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Transfer of Residence Relief (TOR)

Transfer of residence
Transfer of Residence Relief for the UK

Planning a move back to the UK from abroad? It can be a challenging task to transfer all of your possessions internationally, especially if you own many items.

The good news is that you are eligible to apply for a Transfer of Residence to the UK and avoid paying Import Duty and VAT on any items that you purchased more than 6 months ago.

The not-so-good news is that Import Duty and VAT* will be payable on any items that you have owned for less than 6 months, and these must all be declared as imports.

Please note that the Transfer of Residence procedure is only available to people who have lived abroad for more than 12 consecutive months and will be residing in the UK whilst the import process is taking place. If you will still be living abroad whilst importing your possessions into the UK, you will most likely be liable to pay Tax / Duty on your consignment.

*Find out how to calculate import Duty and VAT in the UK here

The Transfer of Residence process can be started with an online application, which will allow you to apply for Tax / Duty free import of your personal belongings, including vehicles, into the UK.

Please note that certain products such as tobacco and alcohol will not be included in the Transfer of Residence and will be liable for the relevant import charges.

It is highly recommended to start your Transfer of Residence customs clearance procedure as soon as you have made the decision to move to avoid unwanted delays with HMRC, (the UK Revenue and Customs authority). HMRC state that they will respond to claims within 14 days but in busy periods such as the summer months, there can be a delay of up to 6 weeks.

If you’re moving from the EU to Northern Ireland, you will not need to apply for ToR relief.

What Do I Need for Transfer Of Residence?

It will be necessary to upload PDF or JPG images with the application form as evidence.

Please ensure that before starting the TOR1 form, you have:

  • A complete list of all the goods you’re transferring to the UK – you must be specific, for example, you should write ‘microwave’ or ‘washing machine’ rather than ‘kitchen appliances’; you do not need to:
    • List individual books or clothing items
    • Provide values or brands for items
    • Format the list in a special way
  • Your passport photo page – if you’re in the military and do not have a passport, you’ll need to provide a picture of your NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) orders or moving orders
  • An animal health certificate or passport code for any animals you’re bringing to the UK – if you do not have these yet you can still submit an application, but you must provide the certificate or code once you have it
  • Proof of your UK address, such as a utility bill (dated within the last 3 months) or a mortgage or rental agreement – if you do not have a UK address yet, provide either:
    • A statement from the person you’ll be living with and proof of their address
    • Evidence of temporary accommodation, such as a hotel booking
  • Proof of the non-UK address you’re moving from (or moved from previously), such as a utility bill (dated within the last 3 months) or a mortgage or rental agreement; this should be for your usual non-UK address – you do not need to tell us about any short stays while on your way to the UK, for example, in a hotel, or with friends
  • Details of any vehicle you’re bringing with you*, including the:
    • Year of manufacture
    • Model
    • Brand
    • VIN or chassis number
    • Registration number
    • Date the ID number or registration certificate was issued and the country of issue
    • Purchase date

*If you are importing a vehicle that is not eligible for Transfer of Residence then check out this guide on Customs Clearance for Vehicle Imports

You do not need to give full details of any bicycles, but you should include bicycles on the list of items you’re bringing to the UK.

If you’re an agent, you’ll need a letter of authority signed by the client, confirming you’re authorised to act on their behalf.

Once you have compiled all the relevant information you can Complete the ToR application form online

Please note that the total size of the files that you attach cannot exceed 6mb. Once the application has been received you will receive an automated email confirmation. If you do not receive this within 24 hours then please get in touch with the TOR helpline 0300 322 7064

Unique Reference Number (URN

Upon approval, you will be sent a Unique Reference Number (URN) by HMRC which you will need to forward to your Customs Agent in order to obtain Customs Clearance. You will also need to send the total second hand value of the entire shipment. This total is collected by HMRC for government purposes and will not affect the outcome of your Customs Documentation.

If your relocation date is approaching and you have not yet received the URN number then it is wise to make alternative arrangements with your removal consultant, in case the goods are not cleared before the date of relocation.

Transfer of Residence FAQ

Am I Eligible for Transfer of Residence Relief?

If you have lived abroad for over 12 consecutive months and you have owned the items you are planning to transfer for more than 6 months then you are eligible to apply for Transfer of Residence relief. However, you must ensure that the goods arrive within 1 year after arriving in the UK and you must keep these items for a minimum of 1 year after they arrive. TOR relief is only available for household products and consumables such as tobacco and alcohol will not be included.

Who needs to complete a ToR01 Form?

The Transfer of Residence form (ToR01) can be complete by any private person(s) who are planning a permanent move to the UK from abroad and would like to claim Tax / Duty relief on the household items they are bringing with them.

Can Customs Complete fill out the application on my behalf?

Sadly we are not legally allowed to complete this documentation on your behalf. This is a private declaration and so must be processed by the person(s) that are transferring their residence. However, we are available to help you along the process, so feel free to contact us.

When Should I Start Completing My Application for Transfer of Residence and How Long Does My URN Last?

The URN number is valid for 6 months and so can be applied for up to 6 months before the move date. It also remains valid for up to a year after you arrive in the UK. We recommend applying for your URN as soon as you possible can to allow time for any possible delays and fines. You must have received a URN number from HMRC before your shipment arrives in the UK.

How Long Will My TOR Application Take to be Accepted?

The time it takes for HMRC to accept your TOR application is dependant on the number of applications they are receiving. The timeframe ranges from 1 day (off peak) to 6 weeks during the peak summer months. This is why we recommend applying as soon as you are able to.

Can I Use TOR Relief to Customs Clear Goods in the UK That Will be Delivered to Another Location in Europe?

No, The UK TOR clearance is only applicable to people who will be permanently residing in the UK. If the goods have a final destination outside of the UK then you must apply to the Customs authority of that country.

Am I Eligible for Transfer of Residence Relief?

If you have lived abroad for over 12 consecutive months and you have owned the items you are planning to transfer for more than 6 months then you are eligible to apply for Transfer of Residence relief. However, you must ensure that the goods arrive within 1 year after arriving in the UK and you must keep these items for a minimum of 1 year after they arrive. TOR relief is only available for household products and consumables such as tobacco and alcohol will not be included.

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