What non-EU students should be aware of when arriving in the UK.
HMRC have provided useful guidance for overseas students from outside the EU who wish to bring their possessions to the UK (or have them sent). The rules include reliefs available to students on some items which are normally taxable on entry to the UK.
Briefly, the rules differ depending on whether the students plans to stay for up to two years, or three years plus. For students planning to stay for up to two years, Temporary Importation Relief is available. The conditions for this relief are simply that the student must be normally resident outside the EU, the items in question must be of a “personal nature” and must not include any items the student intends to sell, and they must leave the UK when the student does. Students entering the UK from outside the EU who plan to use this relief do not have to go through a special Customs process unless their possessions include pets, firearms or are worth more than €4,000. These circumstances must be declared at customs. Students who are posting items should label the packages “Temporary Importation Notice 200 – personal effects.”
Students who will be in the UK for three years or more must declare their arrival to a customs officer and inform them of the length of intended stay and the possessions brought with the student. For posted items, form C3 must be completed.
Certain items cannot be brought into the UK under any circumstances. These include items like unlicensed drugs, offensive weapons and pornography, but also include the more innocent meat, milk and other animal products. It is worth checking Notice 1-A to ensure no possessions fall foul of these regulations.