Whether you are moving back home to the UK or are moving there for the first time, this is your complete guide to shipping your household goods to the UK. (Including a discount code- Just keep reading!)
11 September 2019| Last updated on 19 January 2020
Most shipping companies will be able to handle the standard door to door services, including the packing, unpacking, shipping, storing (if required) and insuring of your items.
Things to know about shipping:
- Freight charges fluctuate on a monthly basis, and this can have an impact on the price you pay
- An additional war risk surcharges can occur depending on the route of the vessel
- Insurance will be an additional charge to the door to door services. For more information about shipment insurance please check click here.
- Completing the Transfer of Residence (ToR) online process for UK Customs
- Prohibited Items: every country will have a list of prohibited items, which you are not allowed to import or export in/out of the country
What is the ToR?
UK Customs (HMRC) have announced an online process relating to importing household goods and personal effects, including motor vehicles and pets, as transfer of residence (ToR) into the UK. The ToR must be completed for all shipment entering the UK from outside of the EU, and this would have to be completed by yourself as the shipping company is not allowed to do this on your behalf.
If you do not complete the ToR, you will have to pay VAT 20% over your shipment total amount upon arrival to the UK.
How to apply?
The application must be made prior to shipping any consignments to the UK, we recommend completing this at your earliest convenience to avoid any delays. Once you are successful in obtaining the Transfer of Residence relief, you will be awarded a Unique Reference Number in an email from HMRC.
Now let’s see the step by step on how to apply:
1. Prepare your Documents
You will need the following:
- Proof of residency outside of the EU for over 12 months: For example: rental agreement of a property overseas OR purchase agreement of a property overseas OR bank statements OR utility bills OR local authority documents OR government documents;
- Passport copy (If you`re moving with your family, please include the passport copies of the entire family);
- Visa (if non-UK / EU passport holder);
- Proof of registration / residence in the UK, this should show you are living in the UK or about to take up residency in the UK:
- For example, a utility bill OR rental agreement OR purchase agreement OR employment contract/letter OR work permit OR temporary living registration/letter;
- Valued Signed inventory in English: This would need to be descriptive, you cannot just say miscellaneous items or packed by owner.
The above documents are the minimum documents required to obtain a ToR. The HMRC may request some additional documents, and would contact you directly for extra documentation.
2. Online Application Form
- The next step would be to complete and sign the online ToR01 form.
- The form can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-transfer-of-r...
Once you complete the form online,you will need to print it, sign it,then scan the signed form, which you will later send as an email attachment along with the other documents you prepared in step one.
Once you have all the required documents and the completed ToR form you will need to send all the documents to the HMRC.
Put “TOR Application – *insert your full name here*” as the email's subject, attach all the documents you have prepared in step one, along with the signed ToR form, and send the email to [email protected].
Please note: Your total attachments should not exceed 5MBs, otherwise your email will be rejected by the HMRC.
The HMRC will send you a Unique Code (URN) within 15 to 30 days from sending the e-mail. However, if you don’t receive your Unique Code 15 days after your application, you can call the HMRC on +44 0300 322 7900.
The URN is valid for 1 year from the date of issue, so we would recommend applying as soon as you are able, to avoid any delays.
Prohibited and Non-recommended Items
Now that you have completed the Transfer of Residence and selected your mover. You may ask yourself if there are some items you cannot take.
- Unlicensed Drugs
- Offensive weapons
- Rough Diamonds
- Animals, birds and fish (dead or alive)
- Firearms, explosives, ammunition and radio transmitters
- Counterfeit and pirated goods
- Pornographic materials
- Any food items, including pet food
When exporting out of your origin country it is also important to check the requirements of what you are not allowed to ship. For example, you cannot export alcohol out of the UAE as per UAE exporting regulations.
There are also some items which are not prohibited however, we recommend you do not pack:
- Candles: There is a risk that the candles melt during transit and damage other packed items
- High value jewellery: These are not usually covered in the shipment insurance and hold a greater risk.
- Cars: Although you are able to import cars into the UK and register them, there are some points you should consider:
- Many cars with GCC specifications, will also not be optimized for winter conditions like cars that would be purchased in the UK, for example they might not have built-in heated seats, which you may miss during the UK’s cold winters.
- The steering wheel will be on the left, which can be confusing, and can make taking a parking token very inconvenient, as the machine will be placed on the right side of the parking entrance, while you will be seated to the left
- It is also important to check the cost of purchasing the same car in the UK, as it may be more cost-effective than shipping.
For more information about UK customs and prohibited items, visit our website: Santa Fe Relocation
If you’re looking to move to the UK from the UAE, use our promo code ‘ExpatWomenSF-UK’ for a 15% discount on origin services.
With over 120 years of global relocation experience and knowledge, let us make your move to the UK hassle-free.
Authored by Gemma Barakat
Team Lead - Consumer Sales
Santa Fe Relocation