Send us your import customs clearance instructions in minutes

1 - Submit your details

Complete the below import clearance form so that we have all the necessary details. If this is your first time working with us, open an account here.

2 - Send us your documents

Send your packing list, commercial invoice, and any other supporting documents to mail@universalcustomsclearance.co.uk.

3 - Get your import clearance

Mon to Fri, 09:00 to 17:00, you can expect your import clearance within approximately 30 minutes. However, please call us if you need it urgently.

    You need to have opened a trading account with UCC Ltd to use this form

    Import customs clearance services in the UK

    If you need import clearance for your road or sea freight movement, then Universal Customs Clearance are at your service. Providing import customs clearance services for any major UK seaport, we cover most trade lanes in and out of the UK. 

    Simply fill out the above form, and you can expect your clearance back within approximately approx 90 minutes during normal working hours

    You can use UCC for end-to-end customs services:

    You don’t need multiple agents when you partner with Universal Customs Clearance. Our network also covers the export customs clearance on the other side of the transit. You can find our partner locations and rates on the pricing page. You can also send us a message below for more information.

    Information needed for import customs clearance

    When you are instructing us to process an import declaration using the above form, you will be able to check that we have all the necessary information.

    You will also need to email your commercial invoice, packing list, and movement certificate (EG Bill of Lading or CMR) to us, along with any other commodity-specific or preference documents.

     

    Need advice?

    We are here for you. Simply send us a message and we will respond ASAP.

      Universal Customs Clearance don't only provide import clearance services

      Import clearance FAQs

      What documents do I need for import customs clearance?

      For import customs clearance, you must have all of the commercial goods for your shipment. The following are mandatory:

      - Commercial invoice/value.
      - Packing list (this is sometimes combined with the invoice).
      - A transport certificate, such as a Bill of Lading or a CMR.

      Other documents might be required for your import clearance, depending on your commodity, origin, or mode of transport. These include, but are not limited to:

      - Licences
      - Catch certificates.
      - Phytosanitary certificates.
      - Veterinary certificates.
      - FLEGT/forestry certificates.
      - Aflatoxin certificates.
      - Laboratory test reports.
      - Plastic declaration documents.

      Universal Customs Clearance has experience with most commodities, and has links to all major UK ports. If you need help with an import clearance, contact us for assistance.

      What value do I need to declare on an import customs clearance?

      When declaring your goods to customs, you need to use the border value of the goods. This means all charges incurred before the goods have reached the import border must be declared. This includes, but is not limited to:

      - The cost of your goods.
      - The cost for the freight of your goods.
      - Any insurance premiums that have been paid against the goods.
      - Packing costs.
      - Export customs clearance.

      All of these costs can be declared separately, or they will be included in the cost of the goods. This depends on the INCOTERM that you use. D-level and C-level INCOTERMS have these (except C&F, which does not include your insurance premium), whereas F-level terms and EXW (ex-works) require the freight and other costs to be declared separately.

      Universal Customs Clearance will help you find the values for your import clearance if you need us to. Contact us for more information.

      How long does an import customs clearance take in the UK?

      It takes 10 or more minutes for an import customs clearance to be processed in the UK. If the declaration is passed for immediate processing, and the taxes are ready to be collected from a deferment or prepaid account, then the clearance will be completed within 10 minutes of arrival or declaration.

      Import clearances can take longer to process for a variety of reasons, included but not limited to:

      - Random paperwork checks by the National Clearance Hub (NCH)
      - Additional holds from supporting government departments such as Port Health, Forestry Commission, or Border Force.
      - Insufficient funds on the deferment or duty account, or a delay in allocating paid funds to the declaration.
      - Pending X-Ray examination.

      Some of these delays to import clearance are avoidable, whereas others are not. For you to get the best chance of clearing your goods through UK customs on time, contact Universal Customs Clearance for assistance with your declarations today.

      Do I need to be VAT registered to process an import customs clearance in the UK?

      No. Customs declarations can be completed on behalf of individuals and businesses of all sizes. You do not need to be VAT registered to move your goods through customs.

      However, you must be VAT registered to reclaim VAT that is paid during the import clearance process. You also need to have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number for your declaration so that it can be associated with your company. If you declare your goods against an EORI, then you will receive a C79 VAT statement at the end of each month (based on the date of clearance, not entry), which you can use to deduct VAT during your tax accounting process.

      Contact UCC for more information on what you need for import clearance in the UK today.

      What is import customs clearance in the UK?

      Import customs clearance in the UK is the process of getting goods authorised for import through the border. You are advising HMRC (customs) of your shipment and paying any import duty and VAT that is due before the goods are allowed into the UK.

      For a standard import clearance, you need the following documents and information:

      - Commercial Invoice.
      - Packing List (may be combined with the Commercial Invoice).
      - Commodity code: this identifies what your goods are, the tax rates, and any restrictions.
      - Transport document: Bill of Lading, CMR, Air Waybill - this must show an identifier for the cargo IE container number.
      - Date of arrival.
      - Port of arrival.

      You need to send all of this information to your customs broker for them to complete your import customs clearance in the UK. They will then process the import declaration and provide you with clearance once you have paid any taxes due.

      If you need need help confirming you have all the relevant information, you can use the handy form at the top of this page to check. Please contact us if you need more information.

      What do I need for import customs clearance in the UK?

      To process an import customs clearance for your goods in the UK, you need to have your administration in place and have the right documents for your shipment. Before you can process any import declarations with your broker, you need to:

      - Obtain an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number - you can do this whether you are VAT-registered or not.
      - Register your details inside the Customs Declaration Service (CDS) system.
      - Authorise your import customs clearance agent to act on your behalf (within CDS).
      - Register your Deferment Account Number (DAN) within CDS (if applicable).

      Until you have completed the above, you will not be able to declare goods to customs as an importer or reclaim the VAT.

      Once you are registered, you need to have the correct information for your broker to complete the clearance:

      - Commercial invoice/value.
      - Packing list (this is sometimes combined with the invoice).
      - A transport certificate, such as a Bill of Lading or a CMR.

      You may also require additional documentation, depending on your commodity code, procedure, origin, or mode of transport.:

      - Aflatoxin certificates.
      - Laboratory test reports.
      - Licences
      - Veterinary certificates.
      - Catch certificates.
      - Phytosanitary certificates.
      - FLEGT/forestry certificates.
      - Plastic declaration documents.

      Universal Customs Clearance have processed doumentations of all kinds. If you need assistance with import customs clearance in the UK, contact us for more information.

      When do I need to complete an import customs clearance?

      Your import declaration must be completed, accepted, and cleared before your goods can enter the UK.

      When you are moving goods by sea or by air, the carrier will usually create an inventory at the port which will be used to assign your clearance to the cargo that is being moved. This is not always the case, though, as there are terminals which do not have inventories. These are often Ro/Ro terminals, which move vehicles and clear goods using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) system.

      When your goods are arriving by road (ferry), your import declaration will be allocated to a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) on GVMS, which will process when the vessel departs origin.

      Universal Customs Clearance process import customs declarations at all major UK ports, and provide GVMS services. Contact us for more information.

      Who is responsible for the import clearance?

      Unless the goods are being sold on the DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) INCOTERM, the buyer is responsible for paying the taxes during the import clearance process. However, the seller may be responsible for contracting and paying for the import declaration if the goods are being sold on the DAP (Delivered At Place) INCOTERM, where the named place is past the import border. It is important to ascertain who will be responsible for export and import clearance when contracting the sale of goods with your trading partner.

      Whether you are the buyer or the seller, Universal Customs Clearance can clear your goods at all major ports in the UK. Contact us for more information.

      What causes delays during import customs clearance?

      Delays with import clearance can mostly be avoided by following good practices. However, sometimes it is unavoidable.

      To give yourself the best chance of getting past customs without delay, we recommend the following:

      - Send all the documentation through to your customs broker in good time.
      - Ensure that you are using the correct commodity code(s), and that they are applied under the same conditions (IE the same code for the same product every time).*
      - Give your broker any additional information required for the clearance with the documents (IE freight rate for EXW or F-level INCOTERMS).
      - Pay the duty and VAT ASAP to ensure the shipment clears and you avoid post-clearance holds.
      - Keep records of all of your clearances and proof of origins (IE supplier information on origin or ingredient lists).*

      *Note that some of these are best practices in case of audit, as customs may decide to check every load if you are found to not have your processes in order.

      Despite best practices, your import clearance may be delayed for the following reasons that are beyond your, or your customs broker's, control:

      - Random selection for document or X-Ray examination.
      - Documentation checks associated with the commodity code, where every shipment of this kind gets checked.
      - Examination for importing into a new port, or for the first time.

      Universal Customs Clearance work with you to minimise your delays in clearance, starting with our instruction process. At the top of this page, you'll see we ask for all the required information up front to avoid gaps and reduce the need to email for more details. Get started with us today.

      How do INCOTERMS affect import clearance value?

      The value for import clearance must be at least the amount the goods cost at the border. What this means is that the cost of the goods, the freight, export clearance at origin, marine insurance, and any other charges incurred before arrival must be included in the value for customs.

      When your INCOTERM is Ex-Works or F-level (FCA/FAS/FOB), the freight cost is not included in the value of the invoice, so this must be added when submitting your import declaration. Similarly, insurance must be added for these INCOTERMS, as well as C&F as it is not included in the invoice value.

      Universal Customs Clearance provides import clearance for all major UK ports. If you are unsure whether you need to add more values to your clearance, contact us for assistance.

      What do I do if there is a mistake on my import customs clearance after release of the goods?

      If your import shipment has already cleared, then a post-clearance amendment must be completed to rectify the record with HMRC. If the taxes have been paid using deferment in the same month, then a current month adjustment may be completed to notify HMRC of the change in taxes due.

      If the taxes have already been processed, then repayment or additional payment is required. In the event that that you owe money to HMRC, they will issue a C18 notice to you asking for additional funds. this can be paid using direct transfer or your deferment account.

      If you are owed money by HMRC, then they will refund you to your account or your agents account. Note that only duty can be reclaimed from HMRC, and that VAT overpayments will be reclaimed using the C79 and as part of your usual VAT reclaim.

      Universal Customs Clearance is experienced in processing reclaims and provides import clearance services in every major UK port. Contact us for more information.

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