I am moving to London indefinitely for a new job. On my arrival (by flight) I will be carrying my iphone, ipad, laptop, possibly a few everyday electronics. According to this gov.uk website I need to declare and pay VAT on anything that costs more than 390 GBP.

I want to ask if this makes any remote sense and if people have similar experience. I cannot possibly afford to move to the UK if I pay VAT on my own belongings, that I already paid vat beforehand, of worth more than 4-5K in total while on the other hand I cannot possibly arrive there without my phone, work laptop, ipad, headphones, etc.

  • 3
    You’re looking at the wrong information, this explains the rules for those moving to UK gov.uk/moving-to-uk
    – Traveller
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 20:04

1 Answer 1


Because you’re moving to the UK, you are not bringing goods into the UK for personal use. You are moving personal belongings to the UK https://www.gov.uk/moving-to-uk

You can claim ‘transfer of residence’ (ToR) relief on tax and duty when you move personal belongings from:

  • outside the UK to Great Britain
  • outside the European Union (EU) to Northern Ireland

Relief is available on any personal property intended for your use or for meeting your household needs. You must obtain approval from HMRC prior to importing the goods.


  • Thanks. I managed to figure this out but thanks anyways. What I am still puzzled about is whether I need to have obtained my visa first or not.
    – Marion
    Commented May 11, 2022 at 11:01
  • I’ve never seen any reference to needing a visa first in the Immigration Rules but you do need proof of a UK address to claim the relief gov.uk/guidance/… Try asking your employer’s HR dept for advice, they should know if they routinely recruit overseas
    – Traveller
    Commented May 11, 2022 at 14:29

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