Temporary Admission

Customs Procedures | A quick guide to using Temporary Admission to avoid paying duty


With a Temporary Admission authorisation, you can keep imported goods in the UK for up to two years before re-exporting them. You will be exempted from paying the import duty or VAT on these items. To use Temporary Admission, you must request authorisation. 

Some examples of such goods can be professional equipment, auction items, and items related to exhibitions or demonstrations. Generally, you will be required to provide security to cover the import duties ordinarily levied on the products.

Who can use Temporary Admission

Only the person who uses the goods or arranges for them utilising on their behalf may seek relief. Typically, this will be the person listed as the consignee. Suppose the consignee is not the user or the person for whom the items are being used. In that case, they must ensure that the individual requesting relief is recognised adequately during the importation process.

Time limits for Temporary Admission

Certain items have a time limit before re-exporting. Following are some of the examples of variation in the time limits of the respective goods:

  • Rail Transport: 12 Months
  • Commercial Transport: over 2 years if approved by HMRC
  • Private road transport for students: no more than 2 years or as long as the student stays in the UK, for the sole purpose of study
  • Private road transport for people working for a set period: over 2 years if approved by HMRC
  • Private road transport (everything else including saddled animals and their vehicles): 6 months
  • Private air transport: 6 months
  • Private sea and canal transport: 18 months
  • Containers, including equipment and accessories: 12 months
  • Goods used for tests, experiments or demonstrations without financial gain: 6 months
  • Temporary part or machine while you repair the main one: 6 months
  • Goods delivered by the owner for inspection to someone in the UK who has the right to purchase them after inspection: 6 months
  • Animals owned by someone living outside the UK: between 1 and 2 years
  • Other goods imported occasionally: 3 months

Transport for hiring by professionals

Road transport hired and utilised in the United Kingdom by an individual who has signed a contract with a professional car hire agency must be re-exported within three weeks. If transport is briefly imported into the UK and then returned to a professional hire provider in the country, you have six months to re-export it. When the vehicle is re-hired by a professional hire service to people, you will have six months after the vehicle enters the UK and three weeks after the re-hiring contract finishes to re-export outside the United Kingdom.

Moving goods

  • Moving your goods within the same authorisation: This can be accomplished by simply marking the new location of the goods in your records.
  • Moving your goods to another authorisation holder: If you wish to transfer your goods to another bearer of a Temporary Admission authorisation, make a notation in your records. This note should indicate the date the products were relocated, as well as the recipient’s name and authorisation number. When the items are received, the receiver must make a declaration to discharge your liability.

Temporary Admission with partial relief

If your items do not appear on the list of eligible commodities or the use for which you intend to use them is not covered, you may still qualify for a tariff reduction.

You will be charged 3% of the full duty rate per month if your items are:

  • intended for re-export from the UK
  • not going to be changed or altered, except for any routine maintenance that might be required
  • not consumable goods
  • not liable to import VAT

When the items are imported, you must provide a full guarantee for the duty. Each month that the goods remain in the UK, HMRC will deduct duty payments from your guarantee. Any remaining balance will be refunded when the goods are sold.

Disposing of your goods

You may dispose of your goods in the following ways:

  • re-export your goods outside the United Kingdom
  • declare the goods for inward processing (if you wish to process them further than repairing them) or customs warehousing (for example, if you want to store them before re-export)
  • release them to free circulation, but you will then be required to pay the duty and import VAT suspended at the time of import.
  • alternatively, you may destroy the products, but you must notify HMRC first.

If you had to obtain an import licence for your goods, you might need authorisation to re-export them.

Who can apply for Temporary Admission Authorisation

You may apply if you are the person who will be utilising the items. Using Temporary Admission in the United Kingdom will depend on whether you are a resident of the UK or not. Whether you use Temporary Admission in Northern Ireland is determined by your location within or outside the EU’s customs territory.

Additionally, you must be financially sound and have a track record of adhering to customs standards and possess (or be able to maintain) the necessary records.

Before you apply

Before you start the application process, you will need to have the following information to hand:

  • your Economic Operator Registration Indicator (EORI) number 
  • details of where your records are or will be held
  • how the goods will be received – for example, imported as freight or post
  • where the goods will be declared to Temporary Admission
  • whether you will be using simplified declarations or not
  • details of your guarantee (if applicable)
  • where your goods will be used
  • how long the goods will be in the UK

Types of Temporary Authorisations

There are 6 types of authorisation you can get to use Temporary Admission:

  • full
  • by declaration
  • an authorisation that covers Northern Ireland and the EU
  • retrospective
  • oral declaration
  • crossing the border ‘by any other act’

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