A step by step guide to import goods into the UK

A step by step guide to import goods into the UK


This is a quick guide on bringing goods into the UK from any country, including how much tax and duty you’ll need to pay and whether you need to get a licence or certificate.

Step 1

is to get your business ready to import. You need an EORI number that starts with GB to import goods into England, Wales or Scotland. You’ll need a new one if you have an EORI that does not begin with GB. You can obtain your EORI number via Gov.UK.

In addition to that, you will also need to check that the business sending you the goods can export to the UK. The business sending you the goods may need to make an export declaration in their country, and you may require licences or certificates to send goods to the UK. You will need to check that whoever is sending the goods can export them from their country.

Step 2

is to decide who will make customs declarations and transport the goods. You can hire someone to deal with customs and transport the goods for you or do it yourself. Most businesses that import goods use a transporter or customs agent. Customs-Declarations.UK is an intuitive and easy to use platform for efficiently filing your customs declarations on your own.

Step 3

is to find out the commodity code for your goods. You’ll need to include the commodity code on your import declaration. This will determine the rate of duty you need to pay and if you need an import licence. Your customs agent or transporter might be able to help you with this. In addition to that, you will need to work out the value of your goods. When you make your import declaration, you’ll need to include the value of your goods – this helps work out how much duty and VAT you’ll need to pay.

Step 4

will be to find out if you can reduce your Customs Duty. You may be able to pay less or no Customs Duty if the UK has a trade agreement with the country you’re importing from. You may also be able to reduce the amount of duty you pay based on what the goods are and what you plan to do with them. In addition to that, you will also need to determine if you can delay your Customs Duty.

Step 5

is to check if you need a licence or certificate for your goods. There are special rules, and you may need to get licences or certificates if you are importing items such as animals and animal products, plants and plant products, medicines, hazardous chemicals, nuclear material, guns, knives and swords.

Step 6

is to check the labelling, marking and marketing rules. For example, food, plant seeds and manufactured goods must follow specific standards to import and export.

Step 7

is to get your goods through customs. If you’ve appointed someone to deal with UK customs for you, they’ll make the declaration and get your items through the UK border.

Step 8

is to claim a VAT refund. If you’re VAT registered, you can claim back any VAT you paid on the goods you’ve imported. You’ll need your Import VAT Certificate (C79).

Step 9

is to keep invoices and records. You must keep commercial invoices and any customs paperwork records, including your Import VAT Certificate (C79). If you imported controlled goods, such as firearms, keep any paperwork showing who owns them.

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