Despite leaving the EU, importing goods will remain a vital part of the United Kingdom’s economy but now more than ever, there are things to bear in mind, things that will save money as well as time.


Whether you are importing goods into the UK from within the EU or beyond its boundaries, we’ll look at some of the most common pitfalls. We’ll look at how to avoid them and despite Brexit and the changing landscape of the UK import and export industries, how to make international trade work for you.


Importing goods from within the European Union

If international imports from within the EU form an essential part of your business, here are the most important things to ensure:


Obtaining your EORI number

For any company looking to move goods between the UK and EU or non-EU territories, an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number is important. It must also start with the letters GB and if your current one doesn’t, applying for a new one is essential to avoid the increased costs of delays and storage fees should HMRC fail to clear your imported goods. Obtaining one can take around five working days.


Licensing your goods correctly

Certain imported good require special licenses or certificates and might even be subject to inspection fees before being allowed to enter the UK. For an in-depth list of the goods requiring special licenses to import, the UK government has compiled a list on their dedicated website.


VAT and custom duties

All imported goods from within the EU are subject to VAT and custom duties, if no deal can be reached between the UK and EU regarding Brexit, these tariffs will change. UK importers anticipate temporary rates for approximately one year before a more permanent system is introduced by the UK government.


The import declaration process

Whether undertaken by you or via a third party such as a custom agent, parcel operator or freight forwarding service, import declarations must be made. This must be done within 90 days of the imported goods being presented to HM Customs; this can be done electronically via the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight system.


Importing goods from beyond the European Union


If your business relies on importing goods into the UK from outside the EU, here are the most important things to keep in mind:


The registration process

Much like importing goods from within the EU, an EORI number is important, if your business crosses the threshold for VAT (£85,000 in the last twelve months) then you must also register for VAT. This can be done within 30 days of the month when you exceeded the threshold.


Moving goods and making declarations

The declarations process can be handled by you, or similarly to importing within the EU, the process can be handled by a third party. The transportation process needs careful thought and planning to set up, working with a customs or transport agent to handle the logistics of transporting goods is a popular option with many importers. You can find out how to hire someone to undertake these tasks for you here.


Classifying and valuing your goods

The goods you import will need a specific commodity code in order to pay the correct amount of duty and import VAT, some commodities can be hard to classify such as pharmaceutical products, plastics or edible products. You can gain help and advice on which code is the right one for you here.


Valuing your goods is also important, in order to incur the correct duties, there are several different ways you can value your goods, help and advice on which one might be right for you is available on the UK government website.


Paying for your goods

Whether you import from within the EU or beyond, giving some thought to how you pay for goods can save considerable sums over time. Bank transfers to overseas suppliers tend to incur fees and don’t always give the best rates of exchange.


Our services are regulated under the FCA, and our rates are typically around 85% cheaper than other providers. Use our calculator below to check how much you can save on your FX transactions.


Brexit will undoubtedly change the face of international trade for the UK, staying informed and paying attention to the points above will lay the foundations for efficient and cost-effective importing as we welcome in a year full of potential.



Use our online calculator to check how much you can save with us.

Banks and brokers are known to charge up to 5% on exchange rates plus fees. Unlike traditional banks and brokers, we are able to offer lower charges. This will save you thousands each year, whilst generating more time and money to focus on other areas of your business.