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Importing into the UK?
Contact us to see if we can help you.

Why not see if we can help with paying the excise duty to UK Customs

Importing clothing/garments into the UK

We can certainly assist you with the Customs clearance of any garments which arrive into the UK, whether by air cargo, sea freight or by road. Contact our Customer Services team who will be happy to give you some advice and costs involved.


Classification for Customs purposes

Before you can find out any information, such as: Duty Rate, VAT Rate, Licences, Documentation, Restrictions, etc, on any product, including Garments, you must first obtain the 10-digit commodity/classification code. Your supplier should be able to advise their local HS code for the garments which you are looking to import, which should then assist you with the UK classification.

Clothing is one of the most biggest Sections of the UK Customs Tariff, covering 2 Chapters, 61 and 62. These are then divided, as follows:

Section XI – Textiles and textile articles

Code Item of Clothing
01 Men’s or boy’s overcoats, car coats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski jackets), windcheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles, other than those of heading 6203
02 Women’s or girl’s overcoats, car coats, capes, cloaks, anoraks (including ski jackets), windcheaters, wind-jackets and similar articles, other than those of heading 6204
03 Men’s or boy’s suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear)
04 Women’s or girl’s suits, ensembles, jackets, blazers, dresses, skirts, divided skirts, trousers, bib and brace overalls, breeches and shorts (other than swimwear)
05 Men’s or boy’s shirts
06 Women’s or girl’s blouses, shirts and shirt-blouses
07 Mens’ or boy’s singlets and other vests, underpants, briefs, nightshirts, pyjamas, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles
08 Women’s or girl’s singlets and other vests, slips, petticoats, briefs, panties, nightdresses, pyjamas, negligées, bathrobes, dressing gowns and similar articles
09 Babies garments and clothing accessories
10 Garments, made up of fabrics of heading 5602, 5603, 5903, 5906 or 5907
11 Tracksuits, ski suits and swimwear; other garments
12 Brassieres, girdles, corsets, braces, suspenders, garters and similar articles and parts thereof, whether or not knitted or crocheted
13 Handkerchiefs
14 Shawls, scarves, mufflers, mantillas, veils and the like
15 Ties, bow ties and cravats
16 Gloves, mittens and mitts
17 Other made-up clothing accessories; parts of garments or of clothing accessories, other than those of heading 6212

These Sections are then divided further, into:

  • The types of material? Cotton, Polyester, Silk etc.
  • Whether it has been woven or is non-woven
  • If it has been. printed or not

When speaking to UK Customs or your preferred Customs broker about importing garments, be sure to provide as much information as possible. ukimports

 Children’s or Babies Apparel

If you are intending to import any Children’s or Babies wear, then please ensure that this is clearly marked on all your paperwork, e.g. Commercial Invoices, Packing Lists etc. This is because these items are zero-rated (0.0%) for VAT.

Remember: Problems have arisen in the past with regards to the importation of bridesmaid dresses. If you are intending to import any bridesmaids dresses, please ensure that any children’s dresses are clearly marked, to qualify for the zero rate (0.0%) of VAT, as not all bridesmaid dresses are in Children’s sizes. ukimports

 Import Licences

Some textiles/garments are subject to import licensing. Once you have your 10-digit classification codes for your garments, please ensure that you check with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), quoting the Country of Origin and Textile Category Number, who then can advise you if you need a licence to import your goods. Their contact details are.

Import Licensing Branch (ILB) Enquiry Point

(T) +44 (0) 1642 364 333 / 334

(F) +44 (0) 1642 364 269

Email: ukimports

 Certificate of Origin

For many years, all shipments of garments, entering the UK needed to be accompanied by a Certificate of Origin, however, since October 2011 this rule was relaxed.

Please note: To qualify for a preferential rate of duty, a Certificate of Origin, by way of a GSP Form A or an EUR1/ATR1 will still be required. Therefore, make sure that your supplier can raise one, each time your goods are shipped. ukimports


 Samples of Clothing

If you are looking at importing any samples, for you to check before placing a larger order. Please be sure to read about the requirements for qualifying for relief from duty and VAT, BEFORE your goods are shipped.

Items must be in minimal quantities, and either clearly marked as “Samples – Not for Resale”, or be in a condition whereby, they cannot be re-sold, such as: One item in each colour, or several items, but sections have been cut-out, or single gloves, etc. UK Customs are clamping down on mis-use of the ‘Trade Samples’ CPC, therefore, if you have a large quantity which Customs think could be re-sold, then you will have to pay any import duty and / or VAT on them. ukimports

 Clothing with famous brand names

Warning! As UK Customs and Trading Standards Officers are constantly on the lookout for counterfeit goods, you need to make sure that your goods are going to be OK BEFORE your goods are shipped.

It is quite often the case that when branded goods arrive into the UK, whether by Post, on a Parcel Service, by Courier, Air Cargo, trucked by road, or coming in as sea freight, that Customs Officers will check with their database of Ownership of that Brand name or Logo, or with the UK or European Distribution rights holder, to a; see if the items are legitimate and b; check if they have given permission to the importer for these items to be imported.

Please note: If your branded goods are of a quantity deemed usable by 1 person, and the goods have been shipped by an authorised retailer or distributor, then you should not have any problem. ukimports

Email a member of our Imports Team on for any advice or to get a quote on importing garments into the UK. Or phone the Team on 0345 309 6360.


Importing into the UK?
Contact us to see if we can help you.

We can assist with shipping and UK Customs

UK Import Services Limited
Global Shipping and UK Customs Broker

PO Box 832
United Kingdom

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