Apply for a general guarantee account and pay disputed amounts

Use a general guarantee account to cover any import duty due on goods when they enter the UK.

You may need to provide a guarantee to cover amounts due on goods imported to the UK if the value of import duties is disputed, unknown, or if you declare the goods to Temporary Admission (unless you have full authorisation for Temporary Admission).

A general guarantee account allows you to:

  • provide multiple guarantees from the same account, rather than needing to provide separate guarantees
  • continue importing goods into the UK and pay the amount due later, once the amount is agreed

You can use the account to cover:

  • import VAT
  • Customs Duty
  • excise duties
  • amounts due under the UK Agricultural Policy
  • anti-dumping or countervailing duties
  • quotas

Who can apply

You, or someone acting on your behalf can apply if you’re a:

  • VAT registered importer or agent
  • non VAT registered importer or agent
  • private importer

If you’re part of a group of companies each group member needs to have it’s own general guarantee account.

Get a guarantee

Amount of guarantee

You’ll need to provide an estimate of the amount of debt to be covered by the guarantee. This will be your guarantee limit, which if you exceed, you will have to replace the guarantee with a larger one or give HMRC an additional guarantee.

You’ll need to make sure your guarantee limit is enough to cover the expected number of imports at any one time, including the time it takes to resolve any outstanding entries.

Get a guarantor

If you are providing a customs guarantee in Great Britain, your guarantor must be a financial institution regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

You can check if a financial institution is regulated by the PRA on the Bank of England website.

If you are providing a customs guarantee in Northern Ireland your guarantor must be one of the following financial institutions established in either:

  • Northern Ireland and regulated by the PRA
  • the EU and accredited under the EU regulatory framework

How to apply

You should request an application pack to complete and return application form G3. It must be signed and dated by an authorised signatory.

If you want an agent to use your account for import declarations, you’ll need to use the ‘view your customs financial accounts’ service to add an authority.

You must have confirmation that your general guarantee account has been set up before you can add an authority.

Guarantee payment to HMRC commissioners

You and your guarantor need to complete the C&E250 guarantee form which you must return to us with the forms G1, G2 and G3. Email HMRC to ask for this form in Welsh (Cymraeg).

You’ll need to fill in the guarantee form fully before you can print and send it using the postal service.

You cannot save a partly completed form, so you should gather all of your information together before you begin. If you are using an older browser, for example Internet Explorer 8, you’ll need to update it or use a different browser. Find out more about browsers.

After you’ve applied

We’ll write to you to confirm:

  • if your guarantee has been accepted

  • your national guarantee reference number

Find out how to use your general guarantee account.

Published 1 January 2021
Last updated 1 October 2022 + show all updates
  1. Information about Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) has been removed. You can no longer use CHIEF for import declarations unless you have permission from HMRC.

  2. Get a guarantor section has been updated to advise that the guarantor must be a financial institution regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

  3. First published.