1. Overview

To import goods into the UK from outside the European Union (EU) or move them from another EU country you have to:

  • find the correct commodity code for your goods
  • pay VAT in some cases
  • fill in a VAT return if you’re VAT registered
  • register with the CHIEF system for importers if you’re importing from outside the EU
  • declare the goods you import using the CHIEF system
  • pay duty in some cases
  • get a licence for some goods (eg firearms)
  • check if the goods are banned from being imported into the UK or require an import licence

The exact rules for importing depend on whether you’re moving goods from another country in the EU or importing from outside the EU.

Some businesses use freight forwarding agents to help them with their import procedures.

You can hire a professional (eg a tax adviser) if you need advice about import duties and VAT.

Services

There are different rules when importing services.