Importing your goods from outside the European Union

Reliefs on imports for export or re-export

There are a number of customs procedures that can benefit traders who plan to send their goods out of the UK.

If you are importing goods that you will later export or re-export, you may be able to claim relief from customs charges due on importation.

Temporary Admissions (TA)

It is important to note that Temporary Admission does not remove the need to comply with any import/export prohibitions or restrictions, for example for drugs, counterfeit/pirated goods or endangered species (including derivatives such as ivory, furs and goods made from skins).

If goods are to be temporarily imported for use, relief from import duty or VAT may be available provided the goods will remain in the same condition as they are imported, eg goods for demonstration, professional equipment, samples, goods for an exhibition or for humanitarian purposes.

One method of TA is the ATA carnet. The carnet is issued in the country of dispatch usually by local chambers of commerce and industry and is used in place of customs documents normally required at import and/or re-export. ATA carnets are only applicable in countries which are signatories to the ATA Carnet or Istanbul Conventions.

You cannot use any of these reliefs for goods that you plan to process before re-exporting. However, minor handling is permitted to preserve the goods and prevent their deterioration.

Processing and re-exporting

If you are importing goods that you intend to process and then export, you can claim Inward Processing (IP). There are two methods of duty relief - suspension and drawback. IP suspension allows you to import and process the goods while suspending duty and VAT payments. With IPR drawback, duty and VAT is paid on importation but can be reclaimed. You must be authorised by HMRC to claim these reliefs.

Onward supply to the European Union (EU)

If you are importing goods that you plan to supply to another EU member state, you may be able to claim Onward Supply Relief (OSR). This allows you to import the goods without paying import VAT. Instead, VAT is paid when you supply the goods to your customer.