I am moving from he UK to Germany in May. I am considering to move my personal belongings (e.g. clothes, books, laptops, electric guitars, lps, and other kitchen things) by van.

I read the customs instructions and as far as I can understand I can declare personal goods by conduct or orally only. However, some removal companies are indicating that I would need to pay for customs declaration.

Hence, I am a bit confused on how the procedure is, i.e. do I need to prepare a declaration and pay for it.

Any advice or link that clarify this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  • Which customs instructions did you read?
    – phoog
    Mar 11, 2023 at 14:37

1 Answer 1


If the instructions you read mentioned an oral declaration then you probably found the customs instructions concerning travel rather than those concerning transfer of residence.

To avoid paying duty when you transfer residence, you need "special relief," because the amounts involved exceed the duty free allowance. From the second page:

In the case of goods for which it is intended to claim special relief, the application for release for free circulation must always be made in writing...

  • Thank you so much, this is very helpful. I mainly read the info about the UK, which were not at all clear to me.
    – efrem
    Mar 12, 2023 at 11:24
  • In other words I am not sure at all whether I need to declare something in the UK
    – efrem
    Mar 12, 2023 at 11:36
  • 2
    @efrem You do not need to declare anything when you leave the UK. You are taking stuff out of the UK. Taking stuff in to Germany (or any country) is a much more involved process (I have done it to Switzerland, and watched my son moving to the UK from Germany) Mar 12, 2023 at 21:14

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