A company will be ‘importing’ when it buys goods coming from outside the country into the United Kingdom. Currently, the top imports in the UK include gold ($83.7 Billion), cars ($32.8 Billion), broadcasting equipment ($15.8 Billion), packaged medicaments ($14.8 Billion), and crude petroleum ($14.8 Billion).
Just like in the United States, if you are importing in the UK, one of the first things is to check whether you need an import licence for the goods or not.
What is an import license?
Import licences are documents which regulate and control certain types of goods entering the UK’s borders. The license is issued by the UK Government’s Department for International Trade. However, not all import licenses are issued by the same body. For example, if you are importing certain medicines, in this case, the license will be issued by the Department of Health or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for importing biocides.
Before obtaining the license, the company needs to get a commodity code on the import declaration. This will determine the rate of duty you need to pay and if you need an import licence. To find the right commodity code, you can go to the UK government’s official website.
If in case you fail to get the right licence for your product, you can face customs delays, goods seizures, hefty fines or other penalties.
What products need import licenses?
Not all products being imported in the UK required licenses but every importer needs to register for an Economic Operators Registration and Identification number (EORI number). You can check the process to get your EORI number on the UK government’s official website.
If you import goods in the following categories you need to apply for an import license: