Bringing commercial goods into Northern Ireland in your baggage

Guide

Last updated 17 May 2021

Commercial goods, also known as Merchandise in Baggage, are goods (to sell or use in your business) where: 

  • a commercial transport operator does not carry them for you

  • you’ve travelled to the UK carrying goods in your accompanied baggage

You must declare all commercial goods, there is no duty free allowance for goods you are bringing in to sell or use in your business.

There is a different way to declare goods that are for personal use or commercial goods you’re taking out of Northern Ireland in your baggage.

Bringing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the EU

This process remains the same as before 1 January 2021.

Making an oral declaration
You can make an oral declaration if the goods:

  • have a value less than £873
  • weigh less than 1,000 kilograms
  • are not restricted goods
  • are not alcohol, tobacco or fuel (excise goods)

You can go to the ‘goods to declare’ channel or the red point phone in the customs area to declare your goods and pay what you owe to a Border Force officer.

Making a full declaration
If your goods are not eligible for an oral declaration or the facility to make an oral declaration is not available, you must submit a declaration through the free to use Trader Support Service. Declarations can be made through that service regardless of the value or nature of the goods.  

You must also submit a full declaration if you’re:

You or (someone dealing with customs for you) will need to:

  1. Get an EORI number.

  2. Declare the goods to HMRC through the free to use Trader Support Service.

  3. Pay any Customs Duty or import VAT due.

Bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain

You or (someone dealing with customs for you) will need to:

  1. Get an EORI number.

  2. Declare the goods to HMRC through the free to use Trader Support Service.

How to declare
HMRC has provided a free to use Trader Support Service and any declarations can be made through that service regardless of the value or the nature of the goods.

You can make an oral declaration if your port of entry has the appropriate facilities and your goods:

  • have a value less than £873
  • weigh less than 1,000 kilograms
  • are not restricted goods
  • are not alcohol, tobacco or fuel (excise goods)

You should always use the TSS to make your declaration

Getting duty and VAT refunds

You may be able to ask for a refund after you’ve made your declaration if:

  • you do not travel
  • your goods are lost or destroyed before they reach the UK
  • you make a mistake when you work out your duty

To get a refund, you must apply within:

  • 3 years of making the over payment of Customs Duty or import VAT
  • 12 months for duty you’ve paid on damaged or defective goods
  • 3 years if after making a declaration you did not actually travel

Find out how to claim a refund for Customs Duty and also use this process to claim back your import VAT if you’re not registered for VAT.

If you’re VAT registered, you can adjust your VAT records to reflect the import VAT that you have paid.