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Importing Personal Effects INTO THE UK

When Participating Nation (PN) personnel arrive in the UK on assignment and import their's and their families' personal effects, they must follow the advice from HM Revenue and Customs Visiting Forces (HMRC VF) Department, as noted below.

Vehicles are not included as personal effects, please see the information note 'Importing Vehicles into the UK and Purchasing Vehicles in the UK' for details of the process to import vehicles 

Status of NATO personnel in the UK

With regards to status, HMRC has confirmed that all NATO Forces personnel assigned to the UK, longer than a month, are considered to be based here as member of NATO Visiting Forces (VF), for the duration of their tour.                                                                                                              NATO VF personnel are NOT considered to have temporary visitor status in the UK.



The import of personal effects is an individual's responsibility. The process to follow will depend on whether the effects are accompanied or unaccompanied.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

NB: PN/NATO VF personnel do not claim Diplomatic Privilege on their personal effects, they will claim Visiting Forces Relief (VFR). HMRC VF expect that personal effects are entered to Visiting Forces Relief (VFR) as the relief is specific to NATO Visiting Forces. The processes below are the correct process to import personal effects owned by PN personnel, as advised by HMRC VF.

Accompanied Personal Effects into the UK

Personnel who are bringing in/accompanying their personal effects, are to declare their effects to the Border Force (BF), when they arrive in the UK and provide a completed C2 form and a packing list.

When going through Passport Control, personnel are to declare to the BF that they are a member of the NATO Visiting Forces, assigned to the UK, and that they are entering their personal effects into the UK under Visiting Forces Relief. Border Force will either allow entry or select goods for examination.

Unaccompanied Personal Effects

NB: Please advise the removal company or shipping company of this process to import unaccompanied personal effects.

When a PN sends their personal effects to the UK unaccompanied - by a shipping company, the shipping agent will provide the C2 form/C88 for to the National Clearance Hub (NCH). The unaccompanied effects will be entered under Customs Procedure Code 40 00 010 'Goods imported for the personal use by NATO Visiting Force entitled personnel, for which relief from duty or VAT is claimed'.

When the shipping agent and effects arrive at the port of entry, they will manually arrive the consignment and email NCH to confirm its arrival in the UK. The NCH will either clear the entry or select it for examination.


Transfer of Residence (TOR)

TOR allows the import of personal effects without payment of charges to anyone that meets the required criteria on moving to the UK. TOR has more restrictions than VFR and the individual will have to pay duty and tax on anything which does not meet the conditions of relief.
There is no requirement for the effects to be imported under TOR, that is an individual's decision to use this relief.

NB: HMRC VF advice that PNs and their families import their personal effects into the UK under Visiting Forces Relief, as noted above and not under TOR. 


C2 Form - (Declaration of Personal Goods Imported by a Member of Visiting Forces). For more information, please check the website below; The Customs (Import Duty) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 -

The Customs (Relief from a Liability to Import Duty and Miscellaneous Amendments)(EU Exit)

Goods Sent by Another Person and Imported into the UK

As an entitled member of the NATO Visiting Forces, a PN is allowed to import goods into the UK without payment of the customs charges. 

Sending and Importing Goods

To do this the sender should tell the carrier that the goods are for an entitled member of the Visiting Forces and the consignment must be entered on to Customs Procedure Code (CPC) 40 00 010 - Goods imported for personal use by NATO Visiting Forces entitled personnel, for which relief from duty or VAT is claimed. Form C2 and C88 may have to be completed, but this can be done by the agent/carrier on behalf of the entitled individual.

Reclaiming Customs Charges

If you pay the custom charges to clear and collect the import, then the charges can be reclaimed using form C285. To provide proof that you are an entitled member of Visiting Force, you can use a copy of your NATO Travel Order. Further information and forms can be found at: 

Points to Note

Now that the UK is not part of the EU, anything that is sent or brought into the UK is an import and subject to customs charges, as there is no longer free movement of goods. To avoid payment of customs charges any unaccompanied goods should be entered to the CPC 40 00 010, as noted above. This does not apply to the import of prohibited and restricted goods, as well as alcohol and tobacco.

Further Information/Assistance

Should you require further information or assistance on this matter, please contact the PN Policy Officer (PN PO), or the PN Policy Support Officer (PN PSO)

PN PO - Mrs Beverley Simon  - email
PN PSO - Mrs Susan Miles - email

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Allied Rapid Reaction Corps
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United Kingdom

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