Customs Clearance

Protecting you and your cashflow

We all recognise the need to be compliant, but Customs regulations are becoming increasingly complex and the penalties for infringements becoming more severe. In recent years, HMRC has been increasing its audits and site visits to traders, imposing four figure fines for individual errors, which is why our experts guide you through classification, valuation and Customs regimes, to keep you compliant.

Keeping you compliant

Unsworth offers the full range of import and export Customs clearance services and can guide you through the regulation, compliance and Customs requirements that apply in your situation, offering advice and solutions for all your needs. Our team is experienced in dealing with the most complex Customs declarations and regimes, dealing with documentation and licensing requirements, legal and insurance concerns.

Simplifying technology

Unsworth’s technology and systems are directly linked to HMRC, which means you can be assured that our clearance process is fast, efficient and simple. Our ‘one-click’ tracking tool has a live feed as HMRC confirm clearance, so you can see your shipment’s updated status instantly.
Go to integration

Brexit ready

Unsworth hold AEO-F accreditation, which means fewer import physical and documentary checks and provides access to the full spread of Customs regimes and simplified procedures under the National Export System (NES). Our systems integrate directly with HMRC’s declaration system, including the new CDS, which is currently preparing to go live.
More about Brexit

Unsworth Customs Clearance Services

  • Helpful advice and guidance for UK Customs Clearance
  • Same day Customs Clearance and delivery from all major airports and sea ports
  • Secure storage for your import shipment after clearance
  • Packing, repacking and delivery to third-party with your documents
  • Most competitive rates for Clearance, Storage and Delivery
  • All main airports and sea ports covered

Support for all Customs regimes

  • Duty deferment
  • Community transit guarantee
  • NES export documentation
  • Bonded warehousing
  • Customs Freight Simplified Procedures (CFSP)
  • Enhance Remote Transit Shed (ERTS) warehousing facilities

Customs Clearance FAQS

What is Customs Clearance?

Customs Clearance is a process compulsory for all goods entering or leaving the EU. Customs clearance allows HM Customs & Excise to account for any due charges, ensure correct documentation has been used and ensure conformity to EU law. It also allows Customs to monitor which goods are coming into or leaving the UK.

Why should I use a Customs Clearance agent?

Customs agents are there to facilitate a professional service between HM Customs & Excise and importers and exporters. Our agents have significant understanding of the Customs rules and regulations applicable and are best suited to provide assistance.

Where can you complete UK Customs Clearance?

We can complete Import UK Customs Clearance for your shipments at the following Airports and Sea ports.

Airports: London Gatwick Airport, London Heathrow Airport, London Stansted Airport, London City Airport, London Luton Airport, Birmingham, East Midlands Airport, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and Edinburgh.

Sea Ports: Any UK port including Felixstowe, London Gateway, Southampton, Grangemouth, Tilbury, Thames port, Dover and Greenock.

How do you Customs clear cargo in other ports?

We are based in London with representatives at ports around the world. Thanks to changes in technology, remote access to other port community systems around the coasts of the UK is possible from one location.

How long does Customs Clearance take?

The Customs Clearance process can vary from shipment to shipment, and is dependent on what goods are entering the country. Once goods have entered the UK port, certain products may need additional documentation checks or a physical examination to ensure that declarations are correct.

What supporting customs clearance documentation do I require?

Basic documentation would be:

  • Shipping document ( Bill of Lading – original or telex)
  • Supplier’s commercial invoice
  • Packing list

Other documentation required for specific goods would be:

  • Certificate of Origin
  • Preference Certificates
  • Health certificates ( for foodstuffs etc )
  • COA
  • Organic certificate

Note: Importers should check before they ship if any special documentation is required.

Who decides how much import duties and taxes I have to pay?

UK VAT is currently 20%. Duty is dependent on the type of product being imported. All duty rates are set out by Brussels for the EU, and are payable upon free circulation within the EU.

All goods are classified into commodity codes. The duty and VAT amount vary for each commodity. Importers are responsible for the classification of the codes. However, if you need advice you can call 03000588454.

How can I pay for import duties and taxes?

We will advise you how much duty and VAT is required to be paid. You can pay customs directly or you can pay us first and we will pay customs on your behalf.

Where can I find more information on Customs clearance?

Further information on Customs clearance, their rules and regulations, service standards and details of your local Customs clearance office can be found on their website: www.gov.uk/starting-to-import

What happens after Customs clearance?

We provide you with copies of all documentation completed on your behalf, which have been lodged with HMRC. We are also able to facilitate delivery of your goods after clearance, if you require it. 

I am importing for the first time – How do I know the products I will import are allowed into the EU?

Some commodities, firearms and explosives for example, cannot be imported into the EU unless by an authorised person. If you have any doubts about whether your goods are approved in the EU, feel free to contact us prior to shipment.

Details of restricted goods can be found on the UK Customs website: www.gov.uk/guidance/import-controls. Alternatively, please check with a member of our experienced team who would be happy to assist.

I am moving my personal effects/ moving abroad, what should I do?

In order to attain VAT and duty relief for personal effects upon import, specific conditions must be met. If you have recently returned to the UK, lived overseas for a minimum of one year, and have owned the goods for 6 months, no VAT and duty are required. Goods can still be imported if they do not fall under these criteria but duty and VAT may be applicable.

Certain documentation is also required with original signatures, so it is important to check with Unsworth beforehand.  

If you are importing a car, the relief of VAT and duty will depend on the purpose of the vehicle.

Can I import foodstuffs?

The majority of foodstuffs are okay to import when accompanied by relevant official documentation. Certain food items would need additional documentation to be lodged with port health. Importers are required to ensure all documents are in place before goods are imported.