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Repatriation

How do I get back in?

Here's where to discuss the practicalities and issues involved in moving back to the UK.

How do I get back in?

Postby ashcii » Fri 6 Apr 2012 10:28 GMT

I've been abroad for 12 years and want to come home. How do I get past Customs? My passport will have been renewed abroad so it's not like I was on holiday. I ask this because the last time I wanted to come home after a similar period abroad, Customs gave me no end of hassle about why I wanted to come in. "Because I'm English and was born and brought up here!!!" Do I have to buy a return ticket and pretend to be on holiday and then slip under the radar? Or can I tell the truth? That I'm English and want to return to my home town that I miss so much.
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Postby Dave » Fri 6 Apr 2012 10:56 GMT

If it's specifically Customs you're talking about (which I presume it is - I can't see any reason why Immigration would quiz you), I imagine the reason they wanted to know why you were returning would be to determine whether any of the stuff you were bringing in was dutiable.

Back in 1996 Kay and I stopped over in the UK briefly en route from New York to Bangladesh and were stopped by Customs at Heathrow. I'd bought a trombone in NY and they wanted to know what I planned to do with it - in particular, whether I was importing it permanently. As I wasn't, there was no problem.

On the other hand, when we returned to the UK the following year at the end of my posting we had to fill in a detailed inventory of everything we were importing as an unaccompanied shipment.

If you're returning to the UK permanently, then you may have to pay duty on anything you've bought in the last six months - older personal effects and household goods are generally OK, as long as you don't plan to sell them within 12 months and didn't buy them duty-free in the first place.

Your best bet would be to have a look at the HM Revenue & Customs website here:

Bringing your belongings and private motor vehicle to the UK from outside the EC

That should help you decide what you need to do to get your belongings into the UK legally. From what you've said, though, it should actually be easier if you're returning permanently than if you're on a temporary visit.
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Postby ashcii » Fri 6 Apr 2012 11:30 GMT

Thank you for your reply. That certainly helps a lot. After the last experience I mentioned I was under the impression that I had become some kind of foreign immigrant! I'd rather tell the truth - that I'm English and just want to come home. I don't know that I can prove any friends and family are still alive to sponsor me. I'm not too worried about what I bring in - everything I need would fit in a suitcase. But I have been buying a lot of things from Amazon.co.uk and selling them in NZ. I'd like to eventually bring the rest of my stock back with me. Seeing as I probably didn't pay VAT as I was buying from abroad, would there be any import duties payable on my stock on arriving back in the UK? Considering that it was bought in the UK in the first place. I would have, of course, all the Amazon invoices and everything would be over 6 months old (by the time the container arrives). No there's not a whole container full of DVDs - just enough of each that it could be considered a personal collection - although why they are still sealed could be hard to explain!
Also, do you recommend a British bank with whom it is possible to set up an account online before coming home?
(Thanks for your advice - it's invaluable to me at this point in time)
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Postby Dave » Fri 6 Apr 2012 11:43 GMT

You'd need to ask an expert about your VAT question - I wouldn't like to hazard a guess about commercial stock! But there's bound to be something about it somewhere on the HMRC site, probably under the section for businesses.

Sorry, I can't give a bank recommendation - for the reasons explained in the guidelines, we don't allow business recommendations on the non-premium parts of the forum.

Good luck with your research, anyway, and do let us know how you get on!
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Postby ashcii » Fri 6 Apr 2012 11:47 GMT

Thanks Dave, how do I join the premium part of the forum?
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Postby Dave » Fri 6 Apr 2012 13:38 GMT

Thanks for your interest, but at this stage I couldn't honestly recommend you joined :( - you'd find there isn't enough content/traffic on the general forum premium boards to justify the subscription fee.

(The Malta forum premium boards are buzzing, but they're very much a special case.)
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Postby ashcii » Fri 6 Apr 2012 14:32 GMT

So does that mean it's worth opening an offshore account in Malta?
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Postby Kay » Fri 6 Apr 2012 14:41 GMT

No. That's not what Dave meant. He meant that we have a lot of great premium content on our Malta forum for people who live in Malta or are planning to move there. Therefore, we believe that premium membership is a good buy for those interested in Malta.

Our other forums, including this general one, have not yet built up enough premium content to justify charging you the fee. We would rather be honest about this and don't want to take your money off you for premium content that isn't yet worth the £25 p/a subscription fee.

It will be worth it eventually, but it ain't now and if you paid £25 to access the general forum premium boards, you wouldn't feel like you'd got good value for your money. We would prefer to keep our reputation for being honest rather than try to sell you something you wouldn't be happy with.
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Postby ashcii » Fri 6 Apr 2012 14:46 GMT

Ok so bottom line is: Say someone "borrowed" a lot of money from English banks and credit card companies then went to Canada for 3 years where they did the same again there and then went to NZ for 10 years and did the same there too. How long would it take to get to start a afresh in Britain and be forgotton about by the banks/credit reference agencies again? Just a hypothetical question on behalf of a "friend".
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Postby ashcii » Fri 6 Apr 2012 14:53 GMT

That's very honest Kay, and if that aint worth 25 quid then I dont know what is ;)
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Postby Dave » Fri 6 Apr 2012 14:57 GMT

Your "friend" had best seek competent professional advice - we don't know the answer, and in any case we're not licensed to provide financial advice.
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Postby JJ » Mon 30 Jul 2012 20:37 GMT

A simple statement of fact that might reassure you is that many of the major British banks (no names, no pack drill) offer accounts with no overdraft ability, originally intended for younger people who can't legally have credit but now I believe offered to people with poor credit history and the swathes of European immigrants for whom getting an existing bank reference is difficult.

These accounts are fairly limited, having no chequebooks and only a Solo version of a Maestro card that can only be used online when the balance is available (ATMs, most stores and some online retailers) but they generally offer online banking and 'faster' payments to other accounts (usually within minutes).
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