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S-Mendus 2 Jan 2008 20:32

Approx customs charges for import to UK
Hi All,

Can anyone offer any advise on what I should expect to pay the Uk customs and immigration when my bike arrives back in the UK, as it is on USA plates, and i intend to keep it there

The bike is in the conditon you would expect after 27,000 miles so I was hoping they wont sting me for too much.

All adivse is welcome, also if anyones knows how tricky it is leaving the Grimaldi boat at Tilbury I would be very interested in how they found it.



Global Enduro

juddadredd 2 Jan 2008 21:40

Hi, Simon,

Congrats on reaching the end of your journey, I've been a big fan of your site.

Right import costs depend on how far over you can bend while grabbing your ankles, while shouting please sir can I have another.

No really all you have to do if FAKE up an invoice for a cheap price, stating that you recently paid for the bike with 27k on the clock. Then use that for when you import the bike, remember that you will also have to pay to register the bike in the UK.

I know the bikes now a member of your family and is a faithful friend, but balance that against how much shipping, import tax and re-registration is going to cost, so is it cheaper to sell the bike while still overthere?


S-Mendus 3 Jan 2008 10:57

Thanks Lee,

Yeh I have weighed up the pros and cons of selling or not, and after deciding that I need a bike for work when I get home I have decided its pointless selling it, what with the fact its only been about 4500 miles since it had new piston etc.

But Ill try get a bill of sale sorted out, thats a good idea. Thnaks for the advise-

S-Mendus 3 Jan 2008 18:45

can someone confirm my thoughts?
So Lee, or somebody else,

I have done some research and this is what I think I have discovered. Can someone confirm if this is right or not.

Basically if I bought the bike over 6 months ago abroad, and if I intend not to sell it (which I do not) then I understand that this intitles you to enter the UK without havving to pay VAT, and maybe even the import duty of 6%.

However below is the extract I get this from, and I dont seem to qualify for parts 1 and 2, even though I cant see what difference it would make, having said that the extract is not totally relivant to me as I am not trying to move to the UK, I live there anyway!

If someone can confirm this or correct me I would be very grateful.


5.1 Can I get relief from duty and tax on transfer of residence?

Yes. You can bring in your belongings or vehicle free of duty and tax so long as you:
  • are moving your normal home to the EC
  • have had your normal home outside the EC for a continuous period of at least 12 months
  • have possessed and used them for at least 6 months outside the EC before they are imported
  • did not get them under a duty/tax free scheme (but see paragraph 5.2)
  • declare them to us as explained in paragraph 3.2
  • will keep them for your personal use and
  • do not sell, lend, hire out or otherwise dispose of them in the EC within 12 months of importation, unless you notify us first and pay duty and VAT on disposal. Our National Advice Service can tell you how to do this.
Belongings include clothing, furniture, portable tools of trade, pets and other household and personal effects, but not alcoholic drinks or tobacco products: you will not get relief on those unless they travel in with you and qualify for the duty-free allowances - see paragraph 2.1.
We will normally waive the second and third conditions if you could not meet them due to circumstances beyond your control. Explain the position to our officer when you declare your belongings or vehicle.
Generally speaking, "possession" means "to have" rather than "to own", but there are particular restrictions in relation to company vehicles imported by travelling sales representatives. Our National Advice Service can give you full details.
See paragraph 5.5 if any of your belongings or vehicle were previously taken out of the EC.
Other goods and vehicles imported for commercial purposes will not qualify for this particular relief. However, if you are also transferring your business to the UK, you may be able to claim the alternative relief on imported capital goods. See our Notice 343 Importing capital goods free of duty and VAT.

Stephano 3 Jan 2008 19:35


Originally Posted by S-Mendus (Post 166351)
I have done some research and this is what I think I have discovered. Can someone confirm if this is right or not.

That seems to match what I have found out. Below are the notes a friend sent me regarding the import to the UK of his Dubai-registered bike. Some of it may not be appropriate for your case:

"To avoid VAT and import duty you need to have owned the bike more than six months and be returning to live in the UK. Phone the DVLA on 0870 2400010 for confirmation and they will also send the appropriate forms.

You need to complete a V55/5, have valid insurance, have paid £25 road registration, have a log book (?) and dated evidence (receipt) showing purchase. You also need to take it to the Goods Vehicles testing department (0870 6060440) who will issue a certificate saying the bike conforms to EU standards. To get this you'll have to flick the lights over (built in on his BMW) and change the speedo to miles.

When you have all the documents and paper work completed, insure with someone like Carole Nash and send off all the paperwork showing insurance, and wait 3 weeks to get your new plate.

I guess the only question is how to avoid the duty. I filled out a transfer of residence document and didn't pay any."
Hope that helps a little.

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