Customs Clearance - A quick guide for 1st time importers

18th August 2020

If you’re importing for the 1st time into the UK, you will need a UK based customs clearance agent to clear your goods through customs. The role of a customs clearance agent is to process your goods through the HMRC system and put them into free circulation into the UK. This makes sense as your goods can not enter the country without being cleared by customs. 


What are the advantages of using a customs clearance agent?

A customs clearance agent will simplify the process and take the headache out of all the paperwork (there is a considerable amount to get through) 

  • - They can assist you with classifying your goods i.e. getting the correct commodity code.
  • - An agent will arrange an import and export declaration, whether FCL, LCL, air or road freight.
  • - An agent will explain in detail how your import duty and tax is calculated, what possible vat/duty rates will be and when and where you pay these charges.
  • - Applying for import and export licences
  • - Determining your import vat and duty requirements


What is an EORI number?

EORI stands for Economic Operator Registration Identification. Anyone importing commercial goods from non-eu (and soon to be EU after Brexit transition period ends) needs to have an EORI number before there goods arrive into the UK ready for clearance processing.

For more information you can go to


My seller is arranging the shipping do I still need to arrange clearance?

Yes. Its important to remember if your overseas supplier is arranging the shipping you will still be required to customs clear your goods on arrival to the UK.  


There are many terms you can buy goods from – CFR/CIF/FOB but all of which still require you to arrange you own customs clearance (and even arrange the shipping sometimes as well)

Goods coming into Felixstowe, do I need an agent in Felixstowe?

No.  We like many other agents in the UK have all the badges required to arrange clearance in ports and airports all over the UK.

Customs clearance for UK ports 

We are linked to the Customs computer (CHIEF) and can arrange clearances at from a range of UK ports and airports. Contact us to discuss your requirements, we’re always happy to help.