Customs Information Paper 22 (2017)

Travellers returning to the UK

1. Background procedure

It’s come to the attention of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that some freight forwarding agents are declaring goods that are in excess of a traveller’s personal allowance as merchandise in baggage (MIB) on the traveller’s arrival in the UK.

A traveller may wish to employ a freight forwarding agent to make a Customs entry on their behalf for MIB goods. In this case a Customs entry is not for personal goods declared in excess of the personal allowance.

The different procedures are detailed below.

2. Merchandise in baggage - Public Notice 6

MIB refers to goods which are:

They include:

You must complete a customs declaration if you either:

MIB goods are not allowed to form part of your passenger allowances.

3. Goods in excess of travellers allowance - Border Force Notice 1

When travelling from outside the EU (including the Channel Islands and Gibraltar), you can bring in goods up to the limits shown in Notice 1


without paying duty or tax in the UK. These goods must be for your own use or as gifts and transported by you.

If you intend to sell or accept any kind of payment for the goods you bring in, then this is classed as commercial use (see Merchandise in Baggage).

If you’ve personal goods in excess of your allowance to declare, you must use the red channel or red point phone. There’s no requirement to make a Customs entry. The UK Border Force officer in the red channel will assess the duty or taxes due and issue you with a duty slip.

4. Contact details

For further information please email, telephone 03000 594 052 or write to:

Excise and Customs Law Team
7th Floor SW
Alexander House
21 Victoria Avenue
Southend on Sea
SS99 1AA

Issued on 6 October 2017 by Customs Directorate, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

• support: (t) 01784 240400 (e)
• sales: (t) 01784 242200 (e)