I’m an international student set to join a University in the UK for a 1 year Management course. I’ll be taking my laptop, iPad and camera with me. Am I supposed to pay duty at the airport for any of these? I’m a semi-pro photographer and my camera costs roughly 2000 pounds. I’ll take these devices back with me to my country after finishing my course.

Edit: I’ve got no plans to do any kind of professional camera work while in the UK.

closed as off-topic by Kate Gregory, MJeffryes, bytebuster, Ali Awan, user89966 Sep 19 at 6:28

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    @David Tier 4 visa holders can do up to 20 hours work a week during term time and work full time outside term time (although they cannot be self employed). – MJeffryes Sep 19 at 0:11
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    Assuming you’re travelling from outside the EU, according to assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/… you can bring goods into the UK worth up to £390 (e.g. perfume and electrical goods) without paying duty and / or tax in the UK. See also gov.uk/duty-free-goods – Traveller Sep 19 at 0:43
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    @MJeffryes Thanks for the correction. I'll delete my comment. – David supports Monica Sep 19 at 1:39
  • @Traveller Thank you very much! Is the 390 pounds rule meant for UK residents or is it applicable to students too? 390 pounds is a small amount. Even my laptop costs more than that :(. – Prince M Sep 19 at 4:44
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    No, it’s not applicable to students, or anyone else coming to the UK as a resident. @Traveller is incorrect. – MJeffryes Sep 19 at 7:48

Students coming to the UK are eligible for "Transfer of Residence Relief" as explained in (UK) Customs Notice 5


In particular parts 6 and 6.1. This explains that if you use an import agent to ship your effects there is a 'procedure code'.

If you carry the goods yourself you make a Declaration by entering either the Red (goods to declare) or Green (nothing to declare).

Part 6 "To be eligible for ToR relief, you must come to the UK to attend a school, college or university for a period of full-time study of at least 12 months. You must include details of your course and a copy of your offer letter from the education provider with your application.

You may bring belongings for you to wear, furnish your room or use for the purpose of your studies."

  • Thank you so much for the link and the explanation. A camera is obviously not necessary to study management :). But it’s a major hobby of mine and I can’t let it gather dust at home. So the ToR should apply to the camera as well right? – Prince M Sep 19 at 15:39
  • You're welcome. If you are visiting a new country, a camera is a very reasonable part of your "personal effects" and is quite normal to see in passenger's luggage – canonacer Sep 20 at 6:10

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