Get someone to deal with customs for you
Find out how you can hire a person or business to deal with customs for you.
You can hire a person or business to deal with customs for you. What they can do for you and who will be liable depends on:
- the services they provide
- what you want them to do
- the commercial agreement you have with them
Before you get someone to deal with customs for you, you should check what you need to consider.
Who you can hire
There are different types of people or businesses who can help you, such as:
- freight forwarders
- customs agents or brokers
- fast parcel operators
They’ll need to be established in the UK for customs.
Freight forwarders move goods around the world for importers.
A freight forwarder will arrange clearing your goods through customs. They’ll have the right software to communicate with HMRC’s systems.
You can find out how to use a freight forwarder on the British International Freight Association and Institute of Export websites.
Customs agent or broker
Customs agents and brokers make sure your goods clear through customs.
Find a list of customs agents and fast parcel operators.
Fast parcel operators
Fast parcel operators transport items across the world in a specific time frame, including:
They can deal with customs for you, as part of their delivery.
Find out about the other services fast parcel operators provide on the Association of International Courier and Express Services website.
Check the register of customs agents and fast parcel operators
You can use the register of customs agents and fast parcel operators to help find someone to deal with customs for you.
What information you’ll need to give
Find out what information you will need to provide the person dealing with customs for you.
Agree the terms and conditions
You’ll need to confirm in writing the terms and conditions of your representation and keep a copy of this agreement for your own records.
They cannot act on your behalf without written instructions from you. The instruction must show whether they’re acting for you directly or indirectly. HMRC will only ask for evidence of the authorisation if we need it.
Last updated 8 June 2022 + show all updates
A link to 'Check what you need to consider before getting someone to deal with customs for you', information about what you will need to give the person dealing with customs for you and agreeing terms and conditions have been added.
Added clarification that when someone is representing you directly and making declarations in your name (in set circumstances), they will not be held jointly liable.
If you’re established in the UK and import goods into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) you can ask someone to act directly using their own authorisation, to make declarations using either simplified declaration procedure or entry in the declarant’s records.
From 1 January 2021, someone dealing with customs for you will need to be established in Great Britain or Northern Ireland.