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Things you need to know when shipping to the UK

You will need to complete our online documentation which includes forms for an inventory of your shipment, insurance on your shipment and, for personal effects and household items, completion of the relevant Customs form.

You will need to log into your account to complete the online documentation process in order for your shipment to be sent.

You will need to upload scans of your passport: the picture page, the signature page and, if applicable, a copy of your visa, at the final stage of the process. There are helpful pointers all throughout the process but you must be completely accurate with the information you enter. These forms will be presented to the authorities at the destination.

ToR (Transfer of Residence) Authorisation Code must be supplied to Seven Seas Worldwide in order for us to receive customs clearance into the United Kingdom. Failure to provide your TOR Authorisation Code in time for clearance will result on all contents shipped to be liable for import tax and duty in the United Kingdom. You can find guidance on ToR from the UK government website.

Thing you need to know

Importing your personal effects and household items

You can import your used personal effects and household items into the UK tax free, using the “Transfer of Residence Relief (ToR01)”, only if you fulfil the following:

1. You are returning to the UK as your normal place of residence;

2. You have been outside the UK continuously for at least 12 months;

3. You have used all the items for at least 6 months before importing;

4. You did not buy or receive any of the items from a duty/tax free scheme.

5. You will be keeping all the items for personal use and will not sell or hire out or give them away for at least 12 months after importing.

6. If you qualify then you cannot import your personal effects and household item earlier than 6 months before your arrival or later than 12 months after your arrival.

How the process works

Your submission should be done as soon as possible prior to your shipment’s arrival into the UK, we will support you with this application but overall this is your responsibility, this is what you need to do:

1. Completed ToR01 form
Complete the “For Transfer of Residence to UK” form by clicking on the link below:
You will need to complete and submit the form online directly to HMRC for a decision as to whether you qualify for a duty-free entry.

2. Additional documents
Additional documents are required by HMRC to be submitted with your ToR application:
a. A copy of your picture page passport (shipper/owner of the goods).
b. Your inventory form.
c. Proof of registration, this document should show you’ve taken up residence in the UK. You may also send some other, comparable document which provides reasonable evidence which shows you’re going to live in the UK, for example:
    i. Your employment contract;
    ii. Your employer’s statement;
    iii. Your work permit;
    iv. Your tenancy or purchase agreement for the home you plan to live in.
d. Proof of your UK address.

Young girl packing
packing antique

Returning British passport holders:

For the returning British passport holder without any proof as outlined in part c above, we suggest that you write a supporting letter stating that you have been outside the UK with proof of your travel itinerary. If your application is successful, then HMRC will supply you with a unique Authorization Code within 10 working days of submission. This Authorization Code must be forwarded to Seven Seas Worldwide immediately at [email protected].

If your application is not successful or your Transfer of Residence Relief (ToR) application has been refused, then all contents of your shipment will be liable for import tax and duty in the United Kingdom, for details, you could check the HMRC Trade Tariff:

Qualify for students relief

To qualify for students relief, you must come to the UK to attend a school, college or university for a period of fulltime study of at least 12 months. You must include details of your course and a copy of your offer letter from the education provider with your application. You may bring belongings for you to wear, furnish your room or use for the purpose of your studies.

The relief doesn’t apply to:

  • commercial vehicles
  • articles for use in the exercise of a trade or profession, other than portable instruments of the applied or liberal arts
  • goods you have not possessed or used in the last 6 months

You won’t need to complete form Transfer of Residence (ToR01) but you’ll need to provide evidence of your period of study with your customs declaration.

Students relief
Student packing

Importing other items

Importing tools of your trade: Any tools of trade that were not originally purchased in the UK are liable for tax and duty, if the items have been owned by your for less than six months then they will automatically attract tax and duty.

Importing wedding gifts: You will need to provide a copy of marriage certificate or licence. The gifts can be imported duty-free if you fulfil the requirements for “Transfer of Residence Relief (ToR)”; namely that you are moving to your normal home in the UK on marriage and you do not sell, lend, hire or dispose of the items within 12 months of importing.

Importing inheritance items: If you are the beneficiary, then in addition to completing our online documentation, you need to supply a copy of the death certificate and a copy of the will showing that you are the beneficiary as well as completing the online C1421 form. If the specific items are not mentioned individually in the will then you will need a supplementary letter from the executor confirming you have inherited these specific items.

Prohibited goods

We aim to make importing your personal belongings into the UK as simple as possible. See our comprehensive list of items that cannot be shipped along with any service specific restrictions.

This page was last updated on 1st July 2021.

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