Author Topic: Customs - Personal belongings  (Read 931 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline kevbphoto

  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Joined: Feb 2017
  • Liked: 0
Customs - Personal belongings
« on: February 01, 2017, 05:23:12 PM »
Hi everyone,

My wife has just received her spouse visa to come and live with me in the UK  ;D

I'm just curious as the Government's website isn't particularly clear on customs declarations when moving. My wife will be bringing mostly clothing / shoes, probably some books with her. This is all stuff that she's bought in the US and has had for personal use for some time, it'd be difficult to work out a total value of all the items she's bringing.

What I've read seems to indicate personal belongings are fine for duty purposes. I'm just curious if anybody has any advice or experience they could pass on? I'll be flying out the US to help her gather her things and also so we can bring some extra bags, I'd hate to run into issues with customs after doing the hard work of obtaining the visa!

Thanks  :)

Offline taraart

  • *
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: Apr 2007
  • Location: Ryde, Isle of Wight
  • Gender: Female
    • My Business Site
  • Liked: 10
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2017, 07:31:58 PM »
Congrats that your wife will soon join you!
As far I have encountered, you do not have to declare your personal items. If she was bringing any gifts along she could declare them. 

But I'd hate to give you the wrong information and I haven't moved in a few years.

Anyone else know?

Offline KFdancer

  • *
  • Posts: 11993
  • Joined: Jun 2012
  • Location: Wokingham
  • Liked: 2524
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2017, 08:23:03 PM »
You'll (she'll) be fine.  She would only have an issue if she had all brand new boxed electronics and tons of clothes with tags on it (and that's if they searched her which they are unlikely to do).

Though I would recommend she sticks up on a couple of pairs of favourite jeans and some new stuff overall.  Sticker shock on clothes when you first move to the UK is no joke!

Offline x0Kiss0fDeath

  • *
  • Posts: 3151
  • Joined: Oct 2012
  • Location: Crowthorne, Berkshire
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 427
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2017, 11:33:16 AM »
I took 10 suitcases with my stuff haha (some was my husband's as he flew out to fly back with me as I'm terrified of flying, but mostly mine). I didn't declare anything at all as it's all personal effects so she should be fine :) If there are any newer items, I would suggest maybe just removing all tags to suggest so and maybe not carry all the cash she owns on her (as I know over a certain amount of money you need to declare so would suggest other methods for that), but that's just me being overly cautious as nobody even checked! I went through customs in the UK line as I was with my husband and by the time we got our bags nobody was even there asking questions. If they had, I would've just explained. Don't worry! She'll be fine! :D She will just maybe need a hand with her bags if she packs like I did! haha

Offline scottference

  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Joined: Sep 2017
  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Gender: Male
  • Moving to London area late 2019 - early 2020
    • Our band - Ockham's Razor
  • Liked: 5
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2018, 05:59:47 AM »
x0Kiss0fDeath -

You mentioned you went through the UK line as you were with you husband. I assume he a British passport and you have a US passport?

So a US citizen can go through the British customs with their British spouse? My husband and I got married last year and in the past, I always waited in the Non-British customs line and he went through the British line and waited for me. I'm just curious if that means now that we are married if I can just go with him through the British customs line?

Not sure if I misunderstood what you said. :)

Offline ksand24

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 19611
  • Joined: Jan 2007
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 1976
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2018, 06:20:37 AM »
Yes, if you are travelling together you should always go through the same immigration line together... no matter which country you are entering.

Usually you will be able to go through the home country’s line together - so if you are entering the UK (or another EU country), you go through the UK/EU line, if you are entering the US, you go through the US passports line together.

Note that it’s the immigration line you are going through together, not the customs line. You don’t go through customs until after you have been allowed into the country and have collected your luggage.

So, the order is:
- go through the immigration line together
- go to baggage claim and collect your baggage
- go through customs


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline scottference

  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Joined: Sep 2017
  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Gender: Male
  • Moving to London area late 2019 - early 2020
    • Our band - Ockham's Razor
  • Liked: 5
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2018, 07:10:17 AM »
Ah yes. Thank you for the correction. Awesome to know! I'm wondering if we should bring a copy of our marriage certificate "just to be safe" being a same-sex married couple that doesn't share last names. Otherwise I wonder if they'll be like "Yeah, right."

Online larrabee

  • *
  • Posts: 8434
  • Joined: Sep 2010
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 2902
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2018, 07:21:06 AM »
I'm wondering if we should bring a copy of our marriage certificate "just to be safe" being a same-sex married couple that doesn't share last names. Otherwise I wonder if they'll be like "Yeah, right."

Good idea!  :)
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.

Offline nctami72

  • *
  • Posts: 981
  • Joined: Jan 2017
  • Liked: 227
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2018, 08:02:31 AM »
Also, make sure he doesn't get directed to go through the automated machine. You have to go to the desk together. If you get separated at the automated kiosk, they will send you to the back on the non eu queue.

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk


Offline scottference

  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 56
  • Joined: Sep 2017
  • Location: Seattle, WA
  • Gender: Male
  • Moving to London area late 2019 - early 2020
    • Our band - Ockham's Razor
  • Liked: 5
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2018, 09:11:59 PM »
Good to know. I'm so excited about not having to go through the Non-British line. haha I always hated having to stand there for an hour or so. I should have married the bastard years ago! :) haha

Offline ksand24

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 19611
  • Joined: Jan 2007
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 1976
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2018, 09:34:07 PM »
Good to know. I'm so excited about not having to go through the Non-British line. haha I always hated having to stand there for an hour or so. I should have married the bastard years ago! :) haha

I believe you may also be able to go through the same line together if you are not married but you live together at the same address (though it might depend on the country/immigration officer).
« Last Edit: March 11, 2018, 09:36:18 PM by ksand24 »

Offline x0Kiss0fDeath

  • *
  • Posts: 3151
  • Joined: Oct 2012
  • Location: Crowthorne, Berkshire
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 427
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2018, 08:59:32 AM »
x0Kiss0fDeath -

You mentioned you went through the UK line as you were with you husband. I assume he a British passport and you have a US passport?

So a US citizen can go through the British customs with their British spouse? My husband and I got married last year and in the past, I always waited in the Non-British customs line and he went through the British line and waited for me. I'm just curious if that means now that we are married if I can just go with him through the British customs line?

Not sure if I misunderstood what you said. :)

Sorry I was doing some DIY this weekend and had't seen this thread. I know you've already had it answered but Yes, my husband is the British one. We always go through together. There is never any issue when going into the UK (as Tami mentioned, don't go through the machine. Sometimes they try to hurry you along without seeing your passport to go through one of the automated machines but you need to go to one of the desks so just make them aware). I've had airport security try to separate us when entering other countries. One of the times flying back into Boston, the rude staff didn't even want to listen to my explanation of the fact that we were married. They told us that didn't matter and we needed to go to different lines. Fine, whatever. Too tired to argue. We split but then I get up to the desk and I'm asked casually about coming back into the country and I say I'm with my husband but he's in the other line etc. etc. I'm then asked why he didn't just come through passport control with me. I just said "seriously wasn't worth the argument with the lady over there." and he told me for future reference, we could go through together so ignore whoever tells me differently. They also tried to tell me in Ireland (as you go through passport control there) that only family could go through together and "being married didn't make us family"...... Sorry what?!  We've basically just stopped listening to people trying to split us up now and not had any problems. You need to go through passport control together when entering the UK because - think of it this way - your spouse is essentially your sponsor.

Obviously this is only when you're travelling together. If you're alone, you would still have to go through whichever passport control matches the passport you have (so you couldn't come into the UK via EU/UK passport control if your spouse wasn't there, you'd have to go through US if that's what your passport is).

Ah yes. Thank you for the correction. Awesome to know! I'm wondering if we should bring a copy of our marriage certificate "just to be safe" being a same-sex married couple that doesn't share last names. Otherwise I wonder if they'll be like "Yeah, right."

I don't think it hurts the first time - regardless of whether your same sex or different. It would probably be good to make sure you have those documents on you regardless - both for questioning and to make sure they are kept safe as you'll probably find you'll need to use this as proof to get a lot of accounts sorted when you first get over here. Worst case scenario, they don't ask for it and it's not big deal but you know it's on your person and not at risk for being lost. Worst case scenario, they ask and you have it to hand and ready to show. No need to offer it up or anything if they don't ask. I know it probably seems intimidating going through immigration when it's not just for holiday, but really they need no more/no less than what they ask you for there/then.

Offline JackS15

  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 87
  • Joined: Feb 2018
  • Location: US
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 26
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2018, 07:39:22 PM »
Hi, @ksand24
Question: can you clarify this for those of us who have received a UK Visa and will obviously be traveling to the UK alone? Thanks!

Yes, if you are travelling together you should always go through the same immigration line together... no matter which country you are entering.

Usually you will be able to go through the home country’s line together - so if you are entering the UK (or another EU country), you go through the UK/EU line, if you are entering the US, you go through the US passports line together.

Note that it’s the immigration line you are going through together, not the customs line. You don’t go through customs until after you have been allowed into the country and have collected your luggage.

So, the order is:
- go through the immigration line together
- go to baggage claim and collect your baggage
- go through customs


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Biometrics: Fri., Feb. 02, 2018
Documents Rcvd email: Wed., Feb. 07, 2018
Decision Made email: Fri., Mar. 16
Business Days: 28
Documents Received: Mon., Mar. 19
Decision: Approved!

Offline ksand24

  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 19611
  • Joined: Jan 2007
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 1976
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2018, 07:43:28 PM »
Hi, @ksand24
Question: can you clarify this for those of us who have received a UK Visa and will obviously be traveling to the UK alone? Thanks!

Clarify what, exactly? If you're travelling alone, what I said above doesn't apply.

You just go through immigration the same way you always have when flying to a different country... through the line that corresponds to the type of passport you hold.

Online larrabee

  • *
  • Posts: 8434
  • Joined: Sep 2010
  • Gender: Female
  • Liked: 2902
Re: Customs - Personal belongings
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2018, 07:43:52 PM »
Hi, @ksand24
Question: can you clarify this for those of us who have received a UK Visa and will obviously be traveling to the UK alone? Thanks!

You will use the non EU line.  :)
March 28th 2013-Moved to UK, husband on spouse visa.Oct 20th 2015-Applied by mail for FLR(M).Feb 1st 2016 FLR(M).March 7th 2018 ILR. YAY! March 21st NCS&JCAP appointment.