanently import automobiles with the steering column on the left (with the exception of certified antiques that require specific permission), there are certain exceptions for pleasure craft, also known as private vessels.

Read more: Overseas Car Shipping from USA

What is a customs relief?

Customs relief refers to the exemption from paying import duties or taxes on specific goods when they are being brought into a country. In the context of UK relocation, customs relief is a provision that allows individuals who are moving to the UK from outside the UK or any EU country to import a container filled with their personal effects and used household goods without paying import duties.

To qualify for customs relief, you typically need to meet certain criteria, such as having lived outside of the UK or any EU country for at least the last 12 consecutive months. The exemption allows you to import goods within 12 months of permanently relocating to the UK. It’s important to note that the goods you import should have been in your possession for the past six months.

It is worth mentioning that both air shipments and marine shipments can qualify for customs relief, allowing flexibility in choosing the means of transportation for your belongings.

Additionally, it’s important to be aware that there may be a separate tax relief available when you are returning goods to the UK. For example, if you have tools or equipment related to a professional trade that you took with you to another country, such as musical instruments and their equipment, you may be subject to taxation when moving back to the UK.

To ensure compliance and understand the specific details regarding customs relief and tax exemptions, it is recommended to consult the relevant customs authorities or seek professional advice in order to properly navigate the process.

What is temporary storage and how I can use it?

Temporary storage refers to the option of storing your belongings for a certain period of time when you are relocating to the UK but haven’t finalized your living arrangements yet. This service allows you to keep your items in storage, either at one of our warehouses in the United States or at a partner’s warehouse in the UK.

There are distinct advantages to each storage option. If you choose to have your belongings sent to a warehouse in the UK, although it may be slightly more expensive, you can ensure that your goods have already cleared customs. This means that you can leave them in storage in the UK for as long as needed without worrying about the 12-month window for customs relief closing. Additionally, when you decide to retrieve your belongings, the process will be faster and more convenient. Please note that you must provide a residential address in the UK for this option.

On the other hand, if you have a specific schedule and know the date within 12 months of your arrival in the UK when you will need your goods, it may be more suitable to store your belongings in one of our warehouses in the USA. This allows for better coordination and ensures that your items will be ready for delivery according to your specified timeframe.

It’s important to mention that even if you are not sending a shipment to the UK, you will still need to complete a form related to temporary storage. This form will be followed by a transfer of residence form as part of the relocation process. Upon completing these procedures, you will receive important information that you will need to include in future customs declarations.

To determine the most appropriate storage option and ensure a smooth customs process, it is recommended to consult with one of our relocation specialists here at SDC International Shipping who can assist you with filling out the required forms and provide guidance on any further customs requirements.


What cannot be shipped to the UK?

The UK generally permits the import of most goods, and there are relatively few restrictions. However, there are certain items that cannot be shipped to the UK due to their illegal nature or potential harm. Here is a list of items that are generally prohibited:

  1. Illegal substances: This includes illicit drugs, narcotics, and controlled substances.

  2. Offensive weapons: Items that are designed or intended to cause harm or injury, such as firearms, ammunition, knives, and weapons disguised as everyday objects.

  3. Pepper spray: Self-defense sprays or similar products containing irritants or substances that can cause harm.

  4. Pornography: Explicit adult materials that violate the obscenity laws in the UK.

It is important to note that if you are importing goods for commercial purposes, such as raw materials or industry-specific tools, they may not be considered as household goods. These items may be subject to taxation, and it is necessary to declare them correctly. Clients who accurately declare all imported goods are less likely to encounter issues. Depending on the nature of the goods, value-added tax (VAT) may apply. The current VAT rate in the UK is 20%.

To ensure compliance with customs regulations and avoid any potential problems, it is advisable to consult the UK customs authorities or seek guidance from a professional shipping service prior to shipping your items. If you’re working with us, we will provide you with the most up-to-date information and advice based on your specific circumstances.


The UK Customs Declaration Form Explained

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