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How will your relocation be affected by Brexit?

brexit visual by Pete Linforth via Pixabay

Brexit deadline December 31, 2020 only 2 months away

On June 23 2016 the UK voted in a referendum to leave the European Union (EU), causing political turmoil ever since. Britain’s exit from the EU (widely referred to as ‘Brexit’) per January 31st 2020 is quickly approaching yet another important milestone, December 31 2020 when the transition period ends. 

Uncertainty prevailing

No country having ever left the EU before, uncertainty still prevails at this moment. No agreement in place yet on the UK remaining within EU’s single market yes or no and time being almost up to find one, the free movement of goods, services, money and people remains a daunting cliffhanger for all involved after 31 December 2020.
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Supporting documents and delay a possible scenario

Until now, household goods coming from countries outside the EU into the EU are in most case exempted from payment of duties if you can provide supporting documents like e.g. passport copy, rental- or purchase agreement of the address where you will be staying, employment agreement.

However, to date an agreement on the new relationship between the UK and the EU on the negotiation table in Brussels has not been reached. Should the UK therefore leave the EU on a no-deal basis, it is most likely that all moving goods need to be cleared at the border with customs instead of moving freely as is currently the case. 

  1. Delay due to checks on the border and in the harbor is therefore a likely scenario per January 1st, 2021 to hold into account.
  2. Per January 1st, 2021 goods coming to GB from the EU will most likely be considered as Rest of the World goods. For this the UK government plans to have a very similar transfer of personal property relief to that currently in existence. The transfer of household goods is currently covered under the Transfer of Residence relief (ToR, see This allows individuals to claim customs duty and tax relief when importing personal belongings from outside the EU, on transferring their place of residence to the UK. A summary of how you apply, the process and requirements of ToR are explained below.

How to apply, the process and requirements of Tranfer of Residence relief (ToR) 

Step 1) Each client moving will need to complete online and in advance an “Application Form For Transfer of Residence Relief” (ToR). This form is available at: HMRC UK Online Application for Transfer of Residence. 
Step 2) Save the completed form and submit it by email, along with supporting documentation requested, to 
The application should be presented to HMRC as early as possible in the moving process noting a list of items being moved will be needed (e.g. survey inventory/client’s own list -  this list doesn’t need to be the packing inventory).

The process
There is no cost from HMRC for processing an application.

The ToR applications are currently taking around a week to process. However, this may increase post Brexit due to the increased level of applications to an expected five weeks minimum! We recommend approval is received before booking transport and despatch on any consignment.

If the ToR application is rejected (or not available when the goods arrive) then the whole consignment will be liable to duty (at variable rates based on the second hand value of the items as declared by the importer) and VAT at 20% on CIF value. 
If the application is in process but not approved when the goods are due to be despatched please let us know as soon possible as we can move them to our approved warehouse to clear at a later date thus avoiding delays and duties and taxes, the transit form must declare the destination customs point so this change must be made prior to transporting. 

When an application is approved you will receive an email confirmation direct from HMRC with a unique reference number(URN). Please immediately forward this e-mail confirmation with URN to your move coordinator. 
The approval with the URN is valid for 12 months from date of issue – currently extended by 3 months due Covid-19 delays.

We are here to help you in unprecedented and uncertain times

Rest assured that, as an international moving company moving many people successfully daily, De Haan will guide you in preparing the necessary customs documentation before arriving at the UK and EU border with your household goods should the need arise. Once the required documents have been provided by you to us, we will take care of your household inventory list and deal with customs in both countries on your behalf. 

Questions about Brexit and your move?

We can imagine that you might have some questions about the impact on your move. De Haan is more than happy to answer your questions. We are a leading company for relocations to and from the UK. We help coordinate moves from the UK to the Netherlands, or indeed, to any country of choice and assist our customers on a daily basis with customs clearance. 

As recognized partner for many international moving companies throughout the world, including the UK, we have built important relations and close personal contact that helps us stay up to date on the latest Brexit developments.

Moreover, De Haan’s secure storage depot holds an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status by Dutch Customs since 2011. This allows us to clear customs between EU member states and countries outside the EU much faster for you once you need your household goods due to fewer logistic delays, higher reliability and greater efficiency.

Stay tuned

Meanwhile, multiple outcomes are still possible. Rest assured that once the regulations become official, we will immediately inform you.  Our experienced, dedicated move coordinators will guide you where needed with any future changes including customs clearance documentation.