Business Travel To EU With Goods or Products in Luggage

Whether you’re travelling between the UK and EU for business or pleasure, there are new processes you need to be prepared for since 1st January.

In addition to COVID-19, passport and insurance requirements for travellers visiting the EU, there are new rules that will affect you if you bring in goods from abroad for personal use, carry goods for use in your business and carry large amounts of cash.

If you travel to the EU with work and take products in your luggage, what do you need to do?

If you are leaving Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) with commercial goods in your luggage or in a small vehicle, you must declare the goods before you leave by making one of the following:

  • a full export declaration
  • a simple online declaration
  • an oral declaration at the ‘goods to declare’ channel or the red point phone in the customs area at the port or airport
  • declaration by conduct (not available if you carry commercial excise goods of any value).

You must submit a full customs declaration before you leave Great Britain if the goods you carry are worth more than £1,500, or weigh more than 1,000kg, or are classed as excise (alcohol, tobacco or fuel) or controlled goods (for example, toxic chemicals, firearms).

If your goods don’t meet these criteria then you can make a simple online declaration in the five days before you leave, or make an oral declaration to the Border Force officials, or a declaration by conduct.

The same thresholds and types of declarations apply for importing commercial goods into the UK; however, if you do not make a full import declaration, you will not be able to account for import VAT on your VAT return.

More information on what you need to do when moving commercial goods in your baggage out of Great Britain or into Great Britain is available on GOV‌‌.UK.

There is a short video explaining the new rules for carrying commercial goods in your baggage on YouTube.

The rules above do not cover the import/export requirements of the EU country you are visiting.

Information provided by Katherine Green and Sophie Dean  Directors General, Borders and Trade, HMRC

We have created a Brexit Toolkit for small businesses and sole traders to help you navigate to the right place for the information that you need:


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