Customs Clearance Procedures

So, your goods have been collected, beautifully packed, loaded into the shipping container and are now on their way to your overseas destination.

So far so good. Now we have to consider exactly what happens when your goods arrive at the port and what you need to do to ensure a smooth transition through customs and avoid delays at the border points.

We will help you through this sometimes-daunting procedure. We have customs clearing agents in every country and they will be able to guide you through the necessary paperwork to ensure your goods comply with local rules and regulations.

We are a UK registered customs broker. When your goods leave the UK, we will electronically file the appropriate customs paperwork to ensure a speedy exit from the UK.

How do we clear your goods through Overseas Customs?

Before you have left we will have taken an inventory / packing list of all your items. If you have packed any goods yourself you need to tell us what’s in the boxes and we will add this to your inventory. You can print of a packing list here. You will be given a copy of this and our overseas agents will also receive a copy of this inventory along with the appropriate shipping documents which show the vessel name and arrival port.

As the owner of the goods you will still need to complete and sign a declaration form telling Customs exactly what you have shipped and your legal status in your new country. The sooner this can be completed the better to ensure a quick transit through Customs.

If you are moving to Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada or South Africa, you can complete the customs forms before you arrive which can help speed up the process. See the links below for further information.

In some countries, like the USA you can appoint another person to do this by using a Power of Attorney form. See below for appropriate links.

What are my responsibilities as the owner and shipper?

In most countries, not all, there are no duty or taxes applicable for personal effects that you have owned for 12 months or more. It is however important that you do not ship items which may be subject to duty or taxes or items which are prohibited. This includes any goods which customs might deem to be for commercial purposes or any items listed below. Tip: If you have “New” items in original boxes then take them out of the box before shipping.

If your goods are inspected and fall into any of these categories you may incur further costs for duty, taxes, storage and other fees charged by customs, indeed these items may also be confiscated and fines applied. 1st Move cannot be held responsible for these costs and they will need to be paid by you before customs will release your goods. If in doubt… Leave it out.

Customs import Information. Prohibited goods List.

Every country has varying rules for what you can and cannot bring into the country as a guideline the items below are prohibited in most countries and should not be shipped with your general household goods.

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animal skins (non-domesticated)
  • Aerosols and pressurised vessels, whether full or empty.
  • Articles of exceptional value (eg, works of art, antiques, precious stones, gold and silver)
  • Corrosives, eg bleach or paint stripper.
  • Dangerous goods/Hazardous materials)
  • We do not recommend shipping food whether it’s tinned, dried or unopened
  • Explosives, eg ammunition or fireworks.
  • Firearms
  • Furs
  • Ivory and ivory products
  • Live animals
  • Money and negotiable items
  • Perishable goods
  • Plants
  • Poisons, eg weed killer
  • Pornographic materials
  • Seeds
  • Vegetable matter, composts, soil, straw or plants.
  • Tobacco and tobacco products

Prohibited Items

Prohibited goods USA
Prohibited goods for import into Canada
Prohibited imports list Australia
Prohibited imports list New Zealand
Prohibited and restricted goods South Africa
Prohibited goods singapore
UAE (Dubai customs prohibited goods list)

To download customs forms for completion before arrival, see our customs forms page.

For more info on customs procedures specific to each country, check out our list of official customs websites.

Your Pallets Packed - Live

We are the only international removals company in the UK who use this revolutionary shipping method for the transportation of personal effects and household goods, and once we have packed your shipment we post a picture of every move to our Facebook page. Neat!