Global shipping and UK Customs Broker

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Importing into the UK?
Contact us to see if we can help you.

Why not see if we can help with paying the excise duty to UK Customs

UK Customs clearance agents and brokers

Whether your goods arrive via Airfreight into London Heathrow, or perhaps Birmingham or Manchester, or via Seafreight into Felixstowe, Southampton, Tilbury, Thamesport or one of the other major deep sea container ports, by whichever means or location, you will probably enlist help from the professionals. The information below outlines what you must inform your preferred Customs clearing agent / clearance broker, and also some of the usual procedures, but please remember… we at UK Import Services are Customs brokers, so why not contact our import team to see how we can help you? ukimports


Before going ahead with any Freight Forwarder or UK Customs Broker, make sure they are a reputable Company and experienced in the whole shipping process. Anyone can set up their own Company and create a website but mistakes can cost you money… possibly, LOTS of money!

Always use a Company which is a member of BIFA – The British International Freight Association.

We are a member of BIFA, so why not contact our Imports Team to see how we can assist you. ukimports

Private Importer (PR) / EORI / VAT Number / Pseudo TURN

The VAT status of all Importers bringing in goods into the UK must be declared on every Customs entry (Form C88/SAD). Therefore, all shipments that appear to be for personal use (non-commercial) will be declared as ‘Private’ (PR). This means that the importer will NOT be able to reclaim any VAT paid.  If you, or the importer of the goods, have a full EORI (previously known as the TURN) or Pseudo TURN*, then please advise your clearing agent before they declare your goods to Customs.

*What is a Pseudo TURN? (Taken from Public Notice 553)
A Pseudo TURN is a 9-digit number issued for use on goods imported for trade purposes, e.g. resale, commercial use etc., when the importer/exporter is not VAT registered. Although it appears in the same format as a VAT registration number, it is not a VAT number. A Pseudo TURN is required when you are making any / all commercial Imports.

If you require a Pseudo TURN, then you can apply electronically via the Customs website: Click here to complete the online application form, or an application form or for a Form that you can print off, please see our ‘Customs Forms’ page and select the Form C220A. Alternatively you can speak to a member of our imports team, who will be happy to assist you.

Please note that applications for Pseudo TURNs used to take approx. 4 working days, whilst applications for full VAT numbers are currently taking up to 16 weeks to process. Electronic applications may be quicker, but please ensure that you take this time-frame into consideration. ukimports

Classification/Commodity Code(s)

Due to the complexity of the numerous headings within the UK Customs Tariff, it is not always possible for any clearing agent to classify your goods on your behalf. To ensure that the correct code is used on your entry, ensuring that you do not pay any more Import duty and/or VAT than necessary, it is advisable that you obtain the correct commodity code for your goods yourself. This can either be found on the Europe Taric Website, via the ‘Links’ page, or by calling the Classification Helpline on: (T) +44 (0) 1702 366 077.

Additional Tariff Headings

Most Clearing agents standard ‘Customs Clearance’ charge, usually includes the 1st Classification code, or up to the first 4 tariff headings for airfreight. Should your shipment contain 5 different commodities or more, then each additional heading, after the first 4, will be an additional charge. ukimports


Please advise any clearing agent immediately, if you are claiming any Relief or Exemption from any/all Import Duty and/or VAT. If you have had documentation raised by the shipper, for your goods, under any of the global trade agreements, such as Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), EUR1 etc. Or perhaps you feel that the circumstances surrounding the importation of your goods make your eligible for relief, for example: Personal Effects, Temporary Importation, Return Goods, Diplomatic Immunity etc., then please ensure that you mention this to your clearing agent before they make the Customs declaration/entry on your behalf. Post amendments and reclaims can be done, but there maybe a charge levied for failure to provide full information at the original time of import.

Direct Representation

As well as declaring the details relating to you, the importer and those of your goods, to UK Customs, a declaration must be made on each entry, outlining the liability of any outstanding duty and / or VAT (shown in box 14 on the Form C88. This declaration is either: Direct Representation or Indirect Representation.

Nearly all declarations (or entries) made to Customs are declared as ‘Direct Representation’. This means that most clearing agents will not be liable for any calculated duty and/or VAT payable to UK Customs.

Agent liability(Taken from Notice 199 Imported Goods: Customs Procedures and Customs Debt)

When making a Customs declaration acting as a direct representative on behalf of a principal i.e. the declarant, the principal will be liable for the customs debt. The Customs agent or any sub-agent will have no liability for the customs debt.

Delivery (Cartage/Haulage)

If you are looking for a quote on a delivery / haulage, once the shipment has arrived into the UK. Make sure you have the following details to enable us to quote you:

  • Dimensions (incl. size in Cbm)
  • Gross Weight
  • Location of unloading (Port or Warehouse name) and the delivery address (incl. Postcode)

(If you do not have this information available, you should be able to obtain it from the shipper).

Please note that various factors can increase the cost of your delivery, together with your agents ability to offer the service. These can range from: Hazardous Cargo, Private Residence, No-Unloading Facility, Timed-delivery etc. Please ensure that you advise any of these, or other exceptional circumstances, when requesting a quotation. Be sure to check if your haulage price includes VAT. In most cases any haulage prices quoted are excluding VAT.

Click here to see our page on UK Delivery / Haulage. ukimports

Paying Duty and/or VAT

Depending on the amount payable, we can arrange for the payment of Import Duty & VAT to Customs on your behalf.

Although you can pay this directly yourself, there are benefits to you agent acting on your behalf. These are as follows:

  • Their payment would be made immediately (or same-day) to reduce any rent / storage payable where your goods are located.
  • Banks usually charge between GB£ 20.00 to GB£ 35.00 for a same-day transfer.

This immediate payment would either be made via a ‘Deferment Account’ or ‘DAN’ (a bank account held with Customs) or via a CHAPs payment (same-day electronic transfer). This service is generally known as ‘Use of DAN’ (UOD). If you require this service, be sure to mention it to a member of our imports team.

In addition to making the immediate payment, your clearing agent will also complete the necessary paperwork (Form C514), as well as making sure all references are sent with the payment necessary for your shipment to clear Customs. ukimports

Once again, if you need help with this, then please feel free to contact a member of our imports team. ukimports


All the airlines, shipping lines and bonded warehouses / ERTS (Enhanced Remote Transit Shed), charge rent for shipments arriving into the UK. Depending on the service used and where your goods are located, the ‘rent-free’ period can vary, as does the daily rate that it is charged. Once you have received notification that your goods have arrived, we strongly advise that you ask details relating to when and how much any rent will be. In most instances your clearing agent will not pay these on your behalf, and you will be expected to pay those charges yourself. It is always important to remember that delays caused by confusion between who is paying what, could ultimately cost you money in rent or storage.

Post-Clearance Amendments/Reclaims

Amendments and Reclaims can be made following the clearance of your goods, if genuine errors have been made. Please check the C88/Customs entry completed by your clearing agent, to confirm that they have cleared all the containers or packages required and that they have been cleared as per your instructions – If incorrect call them IMMEDIATELY, to discuss these errors. Should you require any post-clearance amendment/reclaim, whereby your clearing agent were not at fault, or a certain period (usually around 14 days) has passed from the date on the entry, then a charge may be levied.

Payment methods/Credit accounts

If you intend to import goods on a regular basis, then it is possible to set up a credit account with us. Please contact us for an account application form, and details of acceptable payment methods.

Email a member of our Imports Team to see whether your goods are eligible and to find out what UK Customs Forms need to be completed in order for Customs to clear your goods.


Phone us on 0345 309 6360, or email us at:


Importing into the UK?
Contact us to see if we can help you.

Why not see if we can help with paying the excise duty to UK Customs

UK Import Services Limited
Global Shipping and UK Customs Broker

PO Box 832
United Kingdom

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