European Import Procedures Set To Change

January 20, 2016

By Anna Lanman and Brian Limperopulos, IAM

Do you typically route shipments for European destinations through the UK because of their more relaxed customs regulations? Well, that is all set to change on May 1, 2016 when shipments may have to be cleared in the destination country where customs regulations can be more onerous leading to higher costs and transit times.

The basis of this change is Article 123 of EC Regulation 1186/2009, which states that the UK Customs Authority can no longer provide Transfer of Residence (ToR) approval for natural persons relocating to a territory of another member state. The UK Customs Authority can only approve ToR for natural persons relocating within the UK. A natural person is defined by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as a “living individual; not a trust, corporation, company, association, group or organization.”

What does this mean for you? Currently, companies are able to clear containers in the country in which they were unloaded from the ship and then deliver the individual shipments elsewhere without supplementary approval. According to The Mover, because “the UK has the simplest customs clearance process of any EU country with shipments being able to be cleared simply on a C3 form” (The Big Issue), it was typically chosen as the best place to clear the shipment. With this new change though, shipments may have to be imported directly into the EU Member State where final delivery will take place. As we all know, this will cause a huge headache with consolidations containing shipments with final delivery addresses in a number of different EU Member States.

Readers should be aware that the implementation date has already been postponed twice and a number of outstanding questions remain concerning how this will really affect the status quo. Our partners in the UK, the British Association of Removers (BAR) is pushing hard to clarify this information. IAM will continue to monitor the situation and update you with information on this important change.

If you regularly import shipments through the UK for final delivery in the EU, please start making arrangements so you are prepared come May 2016.

Article 123 of EC Regulation 1186/2009:

“The Independent Voice of the Global Moving Industry.” The Big Issue. The Mover, 13 Nov. 2015. Web. 23 Nov. 2015.’s-blogs/2015/11/13/the-big-issue.