United States to United Kingdom
Country or Territory Regulations Topics:
Commodity Specific Stipulations
There are special stipulations on the following commodities when shipping to United Kingdom. If you plan to ship one of the commodities listed below, be sure to adhere to the following stipulations in order to avoid delays and holds at customs.
- Products Of Animal Origin are goods which contain at least partly material derived from the body of an animal. These products can be divided in food or non-food.
Food means any substance, whether processed, semi-processed or raw, which is intended for human consumption, but does not include cosmetics or substances used only as pharmaceuticals.
Non-Food (not intended for human consumption) includes animal by-products, animal feed, samples for testing or research purposes (food-grade or non-food grade), and in vitro diagnostics (IVD).
Animal products and animal by-products are often subject to a veterinary inspection. These products can only be accepted under a special contract for International Special Commodities (ISC). In addition those products must undergo veterinary checks at an approved Veterinary Border Inspection Post (BIP) when entering the EU & EFTA countries or territories (EU regulations are aligned for EU countries or territories and NO; IS; CH; LI).
For UPS shipments arriving in the EU by air, Cologne is the first point of arrival /BIP. Inspections will be processed at Cologne but final customs clearance process will be issued in the destination country or territory.
Additional charges for Vet-inspection will be applicable see Brokerage Services and Charges.
Generally, each type of Product of Animal Origin has specific import requirements that must be met. Food which is subject to veterinary inspections must:
Come from an EU listed Third Country or Territory (no safeguard measures in place)
Come from an EU approved establishment . Registered producers are listed under the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/food/international/trade/third_en.htm
Be accompanied by appropriate Health Certificate(s), signed by a veterinarian of the competent authority of country or territory of export. Photocopies of the Health Certificate will not be accepted.
Be appropriately packaged and labelled, indicating the nature, ingredients, quantity/ weight, the country or territory of origin and manufacturer.
Any foodstuff coming from non-approved establishments, sent as samples for testing purposes, can only be imported with a permit/license from a respective national veterinary authority. The permit/license must be send to the border inspection point responsible for the veterinary inspection. Delays may occur as the license needs to be provided already at the time of inspection.
Any non-compliant shipment must be returned at shippers expense immediately. The following exemptions apply to non-commercial shipments / gift shipments or purchased by private individuals for private consumption):
Meat, meat products, animal fat - max. 10 kg from Faroe Island and Greenland.
Fish and fish products (with intestines and organs removed) - max. 20 kg from all third countries or territories; no limitation from Faroe Islands.
Other animal products (for example, honey, egg, frog, live mussels - max. 10 kg from Faroe Islands and Greenland, and max. 2 kg from all other third countries or territories).
Shipments cannot be sent to Private Individuals.
- Antiques can be cleared with a duty rate of 0% and with the general VAT rate if they are older than 100 years.
- Original artwork (for example, paintings, drawings, sculptures) can be imported with a duty rate of 0% and with the general VAT rate.
- Credit cards are not considered as documents and would normally be imported under tariff 8523210000 (cards incorporating a magnetic strip) which is duty free/20% VAT.
However, if the consignment value is less than 15.00 GBP, it would be entered on the low value manifest free of import taxes.
Always provide a shipping invoice irrespective of shipment value.
This also applies to Debit Cards.
- An invoice is required on all shipments containing a CD-Rom/Disk and should indicate the value of the Recording Media (eg. CDR/DVD) & the Intellectual/statistical value of the software/data separately. The intellectual value is not subject to duty or VAT. This applies only for business software. Computer games are excluded.
- Cheese, milk, and milk products are considered animal products. Confectionary is exempt from any restrictions. Any non compliant shipment must be returned at the shipper's expense immediately.
- Tickets for events like stage performances, football matches or concerts must be sent as non-doc shipments. The invoice must show a realistic value for the price of the event.
- Fish and fish products are considered Animal Products.
- All food products must be adequately packaged to be accepted for import. Frozen food cannot be accepted. The UK brokerage should be contacted prior to shipping for general advising.
Based on the EU regulation 2009/669/EC certain foodstuffs (for example tea with origin China) imported from certain third countries or territories are subject to increased level of official controls due to contamination risks of these products by aflatoxinson and pathogens. These controls are carried out at Designated Point of Entries (DPE) defined by each member state.
The import of feed and food originating in or consigned from Japan following the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power station and not subject to vet inspection can only be imported into the EU through Designated Point of Entries (DPE). They have to be accompanied by a declaration attesting that the goods are either harvested or processed before March 11, 2011, originated from a prefecture other than the ones affected by higher levels of radiation or if originated from an affected prefecture have been subjected to laboratory analysis determining the level of certain radionuclides (regulation 2011/297/EC).
The customs office responsible for our import sites are not defined as DPE. Commodities subject to import controls at a DPE can t be imported with UPS.
- Depending on their substances of content food supplements might be classified as medicine. Vitamin and mineral supplements are usually not classified as medicine, whether they are supplied in pill, capsule, powder or liquid form.
- Fruit must be accompanied by an original Phytosanitary Certificate provided by the shipper. In case of a possible phytosanitary inspection by DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs), an import delay may occur.
- The European Union (EU) has placed an import ban on Honey from certain countries or territories.
Before shipping Honey to a European Union country or territory, it is highly recommended to contact your local chamber of commerce or your importer for detailed information.
If the importation is allowed by the European Union, the shipment must be accompanied by an original health certificate provided by the shipper/producer, otherwise, importation will not be possible. Furthermore, a vet inspection at the first point of arrival into the EU is required, even for sample shipments.
Brokerage accessorial charges will apply and an import delay may occur.
If the shipper fails to verify the import regulation of the destination country or territory and sends honey which is prohibited by the European Union, then all charges that may apply for the respective shipment will be billed back to the shipper.
- Meats are considered Animal Products.
- The invoice must include a description of the part, the machine for which the part will be used, and a list of the part's components. If parts are sent for ships or aircraft in transit, the invoice should declare "goods in transit."
- Customers must use an authorized UPS / MBE (Mail Boxes Etc) Store, UPS Customer Center or an ISC approved shipper to ship personal effects.
The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc., UPS Customer Center and ISC approved shipper will be required to identify personal effect shipments on the shipping label by placing "ISC-Personal Effects" in the Reference Field of a UPS "smart" label or in the Special Instructions Field of a UPS waybill. They must also clearly indicate 'Personal Effects' shipment on the Commercial Invoice.
Personal Effects are classified as used items (owned for a minimum of 6 months) intended for the consignee's personal use. Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis. "Personal Effects" must be clearly stated on the invoice and goods description.
All of the following documents must be scanned into DIS/SIR and originals on the package:
An inventory list with estimated values with the reason for importation relocation clearly indicated.
A confirmation that the goods are older than 6 months and that they are intended for personal use only.
A photocopy of passport or ID card.
Any items intended for any other use, such as wholesale or retail sales, business purposes, or for distribution are not considered personal effects and cannot be shipped on this basis.
Shippers transferring residence to the UK will need to complete form ToR01 online and post to HMRC in advance of the goods arriving in the UK.
When received HMRC will assess the application for relief and if successful will provide the shipper with a unique code that must be quoted on the customs entry declaration.
In addition to personal effects following a transfer of residence, relief is also available for goods that:
belong to overseas students and are used for their studies in the UK.
are part of a spouses trousseaux when they come to live in the UK.
are wedding gifts up to a certain value.
Travellers importing goods into the UK temporarily (maximum 24 months) will be required to provide an inventory list and their date of departure from the UK.
Importers returning left luggage will be required to provide either proof of ownership or a statement that the goods are returning to the UK.
Excisable goods (for example, perfume, alcoholic drinks, tobacco), medicine and perishable food cannot be cleared as personal effects.
Personal effects shipments are not allowed in combination with Return Services.
- Pet food containing animal products may be imported into the United Kingdom if an original Health Certificate from the country or territory of origin is provided, or if the importer provides an import license from the Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). However, pet foods from certain countries or territories may not be accepted to the United Kingdom, dependant on DEFRA regulations at the time of import. Please contact your chamber of commerce for details. Any non compliant shipment must be returned at shipper's expense immediately.
- If Protein powder is an animal product (for example, made of milk protein) it needs an original Health Certificate from the shipper to import and needs an inspection by the Agriculture Ministry. Brokerage charges may apply. If the above criteria are not met at the time of import, the goods cannot enter the United Kingdom and must be returned at the shipper's expense immediately.
- Please see Shipment Types for requirements to be classified as a sample.
- In order to avoid wrong customs declarations at import, it is mandatory that the exporter provide very detailed information about the shoes (for example, what kind of leather, what material used for soles and uppers, what kind of shoes (sport shoes, sandals, boots), who is to wear the shoes (children, women, men).
- The invoice must list the value of the blank media separately from the value of the data or software.
- Most of modern test reagents for diagnostic research are built on antibodies which are generated from animal tissue. There are two types of antibodies, the monoclonal antibodies and polyclonal antibodies.
Monoclonal antibodies are generated in vitro. Tissue from animals are taken (e.g. blood) and infected with certain substances or pathogens. The blood cells react with the production of antibodies which are than harvested and used for the production of the test kits. Due to the in vitro production and the controlled way of production those types of test kits are not subject to veterinarian control if it is a commercial production.
Polyclonal antibodies are gained from living animals like rabbits. They are infected with the substances / pathogens and the animals are producing antibodies. The antibodies are harvested from the blood stream of the animals. Test reagents with polyclonal antibodies are subject to vet inspections.
Shipment documents (commercial invoice or declaration on letterhead) should include:
the place of origin of the material
the quantity of the material, in weight or volume
a description of the material/ animal source
catalogue number and price (if available)
additives (e.g., sodium azide, glycerol), their source (e.g., whole serum, supernatant, ascites), and purification, if any.
protocols the recommended protocol or datasheet indicating any unique fixation, detergent, blocking, or incubation conditions.
the intended use (commercial/ manufacturing; research/ testing)
the name and address of the shipper
the name and address of the receiver
Commercially packaged, ready-to-use In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) containing products of animal of origin, do not require a Vet-inspection, if compliant with Directive 98/79/EC on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices. A declaration of conformity (CE-marking) must be provided for each individual commodity (e.g. reagents, test kits, immunosorbent assays such as ELISA kits.
- A certificate of origin is not required for the import clearance of textiles. The need of a certificate of origin for the import clearance was reversed on October 24, 2011.
The country or territory of origin must be stated on the invoice for each invoice line. If the customs authorities doubt the correctness of the declared country or territory of origin they may request an additional proof which might be a certificate of origin.
- Data shipments require an invoice with the character of the USB stick (storing intercompany data) and the value of the USB Stick.
Prohibited or Restricted Commodities
In addition to the commodities which UPS prohibits to all countries or territories served (listed here), it is prohibited to ship the following commodities to United Kingdom.
- Shipping of alcoholic beverages is only permitted ISC contract service.
The contractual service covers the customs clearance of alcohol at the port of entry where duty, VAT and excise duty must be paid. A customs clearance of alcohol for free circulation with a subsequent transport of alcohol under the excise duty suspension regime is not possible. The customs clearance in UK and the subsequent transport to another EU member state is not part of the service.
Alcoholic beverages are subject to excise duty. Excise duty applies usually on the amount of beverage and the percentage of alcohol. The information must be shown on the invoice. Spirits with an alcoholic strength exceeding 35% ABV sold in retail containers of 35 cl. and above need a fiscal mark/excise stamp. The consignor is responsible to get registered for tax stamps, buy them and adjust them to the bottles.
Alcoholic beverages cant be sold and delivered to under aged persons (18 years). The consignor is responsible to verify the age of the consignee prior to shipping.
Additional rules apply on the import of wine and wine products. Please check under wine.
- Beef jerky and salami are prohibited for import, no matter what the country or territory of origin is. Any shipment received must be returned at the shipper's expense immediately.
- Endangered plants and animals protected by the multilateral treaty of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), must be accompanied by a valid CITES Certificate.
All import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a licensing system.
Shipper needs to provide the following documentation:
Invoice with the scientific name and CITES certificate.
Additional charges will be applicable. Products of animals or plants subject to CITES can only be accepted under a special contract for International Special Commodities (ISC).
- Tobacco Products Directive 2014/14/EU (TPD)
Recently HMRC have enforced the regulations put in place in May 2016 for all operators.
Below you can see the regulations we should be abiding to:
Restrict e-cigarette tanks to a capacity of no more than 2 ml
Restrict the maximum volume of e-liquid for sale in one refill container to 10 ml.
Restrict e-liquids to a nicotine strength of no more than 20 mg/ml
Require nicotine-containing products or their packaging to be child-resistant and tamper evident.
Ban certain ingredients including colorings, caffeine and taurine.
Include new labelling requirements and warnings.
Require all e-cigarettes and e-liquids to be notified to MHRA before they can be sold.
Further information on this can be obtained from:
Further information regarding the TPD regulations can be obtained from:
- Import restrictions may apply. Please contact your chamber of commerce for details.
- UPS provides International Dangerous Goods Service for shipments between the U.S. and the United Kingdom by contract only.
Accessorial charges of 28.00 GBP apply as follows:
- Hazardous Materials Class 9 (HAZ)
- Hazardous Materials All Other Classes (HAN)
- Flick, gravity, spring, or butterfly knives are prohibited.
- Private individuals may accept medicinal products delivered by post (including express mail and courier deliveries) within and between countries of the EEA if the supplier operates legally and the medicinal product has been approved by the authorities of the country in question.
When you buy medicines in foreign online pharmacies, you must observe the import restrictions on medicines.
Buying and receiving medicines from outside the European Economic Area is prohibited for private individuals in the European Union. Only business to business shipments are allowed. The importer or buyer of the medicine is solely responsible for any risks involved in illegal medicine trade.
- The following are prohibited:
- Chilli products
- Curry Powder
- Palm oil
Dried whole Chillies can be imported.
- Plants must be accompanied by an original Phytosanitary Certificate provided by the shipper. In case of a possible phytosanitary inspection by DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs), an import delay may occur.
- The European Union (EU) has implemented specific conditions and detailed procedures for the import of plastic kitchenware (HS-Code 3924 1000 11) made of polyamide and melamine and originated in or consigned from China or Hong Kong (regulation 284/2011). Tableware (for example, plates, flatware, cups) are excluded from the restrictions. The reason for the new regulation were notifications and alerts by the European 'Rapid Alert System'- kitchen tableware was recognized which exceed the thresholds of aromatic amines and formaldehyde released into food.
Based on the regulation, controls must be performed at the point of introduction into the EU by the competent authorities. They include documentary checks on all consignments and identity or physical checks (including laboratory checks) on 10% of the consignments. All consignments of kitchen tableware (HS code 3924 1000) originated or consigned from China or Hong Kong must be accompanied by a declaration confirming that it meets the requirements concerning the release of primary aromatic amines and formaldehyde. The declaration shall be accompanied by a laboratory report that the consignments fulfill the requirements.
The goods and declaration must be examined at the first point of introduction into the EU.
The consignments shall be notified at the first point of introduction at least two working days in advance.
Our main points of entry (Cologne, Germany and East Midlands, United Kingdom) are not competent to perform the checks and forwarding under bond is prohibited without the checks. Products covered by the new regulation and destined to the EU can't be accepted by UPS. Exporters should clearly state on the invoice the material and the country or territory of origin of plastic kitchenware to avoid holds on commodities not subject to the regulation.
- Products made in Iran are prohibited in our service due to a current embargo.
- Importation into, or exportation from United Kingdom of any rough diamond is prohibited, from whatever source, unless the rough diamond has been controlled through the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). Rough diamonds, which have become known as conflict diamonds, are defined as diamonds used by rebel movements to finance military action opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments.
The KPCS is a joint government internationally recognized certification system that imposes extensive requirements on its members to enable them to certify shipments of rough diamonds as conflict-free and prevent conflict diamonds from entering legitimate trade.
- A samurai sword must not be longer than 50 cm and have a curved blade. Any samurai swords larger than this will be seized. Further information can be obtained at the following website - http:ww.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/news/samurai-swords-banned
- Seeds must be accompanied by an original Phytosanitary Certificate provided by the shipper. In case of a possible phytosanitary inspection by DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs), an import delay may occur.
- Vegetable Matter is prohibited.
- Shipping of alcoholic beverages is only permitted ISC contract service. For general service restrictions please see info under alcoholic beverages.
Wine and wine products are subject to excise duty. The excise duty is calculated based on the alcoholic strength by volume. The information must be shown on the invoice.
The import of wine and wine products is also regulated by a market organization of the European Union with rules on labelling and presentation of wine and additional documentation. The Importation of wine and wine products are subject to the presentation of an:
Certificate showing drawn up by a competent body, included on a list to be made public by the Commission, in the products country or territory of origin.
An analysis report drawn up by a body or department designated by the products country or territory of origin, in so far as the product is intended for direct human consumption.
No certificate or analysis report needs be presented for products originating in and exported from third countries or territories in labelled containers of not more than five liters fitted with a non-reusable closing device where the total quantity transported, whether or not made up of separate consignments, does not exceed 100 litres.
The labels of wine and wine products have to show some of the following compulsory particulars like the category of the product (e.g. wine, sparkling wine, liquor wine), the protected designation or protected geographical indication if the wine has such a protection, the actual alcohol strength by volume, an indication of provenance, an indication of the bottler or an indication of the producer or vendor in case of sparkling wine and other product categories of sparkling wine.
The rules are laid down in EU regulation 2009/491. The regulation can be checked on the EU website http://eur-lex.europa.eu/homepage.html.