This blog summarises how to import your personal belongings, pets and private motor vehicles when moving or returning to the UK and how to claim relief.
Full relief from import duty is available on any personal property intended for the personal use of the claimant or for meeting their household needs.
Transfer of residence relief
Transfer of residence relief is available when you:
- transfer your normal place of residence
- are a student coming for full-time study
The relief exists for those persons who wish to make the UK their normal place of residence. This means the UK will be your main principal home. There is no relief for goods imported from secondary and holiday homes.
Transferring your normal place of residence
Relief is available on any personal property intended for your use or for meeting your household needs. This includes:
- household effects, personal effects, household linen, furnishings and any equipment intended for your personal use or for use within your household
- cycles, motor cycles, private motor vehicles (and their trailers), camping caravans, pleasure craft and private aircraft
- household provisions necessary for normal family requirements and household pets
- portable instruments required by you for your trade or profession
The relief does not apply to:
- alcoholic beverages
- tobacco and tobacco products
- commercial means of transport
- non-portable instruments required by you for your trade or profession
Conditions for relief
To claim relief, you must satisfy all of the following criteria:
- you’ve been resident outside the UK for at least 12 consecutive months, prior to the date of moving to Great Britain or Northern Ireland
- you’re importing the goods within 12 months of coming to live in the UK
- you intend to use the goods in the UK for the same purpose they were used for prior to moving
Any goods for which relief is granted cannot be lent, used as security, hired out or transferred to another person within 12 months of the date you moved.
How long you need to have owned the goods
You must have had the goods in your possession for at least 6 months prior to the date of importation. However, this restriction does not apply to items imported under the relief for students.
Prior approval for importing goods
Individuals (or persons acting on their behalf) must apply in advance for approval to claim this relief. Form TOR1 detailing the goods being imported must be sent to the HMRC Transfer of Residence Team, together with the evidence required to support eligibility to claim this relief.
Students moving to the UK for full-time study
For goods belonging to pupils or students coming to the UK for full-time study of at least 12 months, relief is available on the following:
- objects and instruments normally used by students for their studies - including personal computers
- household effects, including personal effects, household linen, furnishings and equipment
Alcohol, tobacco and tobacco products are excluded from relief.
If you’re a student coming to the UK for a period of full-time study, you do not need to complete the TOR1 form. You should tell your agent to declare the goods using the correct Customs Procedure Code (CPC). You’ll need to submit evidence of your period of study with your entry. The goods must be owned by the individual and be intended for their personal use.
Who can claim relief?
Any person moving to the UK to enrol at a school, academy, college or university to study on a full-time basis, or a person acting on their behalf. You’ll need to provide evidence of your period of study with your customs declaration.
This is just a very brief summary of the main features of transfer of residence relief and is not intended to be comprehensive. The system is complex and it is essential that proper advice is obtained, do not hesitate to contact us or send us an e-mail.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.