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Travelling to UK from EU - dealing with customs


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Posted (edited)

Has anyone travelled by car from EU to UK (and vice versa) with a concertina.

I'm travelling back to UK (restrictions permitting), probably in July, for a few weeks to see family.

I'm hoping to get to play a little with friends in UK, so want to have a 'tina with me.

 

But since Brexit and UKs departure from the customs union, there are now customs formalities on both entry to UK and entry to EU.

 

How to deal with customs on both EU and UK sides?

 

I don't have receipts for instruments that I've had for years.

 

Should I ask the French authorities for a receipt for my instrument(s) so that I can prove I've exported from EU and am later reimporting to EU on my return journey?

 

I don't want to run the risk of paying duty, or worse having instruments confiscated.

Edited by SteveS
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As well as duties you also have to consider CITES if your instrument contains materials from protected species.   Here is some guidance from the MU but it is for UK residents taking instruments out of the UK, you should check with the Italian authorities if this might be an issue.

 

https://musiciansunion.org.uk/working-performing/working-overseas/travelling-with-a-musical-instrument/musical-instruments-made-of-rare-materials/musical-instrument-certificate-mic#exemptions

 

Prior to Brexit the EU was treated as a single entity for CITES purposes and it didn't apply to cross-border travel within the EU.  Now UK is outside, CITES rules apply. There seem to be some exemptions for antiques dating from before 1947, and for "personal effects" carried in baggage, but it's a bit of a minefield and everything is written in impenetrable bureaucratese.

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33 minutes ago, hjcjones said:

As well as duties you also have to consider CITES if your instrument contains materials from protected species.   

Thanks for the link.

 

My instruments are ebonised wood (probably pear), amboyna, spruce, sycamore - I don't anticipate any CITES issues, but will of course, carry out an informed assessment of risk.

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Posted (edited)

I hope I have not missed any details in my research of post Brexit movement of musical instruments but - to my knowledge I cant think of a reason why there would be any problems with travelling with a concertina between EU and UK provided it did not contain any protected or endangered materials and it was declared as luggage. Normally airline tickets allow 1 item of hold luggage and 1 of hand luggage. A concertina would easily fall under hand luggage. 

 

Sometimes people have a small screwdriver or other such things in the case - best not to when flying, airlines would tend to confiscate such things in my experience.

 

Don't take me as a definitive source on this but to my knowledge what I have said is true.

Edited by Jake Middleton-Metcalfe
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Posted (edited)

I have chatted with HMRC.

 

It seems that my instruments will be classed as luggage (as will everything else in the car) for the purposes of duty, provided they are for my personal use.

 

I was also advised to take pictures to prove ownership prior to departure, and to even ask for some sort of certificate from authorities at the port of departure (Calais for me).  I guess a date stamp on the pictures would be important.

 

A good idea is to take a picture on the day of departure of each instrument with the newspaper of the day to show they originated in EU.  So I'll stop at a French service station on the way to the port, buy a newspaper, and take my pictures.  I'll make sure I include serial numbers too.

Edited by SteveS
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19 minutes ago, SteveS said:

I was also advised to take pictures to prove ownership prior to departure, and to even ask for some sort of certificate from authorities at the port of departure (Calais for me).  I guess a date stamp on the pictures would be important.

 

A good idea is to take a picture on the day of departure of each instrument with the newspaper of the day to show they originated in EU.  So I'll stop at a French service station on the way to the port, buy a newspaper, and take my pictures.  I'll make sure I include serial numbers too.

 

That sounds smart, I suppose if there is any debate about your ownership of luggage that was somehow misplaced you can prove it without any shadow of a doubt that way. Thanks for posting what HMRC advised by the way.

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The danger as I see it, this early in the process is that there is a lot of room for "interpretation".  Even in the Uk advice there are "you may be able to" comments, which tends to suggest it could be on the whim of the Officials as to what they will, or won't pass, unchallenged.

 

There is Uk Gov advice that (even) working musicians can carry their personal instruments through Borders without a Carnet as long as they are in their travelling vehicle and that foot/air passengers certainly can ( by all accounts), yet at the same time other text suggests that for working musicians "kit" carried in vehicles needs a Carnet.

 

Whether someone in a Uniform accepts that it is your personal, non business possession remains a matter for the individual judgement.  Trying to explain the difference between carrying it to play in Sessions for "fun" and a "Gig", which may imply business, may yet lead to some friction.

 

I don't think many people will have any practical experience yet and it will be useful to get insights - good & bad.  My experience previously, under the old EU/DEFRA rules was with small livestock.  They were - or should/could have been pretty onerous, as bad as those now around musical instruments, even though we were all in the same regime.  In practice, no one bothered!  It was probably because it was too complicated and DEFRA spent more time providing advice on how to "work around the rules" than work within them.

 

 

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If you take a picture with the paper I would perhaps recommend taking a picture of a day prior to your departure, with clear evidence of your EU location in the background. Otherwise, who's to say you didn't take a copy of today's paper with you on your trip and photograph it in the uk with your newly purchased instrument?

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In Canada, at least, you can get an "Identification of Articles for Temporary Exportation" by visiting Canada Customs with the instrument before leaving the country.  

 

This is what mine looks like:

 

ScanImage001.thumb.jpg.db0cdfee952442a77dd03cb206909f2a.jpg

ScanImage002.jpg

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  • 1 month later...
27 minutes ago, fiddler2007 said:

Move to Scotland? Sturgeon wants to rejoin the EU.

That would be "First Minister of Scotland , Nicola Sturgeon" if you live in Scotland....and have any sense! 😜 (but back to concertina matters! :) )

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