As of 2017, it became mandatory for applicants relocating and changing their country of residence into the United Kingdom (UK) to complete an online ‘Transfer of Residence’ (TOR) form. Anyone wishing to bring unaccompanied personal effects (such as using a removal company like Palmers Relocations) were now bound to submit this form online to the HRMC prior to arriving in the UK.

So when did these changes come into effect?

The new system was introduced in January of 2017, however, a concession period of 3 months was put in place which allowed consignments already at sea to clear under the old system using the C3 form. As of the 1 April, however, all individuals relocating their personal effects to London had to conform to the new method of applying online.

Why do I need to complete Transfer of Residence Application form?

ToR relief provides duty-free entry on personal effects and in some cases import VAT when moving your own household effects and personal property with them into the UK. In Australia for example, you must have resided for over 12 months and owned the goods for more than 12 months to be exempt from these duties.

What are the major changes?

Firstly the shipping company such as us at Palmers Relocations can no longer make the application on your behalf. This means the owner of the goods (you) must be responsible and liable for the information given and not the shipping company.

The form is also completed online and cannot be done in most cases until your goods leave Australia as you need the sailing/vessel details.

Why is the change happening?

Revenue, why else? But my official response is “for HMRC to comply with European Commission Regulations by improving the import process”.

What happens if I don’t complete a ToR application?

If you do not complete an application and receive a unique reference number that can be provided to your shipping company in advance, you may be refused clearance but in most cases, it is just an additional charge. It can be a stressful situation however and cause time delays so we strongly suggest you get ahead of it. We at Palmers Relocations are happy to run you over it should you have any questions.

What do I need to complete a Transfer of Residence Application?

You can fill this form in online.

It is best to gather the following information in advance:

  • An email address and phone number
  • Employer / Educational establishment details if either of these is the reason for your move to the UK. You’ll need their name and address
  • The address of your new home in the UK. Note: HMRC is aware that the address in the UK is not always known at this stage. If this is the case you may be able to use a temporary address or add a note to explain it is not yet known.
  • The address of your most recent home outside of the UK. You will need to provide a copy of the rental or purchase agreement for this property. If you have previously lived in the UK or another EU country you’ll need to provide dates and reason for leaving, including details of any employer or educational institution (name, address) and the address you lived at in the UK or EU prior to leaving.
  • Goods arrival date showing the dates your items arrived or are expected to arrive in the UK. Your Palmers Relocations consultant or move manager can do this for you.


  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of Visa (if applicable)
  • Proof of registration
  • A signed inventory list of goods being shipped (Palmers Relocations does this for you)

Once your application is approved you will receive a response normally by email from the HMRC and a unique reference number. Please ensure to give this to your move manager within Palmers Relocations or whoever you are shipping your goods through.

Transfer of Residence – Frequently Asked Questions:

Can my shipping company complete the ToR application on my behalf?

No, although we at Palmers will help and guide you through the process, unfortunately, HMRC does not allow us to complete the application for you. You have to apply for the ToR relief yourself as this is your declaration and you are responsible and liable for its accuracy.

When should I apply for ToR relief?

It is best to do this before your goods are sent to the UK; in all cases, you must have received a unique code from HMRC before your shipment arrives in the UK. You will need to pass this to us so that we can make the customs declaration so your shipment can be released to us.

Will I qualify for Import tax relief from customs for goods I’m importing?

The criteria for determining duty-free import allowance has not changed, just the process of applying. In order to qualify for customs relief on items being imported into the UK, the owner must have lived in a country outside of the EU for 12 consecutive months and have owned the goods and used them abroad for at least 6 months. The goods will need to arrive in the UK within 12 months of you arriving and be intended for use and ownership for a further 12 months after arrival. As always there are some items that are not eligible for import relief including alcohol, tobacco and tobacco products, articles (tools) for use in a trade profession, property intended for a second home and goods for commercial use…

Who needs to complete a ToR01 form?

Any private individual planning to relocate their normal place of residence to the UK and wishing to claim relief for the items they are bringing with them.
For further information on this process, call our office or email us at info@palmersrelocations.com.au. We are here to help.