Frequently Asked Import Questions (FAQs)
For ease of use, these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) have been separated into the different modes of transport. ukimports.org
.................................................................What charges should I expect to pay?
How do I advise the airline as to who is my Customs clearing agent?
How do I pay charges owed to the airline/co-loader?
Back to Back AWB or consol?
What is IATA? Will I have to pay Import duty and / or VAT?
Who can Customs clear my shipment?
The courier company has Customs cleared my goods without using my VAT No. What do I do now? Even if my goods arrive by road, does it still have to clear Customs?
Can I clear my goods when the cargo is in transit, on the ferry?
Does my driver have to do anything when he arrives into port? Apart from import duty and / or VAT, what other charges should I expect to pay?
I have received a Notice of Arrival... do I have to do anything with it?
Surrendering the original Bill of lading... I'm not sure what this means!
What do I do if I haven't got any original documents, which includes the original bill of lading? What paperwork is needed to be able to Customs clear my goods?
Can my shipment be Customs cleared whilst en-route to the UK?
How long does it take to clear Customs?
How can a clearing agent clear at different ports around the UK, from one office?
How do I read the Customs Form C88 that my Clearing agent has sent me?
As you would probably expect, the different methods of shipping goods have different sets of charges, although any import duty and / or VAT will remain the same.
The charges for air freight include: Shipping / Freight costs (depending on the 'Inco-Terms'), Airline Handling, and possibly a handover fee (again, depending on the 'Inco-Terms', delivery to your door may also be an extra charge).
For more accurate details, as to what charges would apply for your own personal goods and circumstances, please contact a member of our imports team, who will be happy to help . ukimports.org
When your goods arrive into the UK, the airlines UK handling agent should contact you to advise when are where you goods are waiting to be Customs cleared (if they don't then the shipper should advise the airline that has been used, contact their UK office and ask who for the name of their handling agent and their telephone number). Advise the airline that any documents need to be passed to your preferred clearing agent, and that the goods should be released to their 3 letter badge code (your agent should give you this). You may have to send this in writing to them, either via fax or email.
If you would like us at UK Import Services, to Customs clear your goods, then please contact a member of our Imports team. ukimports.org
As is the same when paying anyone, not all Companies give credit and not all will accept cheque or credit card payments. Once you have been advised how much is owed, then ensure that you ask what methods of payment they accept. ukimports.org
There are two ways of transporting goods via air freight, either on its own, under its own airline Master Airwaybill ( MAWB ), which is known as 'Back to Back', or via a consolidated service offered by a freight forwarder.
On the 'Back to Back' option, your goods will be sent on the 1st available flight, minimising any delays. This, however, comes at a premium.
On the 'Consol' option, each shipment would travel under its own House Airwaybill ( HAWB ), and the whole consolidated shipment would travel under a Master Airwaybill.
A lot of Freight Forwarders book a certain amount of space with an airline, to enable them to build up 'Consol', which is basically shipping lots of different shipments to the same airport. If you can wait a week or so, then you could benefit from lower shipping costs, when they're consolidated with others.
Be sure to discuss this option, if you feel that you might prefer to ship via this method . ukimports.org
If you have heard the term / name 'IATA' and wondered what it meant?,
then click here to visit our IATA page. ukimports.org
Although you shipment may be small in size and is being shipped via a quicker service, the rules and regulations still apply. Therefore, if you shipment is non-document shipment and valued over GB£ 18.00 it will still require an individual Customs entry, and if applicable, Import duty and / or VAT paid to Customs. Our basics page has futher information on this. ukimports.org
As with all the different shipping methods, courier shipments have their own inventory linked computer system. Therefore, only companies with the correct software and badge(s) can clear courier shipments. This means, that you will not be able to get an airfreight clearing agent to clear a courier shipment and as there are not many courier companies, your options are pretty much, whichever courier company has shipped your goods, will probably Customs clear your goods. ukimports.org
Contact them to let them know, and they should be able to do a post-clearance amendment (with no extra cost to you). ukimports.org
If your goods have arrived into the country from outside the EC, it will require a Customs declaration and, if applicable, Import duty and / or VAT paid to Customs. Also, any exciseable goods, such as Alcohol or Tobacco products will need excise duty paid when entering the UK. ukimports.org
If you have submitted your paperwork to a Customs clearance agent / broker prior to arrival, there is a chance that they can get cleared in transit. Contact us for more information. ukimports.org
If your driver has original paperwork with him which relates to an application of relief or exemption from any import duty and / or VAT, then your driver will have to present this paperwork to the Customs clearance office upon arrival at the port. ukimports.org
As with airfreight, the freight / shipping costs is not the only charges you have to pay. With other people involved in the movement of the goods, other than just the shipping line, companies such as; port operators, haulage companies and other various organisations all wanting payment for their part separately, you really need to do you homework. Click on these links to see our dedicated pages on both FCL (Full Container Loads) and LCL (Less than a Container Load) shipments. ukimports.org
The answer is 'Yes', although what you need to do, may depend on it's content. Please contact a member of our imports team, and they will be happy to go through it with you.
If you would like UK Import Services to Customs clear your goods, then, as mentioned before, please contact a member of our Imports team. ukimports.org
In order for you to get your goods released by either the shipping line, or a co-loader, you must post them an original bill of lading (there's usually 3 original copies), with your signature across the back. Your shipper / exporter should courier these original documents to you once your goods have left the port of origin. ukimports.org
Without the original bills of lading, or you could call them 'proof of ownership' documents, your goods will not be released to you. If you haven't received them after a week of your goods leaving the port of origin, you MUST contact the shipper to find out where they are. Any delays in waiting for these documents once your goods have arrived, will undoubtedly end up with you paying charges of rent / storage. ukimports.org