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Immigration Corner | What can't I take to the UK?

Published:Monday | July 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

What goods are banned or restricted from being taken into the United Kingdom?

- NM


Dear NM,

There are some goods that persons cannot take into the United Kingdom. If persons attempt to take in such items, they run the risk of those items being seized by customs.

These items include illegal drugs; offensive weapons, for example, flick knives; self-defence sprays, for example, pepper spray and CS gas; endangered animals and plant species; rough diamonds; indecent and obscene materials; personal imports of meat and dairy products from most non-European Union (EU) countries.

Some goods are restricted, like firearms, explosives and ammunition, and persons will need a special licence to take them in to the United Kingdom. Some food and plant products are also restricted if they are not free from pests and diseases; are not for persons' own use; were not grown in the EU.

It should be noted that if persons take goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights, for example, pirated copies of movies or music these may be seized and those persons could be prosecuted.

Persons must tell Customs (this is known as 'declaring') on arrival in the United Kingdom if they have good: over their duty-free allowance; that are banned or restricted; that they plan to sell.

Please note that on arrival, persons must use the red channel at Customs if they have something to declare. If there is no red channel, use the red-point phone to declare goods.

Please be aware that those persons and their baggage can be checked for anything that must be declared and they may be asked to pay tax or duty; give up banned goods; produce documents for restricted goods, for example, licences and permits.

If persons do not do what they are asked, their goods and any vehicle that is used to transport them may be seized.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: