What is Customs Clearance?

Customs clearance is a mandatory process for all goods entering or leaving the EU. Customs clearance allows HM Customs & Excise to take into account the charges owed, ensure that the correct documents are used and comply with EU law. Customs can also monitor goods entering and leaving the UK.

‍‍Why should I hire a customs broker? Customs brokers exist to provide a professional service between HM Customs & Excise and importers/exporters. Our agents have extensive knowledge of applicable customs rules and regulations and are therefore in the best position to offer assistance.

‍Where can I complete UK customs clearance?

You can clear customs for your cargo at the following UK airports and ports:

Airports: London Gatwick, London Heathrow, London Stansted, London City, London Luton, Birmingham, East Midlands, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds, Edinburgh. Ports: UK ports including Felixstowe, London Gateway, Southampton, Grangemouth, Tilbury, Port of Thames, Dover and Greenock.

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‍How do I declare my cargo in other ports?

We have agents in ports around the world. Thanks to changes in technology, remote access to other port community systems along the English coast is now possible from one location.

‍How long does customs clearance take?

The customs clearance process can vary from shipment to shipment and depends on which goods enter the country after they arrive at a UK port. Certain products may require additional paper checks or physical inspections to ensure that the declaration is correct.

‍What documents are required for customs clearance?

Here's the basic documentation:

  • Shipping documents (bill of lading – original or telex)
  • Commercial invoice from the supplier
  • Packing list

Other documents required for certain products are:

  • Certificate of origin
  • Preferential certificate
  • Health certificate (food, etc.)
  • Certificate of Authenticity
  • Organic certificate
  • Note: Importers should check before shipment if any special documentation is required.
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‍Who decides what import duties and taxes I have to pay?

UK VAT is currently 20%. Customs duties vary depending on the type of imported goods. All customs duties are set by Brussels for the EU and must be paid for the free movement of goods within the EU.

All products are divided into product codes. The amount of customs duty and VAT varies depending on the product. The importer is responsible for classifying the code. However, if you need advice, please call 0121 387 1800

For more info on our road, sea and air export services click here


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