Importing Garments/Apparel/Clothing into UK

Site updated regularly - Page last updated October 2013

Classification for Customs purposes

Before you can find out any information, such as: Duty Rate, VAT Rate, Licences, Documentation, Restrictions, etc etc, on any product, including Garments, you must first obtain the 10-digit commodity / classification code.

Clothing is one of the most biggest Sections of the UK Customs Tariff, covering 2 Chapters, 61 and 62. These are then divided, as follows:

Section XI - Textiles and textile articles



- 01 Men's or boys' overcoats, car coats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski jackets), windcheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles, other than those of heading 6203 -

- 02 Women's or girls' overcoats, car coats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski jackets), windcheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles, other than those of heading 6204 -

- 03 Men's or boys' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear) -

- 04 Women's or girls' suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear) -

- 05 Men's or boys' shirts -

- 06 Women's or girls' blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses -

- 07 Men's or boys' singlets and other vests, underpants, briefs, nightshirts, pyjamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles -

- 08 Women's or girls' singlets and other vests, slips, petticoats, briefs, panties, nightdresses, pyjamas, négligés, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles

- 09 Babies' garments and clothing accessories -

- 10 Garments, made up of fabrics of heading 5602, 5603, 5903, 5906 or 5907 -

- 11 Tracksuits, ski suits and swimwear; other garments -

- 12 Brassières, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted -

- 13 Handkerchiefs -

- 14 Shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas, veils and the like -

- 15 Ties, bow ties and cravats -

- 16 Gloves, mittens and mitts -

- 17 Other made-up clothing accessories; parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other than those of heading 6212 -

These Sections are then divided further, into

The types of material? Cotton, Polyester, Silk etc. etc.
Whether it has been woven or is non-woven
If it has been. printed or not

When speaking to UK Customs or your preferred Customs broker about importing garments, be sure to provide as much information as possible.

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Children's or Babies Apparel

If you are intending to import any Children's or Babies wear, then please ensure that this is clearly marked on all your paperwork, e.g. Commercial Invoices, Packing Lists etc. This is because these items are zero-rated (0.0%) for VAT.

Problems have arisen in the past with regards to the importation of bridesmaid dresses. If you are intending to import any bridesmaids dresses, please ensure that any children's dresses are clearly marked, to qualify for the zero rate (0.0%) of VAT, as not all bridesmaid dresses are in Children's sizes.

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Import Licences

Some textiles/garments are subject to import licensing. Once you have your 10-digit classification codes for your garments, please ensure that you check with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), quoting the Country of Origin and Textile Category Number, who then can advise you if you need a licence to import your goods. Their contact details are.

Import Licensing Branch (ILB) Enquiry Point
(T) +44 (0) 1642 364 333 / 334
(F) +44 (0) 1642 364 269

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Certificate of Origin

For many years, all shipments of garments, entering the UK needed to be accompanied by a Certificate of Origin, however, since October 2011 this rule was relaxed..

Please note: To qualify for a prerential rate of duty, a Certificate of Origin, by way of a GSP Form A or an EUR1/ATR1 wil still be required. Therefore, make sure that your supplier can raise one, each time your goods are shipped.

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Samples of Clothing

If you are looking at importing any samples, for you to check before placing a larger order. Please be sure to read about the requirements for quialifying for relief from duty and VAT, BEFORE your goods are shipped.

Items must be in minimal quantities, and either clearly marked as "Samples - Not for Resale", or be in a condition whereby, they cannot be re-sold, such as: One item in each colour, or several items, but sections have been cut-out, or single gloves, etc. UK Customs are clamping down on mis-use of the 'Trade Samples' CPC, therefore, if you have a large quantity which Customs think could be re-sold, then you will have to pay any import duty and / VAT on them.

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Clothing with famous brand names

Warning! As UK Customs and Trading Standards Officers are constantly on the lookout for counterfeit goods, you need to make sure that your goods are going to be OK BEFORE your goods are shipped.

It is quite often the case that when branded goods arrive into the UK, whether by Post, on a Parcel Service, by Courier, Air Cargo, trucked by road, or coming in as sea freight, that Customs Officers will check with their database of Ownership of that Brand name or Logo, or with the UK or European Distribution rights holder, to a; see if the items are legitimate and b; check if they have given permission to the importer for these items to be imported.

Please note:
If your branded goods are of a quantity deemed usable by 1 person, and the goods have been shipped by an authorised retailer or distributor, then you should not have any problem.

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