Guide to Transfer of Residence (ToR) application
The UK’s departure from the European Union has brought about many complications of systemic and bureaucratic nature for those willing to relocate from the UK and back into the country. In the post-Brexit reality, British citizens are third-country nationals subject to strict border crossing procedures. While temporary visits abroad may not even necessitate applying for a visa, Britons willing to return to the UK after having obtained permanent residency abroad will have to reapply for residency in the UK. If this is you and you’ve got some goods to import into the UK from Germany, Moving to Spain following Brexit, removals to France or other countries, have a look at this guide to the transfer of residence application.
Requirements for Transfer of Residence to the UK
UK nationals are generally allowed a visa-free short-term stay abroad in a majority of countries all over the world. Whoever decides to stay on will have to apply for temporary or permanent residence in their country of choice. But what happens if you decide to return to the UK after Brexit as a foreign country resident?
Those of you who opt for a return home will have to go through the procedure of Transfer of Residence (ToR). That is, even though you are a British national, returning home as a foreign resident will mean strict border crossing control and customs clearance for all your personal belongings. To complete your application for a transfer of residence to the UK, you will have to provide the following information and documents:
- Your personal data – names, address, email and mobile
- Your passport photo page
- Proof of address both outside and in the UK dated within the last three months – for those without an address in the UK, proof of temporary address they’ll be staying at will me necessary
- Veterinary certification of all the animals travelling with you
- Vehicle details on all the vehicles you are transporting into the UK
- An itemised packing list clearly describing the content of your shipment into the UK
- A letter of authorisation confirming any brokers legally acting on your behalf
Luckily, transferring your residence to the UK from Germany will allow shipping your personal effects duty-free. Are you wondering how to save when moving after Brexit? ToR procedure is the trick to arrange cheap removals to Germany. Here’s the requirements you will have to meet:
- All your items will have to have been owned by you for a minimum of six months prior to arrival in the UK – failure to prove it will entail customs duties and VAT liabilities
- You will have to prove having lived outside of the UK for an unbroken period of twelve months prior to returning to the UK
- You will continue regular, non-commercial use of all the household items and not sell, lease or hire them for twelve months after arriving in the UK
Customs clearance at port
Before attempting any imports into the UK, it is necessary to ensure full compliance with the current restrictions, limitations and quotas on certain items and products. Failure to do so will result in incurring customs duties and VAT liabilities and may result in impounding of some goods whose import into the UK is forbidden. This is particularly true of foodstuffs and animal products. The Port Health Authority may wish to examine your personal effects in search of potential pests and vermin.
Customs clearance can be arranged by a dedicated customs broker or your trusted moving partner. As such, your shipment will be allowed a limited free-storage period at your port of entry. For sea freight, it will be 4-7 days, while airfreight consignments will be stored for free for only 24 hours. Bear in mind your shipment will start incurring storage fees past the statutory allowance.
There are some exceptions to duty-free import of goods under Transfer of Residence. You will have to pay customs duties and VAT on:
- Tools of trade – anything purchased outside of the UK within the last six months prior to returning to the UK will entail customs duties and VAT liabilities.
- Alcohol and tobacco products – subject to customs duties and taxation regardless of time of purchase
Applying for Transfer of Residence to the UK
The Transfer of Residence is a process that should be applied for in person by the party concerned. While professional movers can share their expertise in handling the relevant documentation, they are not legally allowed to operate on behalf of the moving individual. You are more than welcome to discuss any paperwork related to ToR.
To apply for Transfer of Residence, visit https://www.tax.service.gov.uk/submissions/new-form/apply-for-transfer-of-residence/
The application procedure will require uploading of all the necessary documents discussed above. Bear in mind the total size of the documents should not exceed 6 Mb. A successful registration is confirmed by an automated email response acknowledging receipt of the documents. In the event of a lack of confirmation within 24 hours, call the ToR helpline.
Approval of your application is confirmed by a personal response from HMRC that will contain your unique reference number. This number together with copies of your documentation should be forwarded to your removal partner as soon as possible. This will help schedule the packing, loading and shipment dates. Without your unique HMRC reference number, your removal partner will not agree to ship your goods so as not to risk any additional charges at the port of destination.
Unless handled correctly by an experienced broker or remover, customs clearance at port of entry can be quite costly. If your goods arrive at the port without you first obtaining the HMRC reference number for your ToR application, you will have to pay a security deposit to HMRC that will cover potential customs duties and VAT liabilities, thus obtaining customs release. The security deposit is refundable upon confirming that your ToR application was accepted.