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flag United Kingdom Import customs procedures in the United Kingdom

The information in this section is subject to change and regular updating during the UK's post-Brexit transition period. We will publish the updated information as soon as it becomes available.

Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
The Brexitguidance ended on 31 December 2020 and new rules applying for businesses and citizens in the EU and the UK came into force on 1 January 2021. Since 1 January 2021, businesses in England, Wales and Scotland must make customs declarations when importing goods from the EU, as well as checking that they have the appropriate import licences and certificates and finally obtain an EORI number to move goods between the EU and UK.

Since 1 January 2021, the UK applies the Guidance on tariffs on goods imported into the UK , which replaces the EU’s Common External Tariff. For more information about the tariffs applied to imports coming into the UK since 1 January 2021, please visit the UK government's website.

For an overview of the impact that the UK’s withdrawal from the Single Market and EU Customs Union will have in the areas of taxation and customs, consult the UK government's dedicated guidance Import, export and customs for businesses: detailed information. For further details on actions required from businesses to continue importing from EU countries, please visit the UK government platform as well as the European Commission's guidance EU-UK: A new relationship including sectorial guidance notices for different sectors and the guide ‘BREXIT Readiness Checklist’ for companies doing business with the UK. For guidance on moving goods into, out of, or through Northern Ireland, click here.

Specific Import Procedures
Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP) are electronic declaration methods designed to enhance and simplify customs procedures for clearing imported goods either at the border or upon removal from a free zone or customs warehouse. A limited range of goods requires import licenses. These include firearms and explosives, nuclear materials, controlled drugs and certain items of military equipment. Products imported temporarily (for re-export, examination and testing, repair, sample display, etc.) may be admitted without payment of duties and taxes.
Importing Samples
It is possible to import goods deemed to be of negligible value, such as commercial samples, free of duty and VAT. For further information visit the HM Revenue and Customs page on VAT and duties exemptions.

To go further, check out our service Import Controls and Export Controls.


Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Customs threshold (from which tariffs are required)
Customs duty (and import VAT) is payable when the value of the imported goods is over GBP 135. For more information, click here.  
Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
From 1 January 2021, the UK will apply a UK-specific tariff to imported goods.  This UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff, which applies until 31 December 2020.
Use the UK Global Tariff tool to check the tariffs that will apply to goods you import from 1 January 2021. The existing commodity code system will continue to apply from 1 January 2021 onwards.

More detailed Customs tariffs can be found at this government website.
Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
The government will publish further advice on tariff-rate quotas later in 2020. This will be based on the quotas in the UK goods schedule at the World Trade Organization, published in draft in 2018.
Preferential Rates
Granted to imports from countries with which the European Union has signed trade agreements (subject to change at the end of the transition period on 1st January 2021, following the UK's withdrawal from the EU). For the up-to-date guidance on reduced customs duty for goods, check the dedicated UK government website.
Customs Classification
The UK HS  Tariff Code helps to find commodity names with codes for exporting and importing  goods. In order to find a HS code, it is possible to use the Trade Tariff tool, which will show you the import and export codes, and any information connected to the code, such as: if you need a license to move your goods or if there’s a tariff quota.
Method of Calculation of Duties
Customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value of the goods. We recommend that you constantly monitor the government website dedicated to the calculation of tariffs and customs duties
Method of Payment of Customs Duties
Duties are payable in cash (in Euros, by check, by cash money order, by bank transfer); an extension of the time limit for payment may be granted through systems of collection credit or duty credit.
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
Excise Duty may apply on alcohol and tobacco. For more information, click here. 

List of tariffs and local taxes that apply to your product on our service Customs Duties and Local Taxes.

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Latest Update: April 2024