A new shipping provision to improve the process of importing cargo to the UK and provide relief from import duties and charges has recently taken effect; this applies to any private individual who is planning to move from outside the EU to the UK, and make it his or her country of residence.
These individuals (not the shipper) must now personally complete a Transfer of Residence (ToR01) application form before shipping any unaccompanied personal effects. The ToR01 replaces several other forms:
- C3 declaration (for bringing personal belongings to UK from outside the European community)
- C5 (for bringing pets to the UK from outside the European community)
- C104A (for importing private motor vehicles or private vessels)
The ToR01, available via the GOV.UK website, must be filled out in its entirety online (it cannot be saved) and posted or emailed. Applicants must also provide copies of the following: proof of registration in the UK or other EU country, passport, visa and/or work permit (if applicable), employment contract and employer’s statement (if applicable), home purchase or tenancy agreement, two signed lists of the goods to be brought in, and commercial documents (invoices, proofs of guarantee etc.) for the goods one wishes to import.
Once an application is approved, a reference number will be provided that will allow a shipment to be released from customs. Failure to comply with this can result in delayed or refused customs clearance and additional charges.
Those who are not seeking relief from import duties and charges are advised not to complete the form, but to “Either use transit to move your goods to the other member state(s) or declare the goods to free circulation in the UK paying duties as required and claim retrospective transfer of residence in your member state of destination.”
As noted on the HM Revenue & Customs form, those who do wish to seek relief must also:
- Have lived outside the EU for at least the last 12 consecutive months
- Have used and had possession of the goods for at least the last six consecutive months
- Have used the goods and are going to continue using them in the new place of residence in the UK for at least the next 12 months
- Be importing the goods within 12 months of coming to live in the UK
- Not lend out, pledge, give away, hire out or transfer the goods within the first 12 months after the date on which they were imported
The relief does not apply to alcoholic beverages, tobacco and tobacco products, commercial vehicles, and articles for use in the exercise of a trade or profession, other than portable instruments of the applied or liberal arts.