Moving to the UK

Transfer of Residence (TOR) To the UK

If you are relocating from outside of the EU to the UK, you will need to go online to apply for a “Transfer of Residence” which if approved will grant duty / tax free entry for your household effects (and vehicle(s) if applicable) into the UK. This will be applicable for all your used household effects as long as they meet the relevant criteria with the exception of certain commodities such as alcohol and tobacco.

Clark & Rose recommends that you start the customs clearance process as soon as you have confirmed your move. This is because HMRC (UK Customs) frequently have to process a large number of applications, which means instead of waiting the stipulated 14 days for a reply – you can be left waiting for up to 6 weeks during peak moving season (June-September) to receive a response to your application.

What are my options?

The majority of people moving for work or personal reasons are likely to qualify for duty and tax free clearance via TOR (Transfer of Residence). There are however circumstances in which ToR relief isn’t applicable and duty or VAT may be payable on importation. Clark & Rose can assist regardless of which situation may apply and if you would like assistance and advice please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.

How do you start your TOR application?

Please follow the link below to start your TOR application:

Start TOR Application

You can now apply directly online by clicking the above link which will take you directly to the Customs webpage. You can upload any supporting documents you need during the process and will receive an email acknowledging receipt of the application.

You will require the following information to complete the application:

  • So that HRMC can contact you regarding the application – you should cite a phone number and email address on your application. It is also important to regularly check your email (including SPAM folders) for approval.
  • If you are moving for work or study – you must state the establishment’s address and name on your application.
  • You must state your new UK address – if this is not possible and you need to get your application submitted – we recommend using a temporary address or the address of a friend or relative where you might be contacted along with a covering letter stating this.
  • You will need to state the address and provide proof of your residency outside of the EU.
  • You must provide details of any vehicles or pets that you are wishing to import as part of this move. Very important – failure to state these in your application could cause difficulties later including possible tax/duties being imposed.

In addition to the above, you will need to enclose several enclosures as evidence, these are as follows:

  • Passport copy
  • Visa copy (if applicable to you)
  • A signed list of items you are importing (you can use the survey inventory or your valuation form for this – excluding the values, or make your own list)
  • Evidence of your move to the UK – such as a rental contract or job offer, all documents must be signed copies.

Important: Please make sure the size of any attachments does not exceed 6MB as this will result in a failed application. Once you have sent the application you should get an automated response to say it has been received, if you do not receive this within 24 hours of sending please call the TOR helpline – 0300 322 9434 (please chose option 3 and then option 4), to check and confirm they have received your application.

I’ve submitted my application – what next?

Once approval is granted, HMRC will provide a Unique Reference Number (URN) which will need to be passed onto us at Clark & Rose along with a valuation for customs purposes for the entire shipment. We’ll then use these to clear your shipment through UK customs. Please note the valuation is for Government statistical purposes only.

It’s essential that you send us your URN as soon as you’ve received it, equally if you have not received it and your packing date is approaching please contact the TOR helpline on the number above and notify your moving consultant in case we have to arrange a contingency plan.


What should I be declaring?

If you are planning to import anything which you would not consider to be a typical household item, please talk to your removal consultant prior to starting your application, it might save you a lot of time and hassle in finding out if the item is prohibited or subject to tax / duty.

Can Clark & Rose arrange the application on my behalf?

Unfortunately not, we are not permitted to do so. It must be completed by the person(s) moving. Remember, this is a personal declaration so you are responsible for making sure the information is correct, however we are always on hand to provide guidance so please do not hesitate to check any points with us prior to submitting.

I’m not moving for a while yet or my date is not decided should I really be completing this application so early?

Your URN is valid for up to a year after you arrive in the UK and 6 months in advance of your arrival. As it can be a lengthy process we would recommend you submit your application as soon as you possibly can, providing you have all the information required.

How long will it take to get a reply?

Out with peak moving season (June to September), we have seen applications processed in less than 24hrs however during the summer months, it has taken as long as 6 weeks. This level of unpredictability is why we recommend that your application is sent as soon as possible to stand the best chance of avoiding delays.

Is there anything Clark & Rose can do to help speed up my application?

If your date is fast approaching and you haven’t received your URN, please contact HRMC via the ToR helpline. Please also let your moving consultant know and send us a copy of your application along with the enclosures so that if possible we are in a position to make enquiries to HRMC on your behalf. Please note we can only do this in certain circumstances so it is best to discuss this with your move consultant.

How do I know if I qualify for the TOR?

You must have lived outside the UK for at least 12 consecutive months and the your personal effects must have been in your procession for at least 6 months. The effects must arrive within 1 year of your arrival in the UK and you must maintain your ownership of them for at least 1 year after this. Please note, this is only applicable to household items. If you are moving alcohol / tobacco and certain other classes of items duty and taxes will be applicable for this part of the shipment.

"Their pleasant and professional manner ensured the move went very smoothly and has enabled us to settle in to our new home very quickly."

Mike Rennie

Aberdeen (head office)

  • Barclayhill Place
  • Portlethen
  • Aberdeen, UK
  • AB12 4LH

01224 782800


  • 1 Bandeath Industrial Estate
  • Throsk
  • Stirling
  • FK7 7NP

01786 484747


  • Unit 20, Vision Business Park
  • Preston Place
  • Biggleswade
  • SG18 9GQ

01767 604364

Opening times 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Saturday by appointment.

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