Imports – Home Use / Free Circulation / EC or EU Status

Import Customs is a little complicated. Here is a guide to some of the terms - Home Use / Free Circulation / EC or EU Status. Link for Ideas - Customs Guides

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Imports – Home Use or Free Circulation and EC or EU Status are phrases that importers may have come across before. We’ve prepared a simple guide to help to understand all the jargon.

Home Use, Free Circulation, EC / EU Status….

These are usually goods which are:

  • Manufactured in UK or the EU (European Union)
  • The forwarder or holder of the goods have fully cleared the goods and full import taxes paid at either a UK or EU border

Let’s look at the first condition:

How the importer buys the goods will identify whether they are from a UK or EU supplier. As guide as long as the buyer clearly establishes this with the seller it should be OK.

There’s also a good Wikipedia article about rules of origin.

Imports – Home Use / Free Circulation / EC or EU Status

The Second condition is a little bit more complicated. 

The seller in the EU may be holding stock in a bonded warehouse, uncleared.  In this scenario they may sell the goods to you uncleared and transport them to you uncleared.  When it reaches an agreed warehouse in your destination country it needs to be formerly Customs cleared and import taxes paid on the goods you purchased.

Third Country

Be aware also of goods purchased from an apparently EU / UK based company but where they ship directly from outside of the EU so goods may be of a third party origin.

If the goods are in free circulation then you can do anything you want with them, including moving them across the rest of the EU.

Countries of Origin

These days the origin of goods is not as important, however this is changing.  Some goods from certain countries are now subject to ‘safeguard’ additional duty or outright retaliatory additional duty.

The importer needs to check what liabilities to expect, and if known then all additional taxes expected and allowed for.

In each EU country of destination there may be slightly different interpretation of the rules.  I’ll cover more detail on this in a later post.

You can also view our top 10 tips on importing.


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