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Moving to the UK Immigration Advice

23 Apr 2013

Moving to the UK Immigration Advice
St George's Day, the 23rd April, is the national day of England. And if you are thinking of Moving to the UK, then the story of the knight slaying a dragon might be how you feel with approaching the paperwork and red tape of Customs.

So we, at Bishop's Move, have put together this guide to moving to the UK with all the essential info you need to know:

Tax/Duty Free?

  • Most household and personal effects can be imported tax and duty free as long as the items have been in the owner’s use and possession for longer than 6 months and the owner has lived outside of the EC for at least 12 months.
  • Duty VAT is (at time of writing this blog) applicable on importing alcohol, tobacco and tools of the trade.

When can I and my personal effects arrive in the UK?

  • It helps to arrive in the EC before customs clearance takes place. The goods must arrive within 12 months of your arrival.
  • If you arrive after the goods have been delivered, you must do so within 3 months.

Can I take my car?

  • Cars, and other motor vehicles, can be imported tax and duty free providing the vehicle has been owned and used by the importer for over 6 months prior to shipping. Again, you must have lived outside of the UK for more than 12 months.
  • Once your car has cleared customs you will be issued with registration paperwork for your car. (Please note that until your car is taxed, MOT’d and registered, it cannot be kept in the street and must be off the road.)
  • If the vehicle is less than 3 years old, you will need a Certificate of Conformity (a C of C) from the manufacturer. Without this, the car will have to be tested (similar to a MOT) at a government approved centre to make sure it meets EU regulations.

What documents do I need?

  • An inventory or packing list (this can be completed by your removals crew)
  • A C3 customs form
  • A copy of the photo page of you passport - occasionally requested by Customs
  • A C104A form for your motor vehicle. (You may need an original purchase invoice, insurance certificate, garage receipts to prove that you have owned your motor vehicle for over 6 months.)
  • A C384 form is required if your vehicle is less than 6 months old
  • Marriage or Inheritance Transfer of Residence

What can I import with me?

Food & Beverages

Alcohol & tobacco

Dried herbs and spieces

Dried flowers, plants, ulbs or seeds

Bone or shell items

Products made of animal fur, feathers, skins, hide or ivory

Items made of or containing wood, cane, bamboo, wicker, straw, soil

Saddles, riding equipment, pet related items

Costume jewellery

Gas & scuba, pressurised cylinders

Ink or printer cartridges

Hazardous chemicals such as cleaning materials, paint, varnish, pesticides

Pornographic material

Explosives or flammable gases

Works of art featuring naked figures including statues, busts, figurines and paintings

Religious items including works of art, printed materials, jewelry, propaganda

Weapons, firearms, bayonets, knives, swords


Yes/No & Info


No - Duty & Tax will be charged



No - Most bones and shells don't require any additional paperwork.

No - Stuffed animals, insects, stuffed animals : contact us for clarigication




Yes - De-pressurised scuba tanks are OK









In 2009, 567,000 people arrived to live in the UK. Bishop's Move have over 155 years of moving people across the world - feel free to download the full version of our Moving to the UK guide (pdf).