Transfer of Residence (TOR)

If you are relocating 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 except certain commodities such as alcohol and tobacco.

GB Liners recommends that you start the customs clearance process as soon as you have confirmed your move. This is because HMRC (UK Customs) are frequently overwhelmed with a backlog 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) for a reply.


90% of people moving will qualify for duty and tax free clearance via TOR (Transfer of Residence).

If you are importing household effects to the UK and you are not going to be residing in the UK at the same time, it is most likely that your consignment would be subject to duty/taxes. To obtain an estimate, please send us an itemised list of what you are importing with second hand values. With this information, we will be able to obtain an estimate for the likely duties and taxes that UK Customs will charge.


Please follow the link below to start your ToR application.

By clicking on the above link, it will take you straight to the Customs webpage. You can now apply directly online and upload any supporting documents you need. You will receive an email acknowledging receipt of 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 UK.
  • 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, you will need to include several documents 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.


Please make sure the total of the attachments do not exceed 6mb as customs emailing system will not accept anything bigger and will result in a failed application. Once you have sent the application to customs, you should get an automated response to say it has been received, if you do not receive the automated email within 24 hours of sending, please call the TOR helpline – 0300 322 9434 (option 3 and then option 4), to check and confirm they have received your application.


Once approval is granted, HMRC will provide a Unique Reference Number (URN) which will need to be passed onto us, along with the second hand value for the entire shipment, so we can obtain customs clearance upon arrival into the UK. The second hand value is for Government statistical purposes only and not for anything sinister!

It is essential that you send us your unique reference number as soon as this has been received & if you have not received your URN and your packing date is approaching, please keep notifying your removal consultant to arrange a contingency plan.


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.

If off peak season, we have seen it take less than 24hrs however during the summer season, it could take as long as 6 weeks. This level of unpredictability is why we recommend you send your application as soon as possible to stand the best chance of avoiding delays.

Unfortunately no, 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.

If your date is fast approaching with no reply, please contact your move consultant with the email address you used to apply along with a copy of your application and enclosures so that we can also chase up the process with HRMC. Please note: we can only do this in certain circumstances so it is best to discuss this with your move consultant.

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 tedious undertaking we would recommend submit your application as soon as you possibly can (providing you have all the information required).

You must have lived outside the UK for at least 12 consecutive months & the 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 & 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, duty & taxes will be applicable for this part of the move.

There are a few other ways to clear your goods relief free if ToR is not possible. Examples include; RGR (Returned Goods Relief), Student Relief and Inherited Goods Relief, all of which are subject to meeting the relevant requirements. If you think you might fall under another relief free entry route, other than TOR , please email our international department –
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