Shipping from the US to the UK makes sense on several levels due to the absence of language barrier and the fact that the USA is the worlds largest economy and a vast importer of goods from the UK. A stable government and economy coupled with low regulatory barriers make importing from the USA an appealing option.

As your freight forwarder, we will work with our partners in the USA (typically in all major cities) to make the original contact, arrange the necessary Import paperwork for shipping, and make appropriate arrangements for customs clearance once your shipment arrives in the UK. Our road freight division can then offer you the same service for onward shipping of your goods to their final destination.

Shipping costs from USA to UK

It is worth being aware of some of the shipping costs that will apply for different shipping methods.

Freight:  This can be surprisingly low for smaller items by air freight or sea freight and can often be lower than some of the administration costs. As your load increases in size and weight the costs will increase. The freight costs may be given to you given in USD or GBP. If you are paying for door to door delivery the shipping costs is typically broken down into three separate …….. Collection in the USA, international element by Air or Sea freight.

Some of the additional charges that you are may encounter are:

Emergency risk surcharge: Circa £35

Low Sulphur charge: Circa £35 – (Sea freight only) This helps the shipping industry to use cleaner fuels.

TERMINAL HANDLING Circa £150 – This is the physical handling of your shipment at the port.

EXPORT CUSTOMS £40 – this is to process the customs paperwork UK 

DOCUMENTATION £35 – this is for additional vital documentation.

UK TERMINAL HANDLING £150 – this represents costs incurred at the port 

EXPORT CUSTOMS £40 – this is to process the customs paperwork UK

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Add a table or examples here.

Import customs charges from USA to UK

Import duty is an amount you have to pay when importing goods from the USA. How much you will pay in import duty depends on the type of goods you are importing (the commodity) and their value. If you want to use our import customs charge checking services please call 01206 487070 and we will be able to assist you or you can visit online tool/ for an online checker.

You will typically have about 3 weeks to pay the import duty customs charges before your goods are returned or sold but it is important to be able to pay quickly once your goods arrive at the UK customs office.

If your import is for commercial purposes you will need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number, this is not required for personal shipments.

You will typically have about 3 weeks to pay the import duty customs charges before your goods are returned or sold but it is important to be able to pay quickly once your goods arrive at the UK customs office.

As part of Brexit preparations every VAT registered company now has an EORI number. To check this, you can use the EORI number validation tool provided by the European Commission.

Some goods require you to have additional Import licenses to allow items like medicine, weapons or some textiles to pass through customs however the vast majority of goods imported do not require this so do not have the extra customs charges to pay associated with import licenses.

It’s worth noting that as the owner of the goods you are responsible for accurate Import customs declaration to HMRC Which is why you should  use an experienced freight forwarder who will handle this with you. 

The UK government website details Import Tax and Customs Charges here.

If you have received a freight quotation you should know the freight cost and the insurance cost – this will then enable you to calculate the cost of customs charges and import tax here.

US to UK Import tax (VAT)

It’s important to understand that VAT, which is currently 20%,  is calculated based on the purchase value of the goods PLUS duty and shipping costs (any insurance costs incurred are not included in the VAT calculation).

Example:

If your cost of goods is £5000

And import customs charges (Duty) are 3% you will pay duty of £150 (£5000 x 3%)

If your freight costs is £250 (purely the transport costs, no customs or fees) you will pay VAT on the cost of goods, the duty and the freight.

The current Import tax rate (VAT) is 20% so your total VAT cost would be (£5000 + £150 + 250) x 20% = £108

Shipping from the US to the UK makes sense on several levels due to the absence of language barrier and the fact that the USA is the worlds largest economy and a vast importer of goods from the UK. A stable government and economy coupled with low regulatory barriers make importing from the USA an appealing option.

As your freight forwarder, we will work with our partners in the USA (typically in all major cities) to make the original contact, arrange the necessary Import paperwork for shipping, and make appropriate arrangements for customs clearance once your shipment arrives in the UK. Our road freight division can then offer you the same service for onward shipping of your goods to their final destination.

How to calculate the import customs charges and tax for USA to UK shipping

To calculate the customs charges (duty) manually, the invoice value GBP/£ must first be divided USD/$ at the current exchange rate. Second, add the cost of any insurance permius (in GBP) to this figure. Third, multiply this figure by the commodity tariff and the result will be the duty owed.

To calculate the VAT you need to add the invoice value (as divided by the USD exchange rate), handling costs, insurance premium and duty paid together. Multiply the result by 20% (the current VAT rate) to calculate the VAT you will have to pay

How long is the shipping time from the USA to the UK?

The short answer is anything from 2 days to 6 weeks. There is a lot of variation in the shipping time from USA to UK and that is due to two main factors; method of transport and originating location within the USA.

If you are shipping by air it’s likely that the origination location of your goods is relatively close to an airport due to the high number of airports in the US. This means that any overland travel within the USA is fairly low and the shipping from USA to UK time is low as Air travel is the fastest method available. There also tend to be many more flights from the USA to the UK per day/week that there are sailings of freight ships so your goods are not likely to be static at the departure port for very long.

As such typical transit times door to door will range from 3 – 5 days but can be longer if delayed at customs.

If you are transporting by Sea the shipping time to the UK has several variables. First, are the goods departing from an East coast port or a West cost port, goods coming from the west coast will have further to travel and will have to pass through the Panama canal, this can add an extra week onto sailing times compared with the East coast.

A further factor is that if your goods are originate inland, their journey can begin over thousand miles from the nearest port which can increase US to UK shipping times by up to two weeks as slow moving freight trains cross the continent.

Once goods are loaded onto a ship on an east coast port sailing times are typically around 3 weeks.

As such Sea freight shipping times can be between 4 – 6 weeks door to door.

Freight shipping cost from the USA to the UK: Price Examples

DescriptionLoadingDeliveryCost
120x100x80 @ 200kg1040 Lane Creek WayBishop, GA. 30621USAitaly, 441241545
102x122x188 @ 580kgCA 92704 USAWD18 9DA675
2 @ 102x122x188 @ 550kg each2 @ 102x122x188 @ 550kg eachCA 92704 USA955
120x100x100 250kg53704/ Madison, Wisconsin, USATW13 4RG, London765
(non-stackable) 240Kg 119x152 x152CA 92807 USADA11 8HJ940
700 kilos, 200 x 200 x 90Las Vegas, Nevada 89102, USATaunton TA1, Somerset.959
98x35x40" @ 70lb / 46x48x40" @ 70lbOwensboro 42309 KentuckyDublin city655
175 x 132 x 50 & 178 x 165 x 41 GW 680kgWarren, 48091 Michigan, USAGU21 5JY655
3000 kilos 457 x 216 x 185PA 18201, Hazelton, USAWD25 9TS Watford2495
74 kilos, 110 x 54 x 8211756 New YorkPE3 7PN539
400 kilos, 420 x 120 x 100MT 59923 Libby. USAEX36 3LH Sth Molton, Devon1379
120x100x200h @ 100kgMitchigan usaBH23 3JF850
1 Pallet, 582 kilos, 2.340 cbm ( 120 x 100 x 195)CA 92704, Santa Ana, USAAL1 4TB499
7 cartons, 131 kilos, 1.167 cbm MV PartsCA 92807 USADA11 8HJ500
48 x43 x 78 inches Weight: 286 lbs.77063 United StatesBL9 5BB UK542
60 x 42 x 25" @ 120lbs.Derby KS 67037 United StatesTF9 3PX United Kingdom914