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Get your business ready to use a Freeport customs site

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Get your business ready to use a Freeport customs site

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Find out what you’ll need to do if you’re a business who wants to move goods into or out of a customs site.

Freeport customs sites (also known as a ‘free zone’) are secure customs zones where you can import or export goods inside the UK’s land border, but where some different import or export rules apply.

If you choose to use a customs site to import or export goods, you may be able to:

  • get relief from duties and import taxes
  • use simplified declarations processes to reduce administrative burdens
  • choose which rate of Customs Duty you use if processing the goods changes their classification

If your goods are purchased in the UK, you will continue to pay duties and import taxes using the normal UK rates.

Check what authorisation you need to use a customs site

You can apply to use the Freeport customs special procedure (a single authorisation combined with easier declaration requirements) to import goods that are not controlled for:

  • processing and then export or for sale in the UK
  • storage and then export or for sale in the UK – only the Freeport business authorisation holder can place goods in storage within the Freeport customs special procedure

You cannot currently use the Freeport customs special procedure to import or export excise goods, or certain controlled goods. We will update this guidance with details about when you can do this as soon as possible.

If you do not apply to use the Freeport customs special procedure, you can choose to use an existing customs special procedure that you are already authorised for to:

  • import goods for processing and then export or for sale in the UK
  • import goods for storage and then export or for sale in the UK
  • import excise goods for storage and then export or for sale in the UK
  • sell, produce or process excise goods (if you have the relevant excise approval)

You can move controlled goods into, or store goods in, a Freeport customs site if your existing authorisation allows you to do so. 

Using an existing special procedure authorisation

If you intend to use an existing customs special procedure, the usual conditions of your existing authorisation will apply but you’ll need to comply with the general Freeport customs site record keeping rules.

You may also need to tell HMRC of any changes to your authorisation. For example, if the customs site is going to be a new processing or storage location.


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