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UK Imports and Customs everything you need to know!

4Arnd4Arnd6 anos atrásUK Collectors

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  • 4Arnd4ア一ンドAdministrator
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    Hello fellow UK members. As these questions come up now and then, I thought I create some kind of guide or informative thread about the import of figurines and other goods into the UK.

    I hope you may find it useful - If you know anything to be incorrect please let me know. Any further details or stories, please feel free to share these here as well.

    Thank you. (^.^)

    Quick overview:

    Incoming Parcel from within the EU:

    Nothing to pay, but could get checked for indecent or prohibited items.

    Incoming Parcel from Japan (our outside EU in general):


    EMS and SAL Parcel are usually being delivered with Parcelforce and standard SAL with Royal Mail.

    EMS - Commercial, value more than £15 (was £18 before 1 Nov 2011) including postage and up to £135 - £13.50 plus VAT on parcel contents.
    SAL - Commercial, value more than £15 (was £18 before 1 Nov 2011) including postage and up to £135 - £8.00 plus VAT on parcel contents.

    EMS - Gift, value more than £36 (was £40 before 1 January 2013) including postage and up to £630 - £13.50 plus VAT on parcel contents. (PF website states £38)
    SAL - Gift, value more than £36 (was £40 before 1 January 2013) including postage and up to £630 - £8.00 plus VAT on parcel contents.

    Items with contents, which exceeds the maximum values mentioned above, are also liable to duty charges, if they are above £9.

    As shops usually almost always declare everything correctly, even a "cheap" figure can cost double the amount originally paid for.

    Users' experiences I've seen, hence I put this down to volume or RM and PF staff.
    - EMS consignments can go through based on their contents value alone, but normally are almost always charges to be paid. Based on own experience, they are often delayed as they contact you first (once I had a letter from them only after nearly two weeks! of waiting).
    - SAL (Registered or not) can go through without any charges, irrespective their values.



    Bit more details:

    General import rules & charges laid out by UK Customs & Excise:

    No import taxes apply to shipments, received from within the UK or the EU member states. Ie. if you receive one group order parcel, the taxes need to paid only once by the person who receives the group order. Items which are being sent onward to friends within the UK or EU do not have pay customs charges for a second time and you don't need to declare any values, except for insurance purposes, if you send it via registered mail and insured of course. But it is possible they may check your parcel for indecent or obscene material.

    Anything shipped into the UK via a Postal service must have a form CN22 or CN23 attached to the parcel (this little green piece of paper), describing the goods and their values. The importer, you, the recipient, who is receiving the goods (in our case, mostly figures I guess) are liable to customs charges, depending on value even if goods have been declared as a Gift, such as Customs Duty, Excise Duty (only for tobacco and alcohol) and VAT (currently at 20%). This applies currently to all commercial packages whose declared value is over £15 including! postage. This limit was £18 before 1st November 2011. Packages declares as a gift can have a value of up to £40 £36 (since 1 January 2013) excluding postage.

    So basically even a single "cheap" Nendo could cost you quite a bit if you are of impatient nature and get it shipped with EMS.

    Currently the handling fee stands at £8 for SAL packages, received with Royal Mail and at £13.50 for EMS parcels and SAL Parcel packages, received with Parcelforce.

    Depending on size and value of your shipment, DHL could be a viable alternative, as their fee is currently only £1.25 £6.00 £8.00 for private imports, where the VAT+Duty charges are under £62.50.

    In depth read:

    UK HM Revenue & Customs - customs.hmrc.go... - PDF with details: customs.hmrc.go...

    Royal Mail - www.royalmail.c...

    Parcelforce - www.parcelforce...

    DHL - www.dhl.co.uk/e...


    If anyone sees any updates or like something to add, please feel free to post in the thread or send me a PM. Thank you! :-)

    Updated on 16-02-2013
    Updated on 14-03-2014 (DHL flat rate changed)
    Updated on 12-12-2014 (links updated)
    http://myfigurecollection.net/pics/b/mfc180x80.png . https://en.facebookbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FB-fLogo-Blue-broadcast-2.png . https://cdn.cms-twdigitalassets.com/content/brand-twitter/en/jcr:content/par/c01_column_1596992668/col2/b04_asset_download_m.img.500.medium.1469476604231.jpg .
  • ApolloRegular Boarder
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    4ArndSAL - Commercial, value more than £18 (£15 as of 1 Nov 2011) including postage and up to £135 - £8.00 plus VAT on parcel contents.

    FFS. Isn't it pretty much luck whether they decide to charge you fees on SAL at the moment?
  • 4Arnd4ア一ンドAdministrator
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    Apollo4ArndSAL - Commercial, value more than £18 (£15 as of 1 Nov 2011) including postage and up to £135 - £8.00 plus VAT on parcel contents.

    FFS. Isn't it pretty much luck whether they decide to charge you fees on SAL at the moment?


    Yes, which I mentioned a little bit further down (hmm, may need higlighting) ^.^
    http://myfigurecollection.net/pics/b/mfc180x80.png . https://en.facebookbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FB-fLogo-Blue-broadcast-2.png . https://cdn.cms-twdigitalassets.com/content/brand-twitter/en/jcr:content/par/c01_column_1596992668/col2/b04_asset_download_m.img.500.medium.1469476604231.jpg .
  • Strife212Original BluePuella Magi
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    I've never had anything SAL charged ever. Officially they do but I've had dozens of parcels and not one has been charged.
    http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y110/Darkwind212/name-1.png
  • SmishedRegular Boarder
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    This will help me a lot thank-you very much =) There's a high chance of my WF order getting into customs so now I know how to charge (and warn beforehand) people their custom fees appropriately =)
  • 4Arnd4ア一ンドAdministrator
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    SmishedThis will help me a lot thank-you very much =) There's a high chance of my WF order getting into customs so now I know how to charge (and warn beforehand) people their custom fees appropriately =)

    From own experience, Parcelforce charged me so far only the £13.50 plus 20% VAT on the declared value (based on declaration on this CN22 green piece of paper). So you will see how much it is only when they hit you with it.

    Also from own experience, I don't know if this could apply to all UK PF offices. Once you know the parcel has being sent and you have the tracking number, you will eventually see a "Retained" status on the tracking page. Once you see the "retained" status and you already know the contact number from your local office (from previous shipments?), you can then phone them "ahead" of the letter, which you should receive. Give them the tracking number and they will tell you how much you have to pay, which you can do over the phone as well with a Debit Card. This can speed up the process considerably.
    http://myfigurecollection.net/pics/b/mfc180x80.png . https://en.facebookbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FB-fLogo-Blue-broadcast-2.png . https://cdn.cms-twdigitalassets.com/content/brand-twitter/en/jcr:content/par/c01_column_1596992668/col2/b04_asset_download_m.img.500.medium.1469476604231.jpg .
  • neonskittlesRegular Boarder
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    4Arnd- SAL (Registered or not) can go through without any charges, irrespective their values.

    I find Sal registered has around 70% chance of customs and also the Larger Sal parcel also always gets customs (if theyre over the value). It seems anything with tracking UK customs deems worth checking the value and anything without they must assume isnt worth their time to check.

    A little trick with amiami and HS i find if you want cheapest postage fees is to ask them to combine all orders you place for one given month, then once the email says the order is ready email them back asking for it to be split into as few Sal small packet boxes as possible.

    One the shipping costs less, even though it is multiple packages its still cheaper than EMS and two they always avoid customs (atleast ive never been charged for sal small packet without tracking)

    For those big items such as Fate Phantom Minds well my only tip is ask if they will undervalue it, you will still get customs charge as EMS shipping alone is over the limit but atleast you wont get a wacking £40 extra slapped onto to your costs.

    Hopes this helps
  • ShinigamiMaidRegular Boarder
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    well i've only ever used EMS I had one somehow skip customs charge
    but I was thinking about using SAL

    have most had good experiance with it

    after reading main info tempted to do an order as a trial
  • 4Arnd4ア一ンドAdministrator
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    ShinigamiMaidwell i've only ever used EMS I had one somehow skip customs charge

    Same here, but it was value related, one figure worth less than 2,000 yen and I had it in less than 48 hours, which was in record time from Japan to the UK.
    http://myfigurecollection.net/pics/b/mfc180x80.png . https://en.facebookbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FB-fLogo-Blue-broadcast-2.png . https://cdn.cms-twdigitalassets.com/content/brand-twitter/en/jcr:content/par/c01_column_1596992668/col2/b04_asset_download_m.img.500.medium.1469476604231.jpg .
  • Strife212Original BluePuella Magi
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    Yeah, if EMS doesn't get stopped in customs it's so fast it's unreal but unfortunately 99% of the time it does get stopped.
    http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y110/Darkwind212/name-1.png
  • ShinigamiMaidRegular Boarder
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    got first sal parcel today
    from amiami nendoroid
    i did sal registered as wasn't sure if there was a big difference between registered and unregistered.

    i got my shipping notice the 12 and she arrived today 20
    so not a major wait but the best bit no customs charge
    totally made my day

    got my second sal from hobby search
    for an art book
    again no customs
    think I'l be using sal more often now
  • WoodlandbunnyS.T.A.R.S. MemberRegular Boarder
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    How likely is DHL to get through customs? I usually get everything shipped by EMS (that won't fit SAL) but I'm thinking of switching to DHL on the few sites that do offer it as it seems to be quicker and cheaper.

    Does anyone use the DHL option and is it worth it? I know EMS can sometimes slip through the net but I have no experience with DHL.
  • 4Arnd4ア一ンドAdministrator
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    WoodlandbunnyHow likely is DHL to get through customs? I usually get everything shipped by EMS (that won't fit SAL) but I'm thinking of switching to DHL on the few sites that do offer it as it seems to be quicker and cheaper.

    Does anyone use the DHL option and is it worth it? I know EMS can sometimes slip through the net but I have no experience with DHL.


    I deal with DHL only in work and they are a Courier service, rather than a "postal" service. From there, everything is going through customs, although you may get your item immediatly and will receive a letter at a later point, asking you to cough up for the import.

    I only dealt only once with such a service, namely FedEx, where it happened this way. Got my shipment, then a letter, asking to pay VAT and a £13 fee. I'm not sure how much this would be currently.

    However it is possible DHL may deal with this matter in a completely different way, if your goods go to your home address (my stuff goes always to my work address).

    As for your EMS stuff, you must be extremely lucky, as I had to pay for every single one so far (except once, where the figure was under the limit)...
    http://myfigurecollection.net/pics/b/mfc180x80.png . https://en.facebookbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FB-fLogo-Blue-broadcast-2.png . https://cdn.cms-twdigitalassets.com/content/brand-twitter/en/jcr:content/par/c01_column_1596992668/col2/b04_asset_download_m.img.500.medium.1469476604231.jpg .
  • arhraRegular Boarder
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    4ArndI only dealt only once with such a service, namely FedEx, where it happened this way. Got my shipment, then a letter, asking to pay VAT and a £13 fee. I'm not sure how much this would be currently.

    DHL actually have reasonable policies regarding admin fees:

    DHL
    What is the administration fee?
    The fee for business customers is £10 or 2% of the total duty/VAT amount incurred, whichever is the greater.

    The growth of Internet shopping has led us to introduce a different administration fee for private individuals. This is because net shoppers are usually buying infrequently and purchasing low cost items such as CDs, DVDs or software. We felt that low usage such as this merited a different fee structure. We charge a flat rate of £1.25 where the total duty/VAT is less than £62.50, or 2% of the total duty/VAT incurred if greater than £62.50.


    So even if your stuff does get caught in customs, at least you're not getting shafted by the additional fees. That said, I've never had to deal with it, as I've only ever used DHL on Mandarake, who always undervalue items/mark them as gift, so they never get caught by customs anyway.
  • Strife212Original BluePuella Magi
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    Yep, as mentioned going with a courier will 100% guarantee you get charged.
    http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y110/Darkwind212/name-1.png
  • 4Arnd4ア一ンドAdministrator
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    Nice find arha (^.^)

    I've never looked into the fee structure from DHL, as I never had anything from them for myself. If I can't use SAL, I will give them a try the next time (depending on comparable shipping cost). £1.25 sounds much much better than the EMS (Parcelforce) flat fee of £13.50.
    http://myfigurecollection.net/pics/b/mfc180x80.png . https://en.facebookbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FB-fLogo-Blue-broadcast-2.png . https://cdn.cms-twdigitalassets.com/content/brand-twitter/en/jcr:content/par/c01_column_1596992668/col2/b04_asset_download_m.img.500.medium.1469476604231.jpg .
  • WoodlandbunnyS.T.A.R.S. MemberRegular Boarder
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    Wow, the DHL fee structure sounds pretty good. I'll give them a try next time I can't use SAL. Thanks for that, arhra. ^w^

    4Arnd
    As for your EMS stuff, you must be extremely lucky, as I had to pay for every single one so far (except once, where the figure was under the limit)...


    Come to think of it, all those packages were declared under 3000 yen. I guess that was why ^_^'
  • DanciRegular Boarder
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    Argh! Normally I never get charged when using SAL registered and I've had countless figures delivered by this method and I've never been charged...until today. Royal Mail charged me £16.40 for handling a 5200yen figure...ugh...and I only use SAL to avoid these costs...looks like I'm gonna have to start using unregistered >.<
  • 4Arnd4ア一ンドAdministrator
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    Danci (5 anos atrás)Argh! Normally I never get charged when using SAL registered and I've had countless figures delivered by this method and I've never been charged...until today. Royal Mail charged me £16.40 for handling a 5200yen figure...ugh...and I only use SAL to avoid these costs...looks like I'm gonna have to start using unregistered >.<

    How did you get charged (breakdown)?
    http://myfigurecollection.net/pics/b/mfc180x80.png . https://en.facebookbrand.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/FB-fLogo-Blue-broadcast-2.png . https://cdn.cms-twdigitalassets.com/content/brand-twitter/en/jcr:content/par/c01_column_1596992668/col2/b04_asset_download_m.img.500.medium.1469476604231.jpg .
  • DanciRegular Boarder
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    The handling fee was flat rate £8.00 and then an £8.40 customs charge >.<. It came as a real surprise as normally I only get customs charges when Parcelforce are involved for EMS packages.

    When I asked about it the man said that HMRC are tightening up with customs - nothing specific though. Is it normal to get charged with registered SAL? It's never happened to me before D:

    I've got another reg.SAL package arriving in the next few days so I'll see whether I get charged for that one as well.

    xx
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