Whenever you're planning to import parcels in and out of the UK – especially if you’re doing so from or to a country outside of the EU – there are a number of things you need to take into account.
Here, we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know when importing a parcel from China to the UK. If you do things the right way, importing from China should be easy – and perhaps cheaper than you might think.
Find the right courier
Your first priority, of course, should be to find an experienced courier capable of actually carrying out the delivery. Not every firm is capable of completing this journey, so you’ll probably want to go for one of the major international names: DPD, DHL, FedEx, UPS and so forth. We have rates from all these carriers on our website so be sure to get a free quote using the tool at the top of this page.
It might be that your courier will be able to do part of the journey but will use a partner service at the other end. This will normally be fine: as long as the parcel firm has a trustworthy reputation, you’ll usually be OK.
You might get away with the odd inaccuracy when posting inside the UK, but when shipping from China to the UK you should be as accurate as possible when giving the dimensions and weight of your parcel. Get this wrong on international deliveries and you could end up paying additional costs, which can really add up when your parcel’s being sent to the other side of the world!
Be aware of customs
When importing from China into the UK, your parcel will be subject to customs checks. This is also the case when importing from any non-EU country, just so you’re aware.
This is a mandatory process, so you’ll need to be prepared for it.
When your parcel arrives in the UK, it will be accompanied by a customs invoice detailing the contents and value of your shipment. If you’re purchasing something from China, rather than sending it yourself, then this will be taken care of by the sender and customs.
However, you will need to be aware of potential charges.
If you bring in goods worth more than the allowance of £390, you will be required to pay customs duty. This is 2.5% for goods worth up to £630, but will depend on the goods themselves if they’re worth more.
For more information on certain goods, you’ll need to call the UK government’s VAT, Customs and Excise Helpline or alternatively you can contact us.
Certain goods are judged by size rather than value. Alcohol is limited to:
• Beer – 16 litres
• Wine (non-sparkling) – 4 litres
• Spirits and liquor of over 22% alcohol – 1 litre
• Port, sherry, sparkling wine and drinks below 22% alcohol – 2 litres
It may be you still have to pay excise duty on declared alcohol.
Tobacco is also limited. You can bring in no more than:
• 200 cigarettes
• 100 cigarillos
• 50 cigars
• 250g tobacco
And again, you may have to pay excise duty on tobacco you declare.
It’s best to plan in advance
If you’re planning to import any items in the UK, the best thing to do is to take the time and effort to call the UK customs line. They’ll be able to offer you the best guidance with regards to your individual situation, and will ensure your delivery goes without a hitch.