How the government monitors imports into the UK.
Import controls are imposed using either statutory instruments or the UK’s national import prohibition legislation Import, Export and Customs Powers (Defence) Act 1939.
The OGIL (Open General Import Licence) is a national trade control measure run by the Department for International Trade (DIT) that allows the import of all goods into the UK, subject to the exceptions it sets out.
Goods subject to import controls under the OGIL include:
- anti-personnel mines
- certain nuclear and chemical goods
Readfor more information.
The UK uses sanctions to fulfil a range of purposes, including supporting foreign policy and national security objectives, as well as maintaining international peace and security, and preventing terrorism. Sanctions measures can include arms embargoes and other trade restrictions.
The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is responsible for UK policy on sanctions. The Department for International Trade (DIT) implements trade sanctions, and has overall responsibility for trade sanctions licensing.
UK sanctions regimes are in force under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 (the Sanctions Act).
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are compliant with the requirements of the legislation. You can access the legislation and read the related guidance here.
Import controls on tiered-priced medical products
The re-importation of certain tiered-priced products is illegal across the whole of the United Kingdom. The retained domestic version of Regulation (EU) 2016/793, as amended by the Prevention of Trade Diversion (Key Medicines) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, establishes a system controlling the import of certain medicines into Great Britain.
These are called “tiered-priced products”. Tiered-priced products are destined for developing countries and sold to these countries at heavily reduced prices to avoid trade diversion.
Read the notice to importersfor more information.
An import licence is not needed to import most industrial goods into the UK.
However, some industrial goods need import licences as a result of controls imposed at national or UN level. These are issued by DIT’s Import Licensing Branch (ILB).
ILB issues import licences for the import of:
- anti-personnel mines (UN ban)
- torture equipment (UK ban)
- firearms (UK licensing controls)
- certain goods subject to import sanctions
Certificates of Free Sale (CFS)
ILB also issue CFS to exporters. CFS are mainly needed for goods that come into contact with humans, such as cosmetics, from countries that have lower product safety standards and enforcement than the UK.
CFS declarations confirm that goods meet the UK’s high safety standards.
Read the notice to importers.
Other government departments issue CFS for certain products including the:
- Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs for goods that come into contact with animals (such as veterinary medicines)
- Department of Health for medicines
- Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for medical devices
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for biocides
- Rural Payments Agency (RPA) for food, drinks or supplements
Apply for an import licence
You can apply for an import licence or CFS at www.ilb.trade.gov.uk.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for advice on the import controls ILB is responsible for.
Read Starting to import for information on import licences and certificates.
If you import goods into the UK it is your responsibility to know about import restrictions and controls.
Notices to importers
The Notices to importers (NTI) listed below explain current import prohibitions and controls.
|Open General Import Licence (OGIL)||31 December 2020|
|Explanatory note: Open General Import Licence||31 December 2020|
|2952||Belarus import sanctions||9 August 2021|
|2951||Syria import sanctions||17 June 2021|
|2950||Somalia import sanctions||17 June 2021|
|2949||Russia and Crimea import sanctions||17 June 2021|
|2948||Libya import sanctions||17 June 2021|
|2946||Iran (nuclear weapons) import sanctions||17 June 2021|
|2945||North Korea import sanctions||17 June 2021|
|2944||Import firearms and ammunition||1 April 2021|
|2943||UK Open general import licence 2020 and guidance on its use||31 December 2020|
|2941||Import of anti-personnel mines||31 December 2020|
|2940||Applying for Certificates of Free Sales||31 December 2020|
|2938||Import of equipment that could be used for torture||31 December 2020|
|2937||Import of tiered-priced medicines||31 December 2020|
|2936||Import and export of cat and dog fur||31 December 2020|