Customs requirements of United Kingdom
United Kingdom Customs Contacts
Address: Freepost NAT22785, CARDIFF, CF14 5GX, United Kingdom
The United Kingdom or Britain is a country lying off the north-western coast of the European mainland. It includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, also borderd by the North Sea, the English Channel and the Celtic Sea. The country is a member of the European Union, International Chamber of Commerce, World Customs Organization (WCO), World Trade Organization and many other international organizations.
The UK is part of the harmonised trade system of the EU and importing and exporting are covered by EC Regulations.
A Common External Tariff (CET) is applicable to other countries.
The European Community has created the Binding Tariff Information (BTI) system as a tool to obtain the correct tariff classification for goods for import or export. Before shipping any goods, it is recommended to obtain a written BTI customs duty ruling from The HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
Import licences are required for a number of items including:
- agricultural products
- plants and animals
- chemicals and firearms
The licensing requirement may also depend on the country of origin of the product.
Imports of food and agricultural products from outside the EU covered by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP goods) are often subject to customs duty and quotas and may require a licence or certificate.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides information on importing food from outside the EU.
Trade with certain countries is forbidden or restricted in accordance with UN, EU or OSCE sanctions.
Product certification, labelling and packaging
Packaging must meet all EU and UK requirements. To reduce the impact of packaging on the environment, the EU has legislation concerning the management of packaging and packaging waste.
The CE mark is a mandatory conformity marking for certain products sold within the European Economic Area (EEA).
All labelling and information directives of the European Council must be met, as well as local and national regulations.
Food information and labelling legislation must comply with EU legislation and is enforced through the Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (FLR).
For organic produce, EU legislation requires that imported organic food from third countries be produced to the same standards as that from the UK or EU.
Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI): An EORI number is unique throughout the European Community. This number is used in all communications with any EC customs authorities. The implementation of EORI in the UK replaced the previous customs trader identification system, TURN. All UK EORI numbers start with the letters GB.
In order to obtain an EORI number, you must submit an application form.
There are no prescribed forms and a minimum of two copies are required. Different methods of payment may require additional copies.
The invoice must include:
- clear and precise descriptions of goods
- terms of sale and payments
- all details necessary to establish full prices paid
- gross and net weights
- the country of origin
Separate certificates of origin are not mandatory but may be required depending on the terms or method of payment or as documentary proof of origin for certain goods.
Bill of lading
No special requirements, a minimum of two original copies are required and additional copies are required for customs if goods are transhipped en route.
Not obligatory, but simplifies clearance if a variety of goods are packed in different cases.
Certificate of insurance
Not obligatory unless quotation was CIF. Useful for valuation in case of disputes.