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Import FAQ’s

Q. What information is needed for ChannelPorts to complete import declarations on my behalf?

The best thing to do is use this Email Link. to send us an email with a copy of the invoice(s) and packing list along with a copy of any other documents that will be accompanying the goods. This is especially important for anything that can be eaten as the consignment may be subject to additional government department checks such as Port Health.

By using this Email Link. it will ask you certain questions to help ensure we are fully compliant with HMRC requirements and these questions are:

Vehicle number (if known)

What are the terms of sale – who is responsible for cost of the transportation

If it is the importer who is responsible for any part of the journey costs what are the true costs as this will need to be factored in when calculating any charges due.

What is the commodity code – if known

The importers EORI number and deferment number. We will need authorisation to use the deferment number and probably the best way to do this is to complete a C1207N by clicking on here;  C1207n

If the importer does not have a deferment number this is not a problem as we will calculate the taxes payable and then discuss how best you can arrange payment of these in advance of the vehicles arrival.


Q. How do we pay Customs any charges due on a consignment if we do not have a deferment account?

 A.      No problem, by using the Email Link. referred to in the previous question we will calculate the charges due and send you a pro-forma invoice setting out the charges payable. The pro forma invoice contains our bank details so that payment can be arranged in advance of the vehicles arrival to avoid any unnecessary delays.

Q. What if we want to pay Customs the VAT or duties direct?

A. This can be arranged, but it is not something we recommend. Just include a note of the details you send us that you would like to pay Customs direct and we will send you the necessary form to enable you to make the payment.


Q. How do we set up a deferment account with Customs and what are the benefits?

The benefits of getting your own deferment is that it should improve your cash flow and an example of this is that if a consignment was to arrive on the 1st January and clear you would not have the money taken from bank account until the 15th February.

If you are only paying VAT to Customs then provided your application is accepted by Customs you will not even have to have a bank guarantee. Should your goods be dutiable then a guarantee would always be required through your bank.

Here is a link to the Business Link website explaining the procedures and you should always apply for the SIVA authorisation as the starting point.


Q. What can we do if we have, or are going to, exceed our deferment account limits?

A. You basically have three options, which are

i) Arrange with Customs to increase your limit

ii) Pay Customs direct and if this is your preferred option we would send you the necessary form.

iii) Arrange to pay us the charges and we will use our deferment, this is normally the simplest option.

Before deciding on which is the best option we would recommend you speak to us to discuss which option would be best suited for your circumstances.

 Q. Can we still import a commercial consignment without being EORI registered?

A. Technically yes you are able to but we strongly recommend that you are EORI registered before the arrival of your goods.

It will take approximately 3 working days to become registered and below are links to the relevant forms which would need to be completed and sent direct to Customs.

VAT registered link       Non VAT registered


Q. What information do we need to provide to claim relief from payment of Customs charges on goods being returned to the UK which we have previously exported?

A. Provided you are entitled to claim relief from taxes at the time of re-importation the best evidence is a copy of the export declaration submitted at the time of export. This should be an EAD. It may be possible to use supporting commercial documents in some circumstances but we would always recommend us having a copy of the customs export documents.


Q. If we are importing goods from outside of the EU, which are to be repaired or processed and then returned to the exporter which we do not wish to pay taxes on, what documentation is required for Customs?

 A. Ideally you should be authorised for Inward Processing Relief (IPR) by customs and then all we need is your IPR authorisation number, address of your controlling Customs office and if possible a copy of your approval as occasionally this is requested at the time of clearance.

If you do not have an IPR authorisation number then subject to certain restrictions there are procedures available called Simplified IPR which are subject to certain restrictions which are detained on the enclosed form which we would need completing and send to us along with the documents.

(IPR form to be sent to you as needs updating)

One thing we cannot stress enough is that when using any form of IPR you must ensure that when the goods are re-exported the correct procedures are followed as otherwise the importer is liable for all taxes which would have been paid at the time of arrival


Q. We are importing a consignment from outside the EU to be exhibited in the UK and then returned to the supplier?

A. If the goods are not subject to duty as they are accompanied by a preference certificate, or are duty free, we would recommend that you pay the VAT and reclaim it back through your Periodic VAT returns unless you have a temporary import guarantee already set up with Customs.

If duty is payable you will need to pay the VAT and duty at the time of arrival and then reclaim it back at the time of export, unless you have an authorisation issued by the National Import Relief Unit.

If you pay the VAT and duty you must ensure the goods are re-exported in exact accordance with the Customs regulations, otherwise you will not be able to reclaim the charges paid.


 Q. What documents do you need to import a motor vehicle?

A. i) if the vehicle is imported from another EU member state then you should contact your local DVLA office for advice.

ii) If the vehicle is imported from outside of the EU and you have just purchased the vehicle, you will need to pay VAT and any duty due. The amount of duty will be dependent on the origin of the vehicle, the value and any preference certificates provided. If you are a VAT registered trader then you will also need to complete a C&E389.

ii) If you are moving your home to the UK from outside the EU then you will need to complete a C104A. Providing you meet certain criteria then you will not have to pay any VAT or duty.

If you are importing a motor vehicle from outside of the EU we would recommend you click on the link below as this gives you further information about how to register the vehicle.

Register the vehicle


Q. What documents do I need to complete if I am moving to the UK?

A.    i) if you are moving to the UK from another member of the EU then you do not need any Customs documents.

ii) If you are moving your primary residence from outside the EU to the UK then you will need to complete a form C3 and a full inventory. We do not recommend that you import alcoholic beverages during the course of your move as these will need to have taxes paid on them. Also if you as part of your belongings bring in goods that are new or only recently been purchased then taxes could be payable.

iii) If you are moving possessions from outside of the EU to a secondary residence within the UK then this will be treated as a commercial import and the relevant taxes will need to be paid at the time of arrival.


Q. What documents do I need to complete for some possessions I have inherited?

 A If you have inherited some possessions you will need to complete a form C1421. We will also need a copy of the deceased persons will and testament, which should be in English and certified by the executor of the deceased estate.


Q. Where do we have to report for clearance?

A. ChannelPorts Ltd
Folkestone Services.
Junction 11, M20
CT21 4BL

Click here and it will take you to a map giving directions.


Q. What do we do if the driver failed to report for clearance at the time of arrival?

A. You should arrange to send all of the original documents to us with a letter of explanation as to why the driver failed to report to Customs. We will arrange to present them to Customs as a voluntary declaration.

If the driver presents you with a TIR CARNET please contact us before you offload the vehicle – DO NOT BREAK THE SEAL ON THE VEHICLE!

We recommend you take all steps possible to avoid this situation occurring as this is deemed by Customs as a non-compliance matter and ultimately could result in further action being taken by them.


Q. Are there any special restrictions for the importation of food?

A. Yes. Depending on exactly what the goods are and the commodity code then yes additional controls and or documents could be needed such as

Health Certificates

Analysis Certificates

Port Health examination

Port Health sampling and if this is needed is costly and will delay the vehicle

Certificates issued at the first entrance point into the EU.

This is not exhaustive so please talk to us on 01304 218325 so that we are able to offer further advice.


Q. How can I find out a tariff / commodity code for goods?

A.        You can use the Government web site shown below or call Customs on 01702 366077


Q. How can I find the current or historical rates of exchanges used by Customs?

A.        Just click on the link RatesCodesTools


Q. How can I find out what the duty rate will be on my goods?

A. Once you have the commodity code just click on the link below and it will take you to the EU website as this holds up to date information, enter your commodity code and the origin of the goods…/taric_consultation.jsp


One thing to please remember – we are here to help so if you can’t find the answer then please ask us by either calling us on 01304 218325 or emailing us at If we are not sure of the answer then we will try and find out for you if within our realms of expertise or try and point you in the best direction.


For more details or to discuss your requirements
call 01304 203 105 or click here to enquire online.