How to Import Goods into the UK

This section explains how to move goods 'permanently' from any country outside of the United Kingdom to Great Britain or from a country outside of the UK and the EU to Northern Ireland.

Key topics include information about tax and duty, as well as the licensing requirements for importing goods into the United Kingdom.

Moving Your Goods into the United Kingdom

Bringing goods into the United Kingdom from an overseas country to sell or use as part of your business means you are importing.

Imported goods can include those you bring in your luggage yourself, as well as those sent to you from abroad by:

  • Air, Rail, Road, or Sea.
  • Post (including courier services).

Important: You must declare goods that you bring into the United Kingdom for your business to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) using a customs declaration.

Getting a Business Ready for Importing

You will need an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number starting with the letters ‘GB’ to be able to import goods into Great Britain (e.g. England, Scotland, or Wales).

So, what if yours does not start with GB? In this case, you would need to get a new EORI number (see the guide below).

As a rule, you need one beginning with the letters ‘XI’ to start moving commercial goods into (or from) Northern Ireland.

Certain processes make it easier and quicker to clear customs if you are making regular import declarations. So, it could be worth considering whether you should:

Check if a Company Can Export to the UK

It is important to check whether the business that is sending you the goods from overseas can export goods into the United Kingdom ‘legally’.

In some cases, businesses that are exporting commercial goods out of their country (EU and Non-EU countries) may need:

  • Export licences or certificates to send the goods to the United Kingdom.
  • To submit an export declaration in the country where they are sending them from.

Note: The main section contains more advice and information about business regulations and finance laws in the United Kingdom.

Making Customs Declarations

Unless you prefer to do it yourself, you can get someone to deal with customs for you and sort out transportation of the goods (e.g. a customs agent, or transporter).

Economic Operators Registration and Identification

Find out how to get an EORI number (e.g. for moving commercial goods into the United Kingdom or to other international destinations).

Importing Non Native Animals

The information in this help guide explains the process for importing non-native animal species into the UK and how to apply for a licence.

Using Simplified Declarations

The information in this help guide explains how to apply to use simplified declarations for imports into the United Kingdom and the required documentation.

Wood Packaging Material (WPM)

Check ISPM15 international standards for WPM imports and how to follow wood packaging requirements in the United Kingdom (e.g. when using boxes, crates, or packing cases).

Related Help Guides

Note: This short video presented by HMRC explains more about the decisions and processes you need to consider when importing goods into the United Kingdom.

Help Guide for Importing Goods into the United Kingdom