Summer Travel Advice from HMRC

We’re now in the summer holiday period and due to recent changes to travel advice, the HMRC want to remind you of the new rules that have been in place since 1‌‌ ‌January this year. Whether you’re travelling between the UK and EU for business or pleasure, there are new processes you need to be prepared for.

In addition to COVID-19, passport and insurance requirements for travellers visiting the EU, there are new rules that will affect you if you bring in goods from abroad for personal use, carry goods for use in your business and carry large amounts of cash.

Question 1: I regularly travel to the EU with work and take products in my luggage, what do I need to do?

If you are leaving Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) with commercial goods in your luggage or in a small vehicle, you must declare the goods before you leave by making one of the following:

  • a full export declaration
  • a simple online declaration
  • an oral declaration at the ‘goods to declare’ channel or the red point phone in the customs area at the port or airport
  • declaration by conduct (not available if you carry commercial excise goods of any value).

You must submit a full customs declaration before you leave Great Britain if the goods you carry are worth more than £1,500, or weigh more than 1,000kg, or are classed as excise (alcohol, tobacco or fuel) or controlled goods (for example, toxic chemicals, firearms).

If your goods don’t meet these criteria then you can make a simple online declaration in the five days before you leave, or make an oral declaration to the Border Force officials, or a declaration by conduct.

The same thresholds and types of declarations apply for importing commercial goods into the UK; however, if you do not make a full import declaration, you will not be able to account for import VAT on your VAT return.

More information on what you need to do when moving commercial goods in your baggage out of Great Britain or into Great Britain is available on GOV‌‌.UK.

There is a short video explaining the new rules for carrying commercial goods in your baggage on YouTube.

The rules above do not cover the import/export requirements of the EU country you are visiting.

Question 2: I’m travelling to the EU this summer, can I still bring goods back to Great Britain without paying duty and VAT?

You can bring some goods from the EU without having to pay UK tax or duty if they are goods for personal use or you want to give them as a gift.

The amount of goods that you can bring in is known as your ‘personal allowance’.

The personal allowance rules apply whether you bought the goods from a shop on a high street, or a duty-free shop at the airport, in the country that you visited.

We have developed an online declaration service for you to check your personal allowances, see what tax and duties that may be due, declare your goods and pay any tax or duty.

For more information on personal allowances for Great Britain and Northern Ireland go to bringing goods into the UK for personal use.

There is a short video explaining the new rules for travelling with goods for personal use.

The rules above do not cover the import/export requirements of the EU country you are visiting.

Question 3: What do I need to know about taking cash in and out of Great Britain?

If you are leaving or entering Great Britain with cash of £10,000 or more, you must declare it to UK customs authorities.

A declaration also has to be made if you are carrying cash of £10,000 or more from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. However, you do not need to declare any amount of cash if you’re carrying it from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

You must declare cash in the three days before you travel.

You can declare online for:

  • cash you’re carrying between Great Britain and any other country
  • cash you’re carrying between Northern Ireland and a non-EU country, this includes Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

There is a short video that explains the new rules for carrying large sums of cash.

The rules above do not cover requirements for cash declarations when you enter the EU.

Support for travellers

As well as the guidance provided above we have produced a dedicated travellers communications pack that may help you get to grips with the new rules.

You will also be aware that international travel has changed and there are new requirements in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19, there are more details on GOV.UK.

There are also a range of new rules in place because of the UK leaving the EU so please check online to ensure you know what you need to do.

Support for businesses that trade

More information on where to watch videos, sign up for email alerts and register for webinars to learn more about UK transition can be found on the help and support page on GOV‌‌‌‌‌.UK.

Watch the video on how to use the online trader tool and our other short videos on HMRC’s YouTube channel to familiarise yourself with customs processes and what you need to do before trading goods with the EU.

To ask and get answers to specific questions about HMRC processes for importing or exporting, please visit our customer forums.

HMRC customer service advisors are available to answer your queries on the Customs and International Trade helpline. They’ll help you with importing, exporting and customs reliefs. The helpline is open from 8‌‌‌‌am‌‌ ‌to‌ ‌10‌‌‌‌pm Monday‌‌ ‌to‌‌ ‌Friday and from 8‌‌‌‌am‌‌ ‌to‌‌ ‌4‌‌‌‌pm at week‌‌‌ends. Call 0300‌‌‌‌‌‌ ‌322‌‌ ‌‌9434 to speak to an advisor.

If your business would find these updates helpful, you can submit your email address and register to get these updates directly to your inbox.