Importing goods from non-EU countries
When importing goods from non-EU countries, you’ll need to:
- get an EORI number if you do not have one - it usually takes 5 working days
- find the commodity code for the goods you’re importing - this tells you how much duty you pay and if you need an import licence
- declare your imports to customs - most businesses hire someone to deal with customs and to transport their goods from overseas
- pay VAT and duty - you’ll need to work out the value of your goods
You may also need an import licence for restricted goods, for example weapons, animal products and medicine.
Paying duty on imports from non-EU countries
You normally have to pay duty on goods imported from non-EU countries when they’re first brought into the EU or the UK. You pay this in the country they go to first, before they leave customs.
You need to classify the goods correctly to make sure you pay the right amount of duty.
You might be able to:
Whether you can delay or reduce the amount you pay depends on what the goods are, where they’re from and what you plan to do with them.
Paying VAT on imports from non-EU countries
You’ll have to pay VAT directly to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at UK rates on goods imported from outside the EU when they’re first brought into the EU or the UK. You pay this in the country they go to first, before they leave customs.
If the goods are for you to make taxable supplies or use in your business, you can reclaim the VAT paid on your VAT Return. You’ll need the import tax certificate (form C79) to prove you paid the import VAT. HMRC will send you this form.
You can import works of art, antiques, and collectors’ items from outside the EU at a reduced rate of VAT.
There are different rules for paying VAT on services you’re buying from outside the UK.