FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I find out the Rate of Duty and VAT applicable to my goods? 
You can either use the on-line service https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff; or alternatively email the Classification help line :- classification.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk;

 What other charges should I expect to pay in the UK?
These really depend on too many factors to mention here. However you can use the following as a guideline: 
i) For a Full Container Load (FCL), you should expect to pay the shipping Line charges. These include: Terminal Handling (THC), Loading and un-loading charge (Lo-Lo) 
ii) For a shipment sent on a consolidated service (Less than a Container load – LCL), the port and handling charges are paid for by the UK Agent who’s in control of the container, but they then in-turn share those costs between whoever has goods in that container. 

What paperwork is required to Customs clear goods in the UK?
Your chosen clearing agent will be able to advise you of the require copies (possibly the originals) of: Bill of Lading (sea freight) or Air waybill (Airfreight) Commercial Invoice(s) Packing List(s) and depending on the commodity being imported, one of more of the following: 
    –Certificate of Origin Health Certificate (Foodstuffs) – Click here for more info
    –ATR & Eur1 Certificate – Click here for more info
    –GSP – Generalized System of Preferences/Certificate of Origin – Click here for more info 
Other documents and forms may need to be supplied/completed… contact our Imports Team for more information.

How long does it take to clear goods through Customs? 
Depending on what the goods are, whether Customs have selected the entry for a document exam etc., these can all affect how long it takes to Customs clear but as a guideline it could take anything from 30 minutes (allowing time to submit the entry to Customs) upwards. Your agent can give you a more accurate estimation, once the entry has been submitted to Customs. 

My shipment is on it’s way to the UK, can my goods be entered to Customs before they actually arrive? 
We recommend that you advise your clearing agent as soon as your goods are in transit, if not before. However, your goods can only be entered to Customs once it has been manifested onto the UK port’s computer system. This is usually done only a couple of days prior to arriving at the UK Port. 

How can agents clear goods at different ports around the country? 
Because many of the UK Ports use the same computer system, a clearing agent no longer has to be located near the port of entry, to clear at a particular port. Not all clearing agents have the facility to clear at all the ports. so, once you know which port yours goods are arriving at, you can select the agent that’s right for you… remember: The cheapest is not always the best. Make sure the agent you choose explains clearly what you need to do to Customs clear your goods, incorrect declarations to UK Customs could cost you in time and money! 

When do I contact a clearing agent to arrange Customs clearance?
We recommend that you advise your clearing agent as soon as your goods are in transit, if not before. However, your goods can only be entered to Customs once it has been manifested onto the UK port’s computer system. This is usually done only a couple of days prior to arriving at the UK Port. 

Do I need to be VAT registered to import goods into the UK? 
No, you do not need to be VAT registered, but if your goods are for commercial use then you will need to compete form C220A (see EORI section below). 
If you are VAT registered you may still need to switch your VAT number on for importing, this is done using form C220 (see EORI section below). 

If the goods are for personal use then the goods will be declared as ‘Private’ (PR) on the customs form. .

I have been advised that need an EORI number… how do I get one? 
Full details can be obtained from HM Revenue & Customs. Either call (T) 0845 010 9000 or visit:www.hmrc.gov.uk for more details.
Please click this link to apply for EORI – https://www.gov.uk/eori

How do I apply for a VAT number? 
Full details can be obtained from HM Revenue & Customs. Either call (T) 0845 010 9000 or visit:www.hmrc.gov.uk for more details. 
Click here for Information on registering for VAT
Click here to apply online for VAT registration 

What happens once the entry (C88 / C21) has been submitted?
A confirmation print is generated (E2 – Entry acceptance Advice), from the Customs computer system (CHIEF). On the E2, the following information is displayed: – A routing will be issued, to determine immediate clearance or not. – The calculated Duty and VAT amounts (incl. the exchange rate used).

What are the differences between the Customs routing types? 
– Route 1: Customs want to look through the paperwork before clearance is granted 
– Route 2: Customs have selected the shipment for physical examination of the goods 
– Route 3: Customs will issue immediate clearance (once all duty and/or VAT has been paid, if applicable). However, Customs still require copies of the paperwork 
– Route 6: Customs will issue immediate clearance (once all duty and/or VAT has been paid, if applicable). 

How can I pay Import Duty and/or VAT to Customs? 
Duty and VAT can be paid to Customs in many ways. Contact our Imports team for more details.

My VAT number was used when I imported some goods, how do I reclaim the VAT? 
HM Revenue & Customs will issue you with a VAT certificate. If you have not received this, you can contact the National Customs Help line on: (T) 0845 010 9000 to obtain a duplicate. 

I’m looking for a warehouse to store my goods once they arrive, can you offer this service? 
There are two different types of bonded warehouse. 

The first is called an E. R. T. S (Enhanced Remote Transit Shed). Goods can be removed from the port of arrival and stored for a short period whilst the goods are Customs cleared. Import Duty and/or VAT (if applicable) are payable before removal, and on the whole shipment.

The second is just an authorized bonded warehouse. Issued with a Bonded Warehouse Number by Customs, these can store goods for longer period, allowing Import Duty and/or VAT (if applicable) to be paid, as and when parts of a shipment are removed. 

Please note: Alcohol can only be stored at a specific type of bonded warehouse, known as a ‘Wet Bond’.

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