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How to get your parcel through UK customs

Sep 08, 2017

The moment your parcel is collected from you, whether it be at home or from your local post office, its journey begins.

Those being sent abroad embark on quite the adventure. Parcel delivery involves a number of precautions before its sky ready. Getting your parcel through customs is just as important to ensure it reaches its destination safely. Find out how to ensure your parcel flies through without any delays below.

When parcels arrive at their destination

As soon as parcels arrive at the airport, they will be sent to customs to be scanned and x-rayed. X-rays will help identify any items that are restricted from entering the desired country. Any items found to be prohibited will not be allowed past the point of customs. If there is a cause for concern, customs may decide to scan your parcel again or open it to ensure its contents are safe.

A few prohibited items you are not allowed to send in the post include:

  • Aerosols
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Batteries
  • Environmental waste
  • Flammable liquids and solids (including lighters)
  • Nail varnish
  • Lottery tickets
  • Weapons

Top tip: When sending a parcel abroad, it’s important to fill out the customs form correctly. State exactly what the package contains to avoid its arrival being delayed.

Arriving at their destination

When you parcel arrives at its destination it will be checked for a second time before being sent to customs for screening again and end up the delivery depot ready to be delivered by van or personally collected.

Customs charges

Most items that arrive in the UK from outside of the EU are subject to import VAT and Customers Duty – a tax added to good when they have been transported between international borders to protect each country’s economy and citizens or excise tax – a type of tax added to items that have been produced in the same country. Not matter what, all charges must be paid whether the goods you’re important are for yourself or have been shipped to you as a gift or prize.

In the UK, any parcel being received from a country outside of Europe will be subject to an £8 handling fee. Parcels containing goods worth more than £15 are liable to Import VAT, including all gifts worth over the value of £40.

Seized items

If you fail to follow the rules when bringing or receiving items from abroad, customs will either destroy or sell the item on unless you:

Ask for your items back: Even if you think customs were right to take what they did away, you can make a restoration request in the hope to get them home.

Think customs were wrong to take away your belongings: If you believe you didn’t break the rules, you must request a court hearing. Providing your request is accepted, you can get your things back but you might be required to pay a small fee as a result of the occurrence.

Parcels embark on quite the journey, don’t they?

Written by

Damien Troy
Damien Troy


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