United Kingdom - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2022-09-12

An import license is not needed to import the majority of industrial goods into the UK. However, some industrial goods require import licenses issued by the Department for International Trade’s Import Licensing Branch (ILB) as a result of controls imposed at the national or UN level. ILB publicizes these restrictions by issuing Notices to Importers. The Department of International Trade provides further guidance on import controls.

There are numerous goods currently subject to import controls, whether because they are banned, subject to quotas or where the import is monitored with licenses. Examples of goods currently banned include offensive weapons (i.e., switch blades), self-defense sprays (i.e., pepper spray) and rough diamonds. The import of firearms is subject to monitoring.

For a step-by-step guide on having goods imported into the UK, please visit HMG’s Importing Goods Checklist.