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By No owner — last modified Dec 14, 2016 11:44 AM

 United Kingdom - Formalities

Clearance

Immigration: Non-EU citizen must report to Immigration. See the Immigration section below.

Anyone on board who is not an EU national must obtain permission to enter the UK from an Immigration officer. The Customs officer to whom you report your arrival to will be able to advise on contacting the nearest Immigration office.

Customs: As a member of the European Union, EU regulations apply. Boats arriving from another EU country do not need to fly the Q flag and need only contact Customs if you have goods to declare,  have non-EU nationals, birds or animals on board.

See this official UK website for the latest information for arriving yachts.

Briefly, if you are arriving from outside the EU (and this includes the Channel Islands) you must fly the ‘Q’ flag, where it can readily be seen, as soon as you enter UK waters (the 12 mile limit). At night the flag should be illuminated. Do not take down the flag until clearance is complete.

Telephone the National Yachtline on +44(0)845 723 1110 on arrival. You will need to comply with any instructions that you are given.

Except for contacting the Customs authorities, you must not land goods, persons, or animals or transfer them to another vessel until cleared by Customs.

Good to be declared

Any animals or birds, firearms, any prohibited and restricted goods including certain foodstuffs (particularly any of non-EU origin). See Customs section below for more details.

Note: Pets cannot be landed anywhere in the U.K when arriving on a private yacht.

Health Clearance

If there are animals or birds on board or any illness, health clearance must be obtained. The captain should contact the port health authority or local authority responsible for port health control by radio, 4 to 12 hours before arrival and, if this is not possible, immediately on arrival. Until health clearance is given no one, except officials, may board the vessel nor anyone leave.

On arrival in a place where there is a Customs house, the captain must notify Customs in person or by telephone. Notification must be made within two hours of arrival, unless arriving between 2300 and 0600, when arrival need not be notified until 0800 the following morning provided there are no birds or animals on board.

If notification of arrival is required, then it must be done prior to or within 2 hours of arrival.

Anyone on board who is not an EU national must obtain permission to enter the UK from an Immigration officer. The Customs officer to whom you report your arrival to will be able to advise on contacting the nearest Immigration office.

Departure

Customs need not be informed by boats leaving the UK for another EU country.

All boats going directly to a country outside the EU must inform Customs.

Departing boats should complete sections 1 and 2 of Form C1331 (available at marina and port offices) and return part 1 to Customs either by handing it to a Customs officer; placing it in a Customs post box (sited at most marinas), or taking (or posting) it to a Customs office.

Part 2 of this form should be kept on board as evidence of notification of departure. If a planned departure is delayed by more than 48 hours or abandoned, Customs must be informed accordingly. Form C1331 can be obtained from any Customs office, most yacht clubs and marinas, the National Advice Service (0845 010 9000), or online (as Adobe pdf document) from a link at HMRC Customs

Last updated December 2016.

Immigration

All crew must have a passport valid for the length of their stay,

The U.K. is not part of the Schengen Area.

Nationals of countries who do not need a visa, are normally granted a stay of a maximum 6 months if they can show sufficient funds.

See the U.K.Border Agency website for the current list of nationals requiring a visa.

See this UK Government file for details of necessary supporting documents required.

Visas must be obtained in advance from a British embassy or consulate. Persons requiring visas who arrive in the UK without one will be refused entry.

Permission to enter is at the discretion of the Immigration officer at the point of entry - he has the power to refuse entry even if one has a visa, although for those on a tourist visit with sufficient funds for their stay, entry is normally straightforward.

If there is anyone on board who is not an EU national, Immigration must be contacted if arriving from outside the following countries or territories: UK, Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands. In most yachting centres, the Customs officer also acts as the Immigration officer.

Departure

Immigration does not have to be notified when leaving the UK if the destination port is in the EU or Channel Islands.

If the first port of call will be outside the EU, you need to notify an Immigration officer only if there is someone on board who is not an EU resident.

Note that CUSTOMS must be informed if leaving for a non-EU port, irrespective of the nationality of the crew.

Last updated October 2016.

Customs

Firearms and ammunition, including gas pistols and similar weapons, may not be imported.

Also prohibited or restricted are:- Controlled drugs, offensive weapons,  indecent and obscene material, non-EU food products, plants and produce, including potatoes and certain other fruit and vegetables; certain articles made from endangered species including fur, ivory and reptile leather.

Contact DEFRA for more information, The telephone numbers are: Meat and animal products Tel: +44(0)20 7904 6501; and Fruit and vegetables Tel: +44 (0)1904 455191/2/5.

Radio transmitters, such as portable VHF radios, which are not approved for use in the UK, may not be operated. This will include many made in the USA.

Allowances within the EU
Arriving in the UK by pleasure craft directly from the EU, you will be allowed to bring back as much EU duty paid goods, including tobacco and alcohol, as you like as long as it is for your own use. This includes bringing them back for your own consumption and bringing back gifts for family and friends. Goods cannot be brought back for family and friends if they are paying you, giving you cost price, or paying some or all of your travel costs.

EU regulations apply concerning temporary importation of boats. See EU VAT page for more information.

EU residents can have their boats based in another EU country, and leave them there without any time restrictions, without having to pay any additional duties. However, the owner may be asked to prove that duty (VAT) on the boat had been paid.

For advice on VAT, Excise and Customs call the National Advice Service on +44(0)845 010 9000.

Last updated October 2016.

Health

There are excellent health facilities throughout the U.K.

Fees

There are no fees for Customs or Immigration clearance.

There are fees for visa applications.

Restrictions

Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs)

Introduced in November 2013 to safeguard a wide range of precious sea life around the shores of the UK.

Click here for a full list of the 27 designated marine conservation zones.

Pets

The U.K. is free of rabies and the control and quarantine of animals is taken seriously.

Only certain transport companies and routes can be used to bring pet dogs, cats and ferrets into Great Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme. These are known as approved routes. This means they have been approved by APHA to bring pets into Great Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme and as part of that approval, are responsible for checking that the animal meets the rules of the Scheme

It is, therefore, not possible to bring your pet into the UK on board a private yacht, even if your pet does comply with the Pet Travel Scheme.

For full details see the UK Government website:

Pet Travel: Information for Pet Owners

Last updated April 2015.

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Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Dec 14, 2016 11:43 AM

IMPORTANT INFO. FOR YACHTS VISITING THE UK
It is important to remember that the UK is not part of the Schengen Area Agreement, so it is necessary for any boat with non-EU nationals on board to clear with UK Immigration (many non-EU visitors would be granted a 6 month visitor's visa).
Failure to report means you are illegal immigrants!

EU citizens automatically have the right to stay (at the moment). The UK leaving the EU will change many regulations.

Non-EU citizens can only freely move within the Schengen Area (for 90 days in any 180 day period) once cleared into their first designated Schengen country. EU countries outside Schengen must be cleared into in the usual way.

It is not unusual for those from outside Europe to not understand the difference between the Schengen Area and the EU. For a full explanation see noonsite's EU page - http://www.noonsite.com/General/EuropeanUnion

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UK: Hosepipe Ban - implications for leisure boating   (22 Mar 2012)

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Scotland: Explore the Highlands and Islands with the Malts Cruise  (15 Mar 2012)

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UK: Red Diesel - Government Backs Down  (08 Mar 2012)

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Some Good News Regarding the International Certificate of Competence  (07 Mar 2012)

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UK: Cross-Channel red diesel use outlawed  (23 Feb 2012)

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Scotland, Isle of Kerrera - New Buyer for Oban Marina  (13 Feb 2012)

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European Inspectors Focus on Yacht Safety   (10 Feb 2012)

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The Cruising Association Share the Secrets of Sailing the Bay of Biscay  (02 Dec 2011)

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UK: Coastguard modernisation proposals confirmed   (22 Nov 2011)

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Armed Guards to Protect UK Ships?  (30 Oct 2011)

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Heavy rain causes chaos across British Isles  (25 Oct 2011)

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Tackling Piracy: UK Government Response  (20 Oct 2011)

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UK: Gang jailed over yacht drug smuggle  (18 Oct 2011)

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Atlantic Ocean: Norwegian Yacht Missing - Now Safely Arrived in Ireland  (26 Sep 2011)

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The Tail-end of Hurricane Katia hits the UK in "worst storm since 1996"  (12 Sep 2011)

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British sailors missing at sea between South Africa and Australia  (08 Sep 2011)

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Night drama as two Dutch sailors rescued by British Royal Navy  (14 Jul 2011)

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Malts Cruise 2011 - Discover Scotland by Sail  (30 Jun 2011)

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UK: Cowes Yacht Haven Launches New Website  (30 Jun 2011)

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Can Anyone Rescue the UK Coastguard?  (23 May 2011)

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Scottish Malts Cruise - Sailing and Whisky  (29 Apr 2011)

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New from Imray  (02 Apr 2011)

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Yachts in Europe: New Marine Safety Inspections from Jan 2011   (06 Jan 2011)

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Falmouth coordinates rescue of yacht after fishing boat collision  (16 Dec 2010)

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British sailor dies as yacht sinks in stormy seas off Canary Islands  (02 Dec 2010)

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Paul and Rachel Chandler Speaking at a Press Conference in Mogadishu  (14 Nov 2010)

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BREAKING NEWS: Paul and Rachel Chandler released by Somali pirates after 388 days  (14 Nov 2010)

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UK South Coast: Full Planning Consent Granted for East Cowes Marina  (03 Nov 2010)

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UKHO to Restructure Admiralty Leisure Range of Charts  (20 Sep 2010)

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Warning for North Sea Sailors: 60 tonnes of timber  (02 Sep 2010)

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UK. New interactive marine conservation zone map launches online  (29 Jun 2010)

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Help Create Better Charts for the UK  (29 Jun 2010)

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UK South Coast: No Anchor Zones in Studland Bay   (24 Jun 2010)

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British cruising sailors rescued after yacht sinks in NE Atlantic  (19 Jun 2010)

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Somalia Kidnap: Chandlers plea to Cameron  (03 Jun 2010)

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British family rescued after yacht hits iceberg in South Atlantic  (09 May 2010)

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Scotland, More Berths at Oban Marina  (16 Apr 2010)

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British sailors rescued by Belgian helicopter  (07 Jan 2010)

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Sea, Sailing and Single Malts - Classic Malts Cruise 2009 Under Way from Oban  (17 Jul 2009)

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Almanac for English Channel now online and free   (14 May 2009)

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Emergencies and Channel 16  (28 Feb 2009)

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English Channel: Debris Alert for Sailors  (22 Jan 2009)

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Crinan Sea Lock Closure  (25 Jul 2008)

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DYT Announces New Routes and Voyages  (12 Dec 2007)

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UK Customs To Set Up New Unit For Yachts  (21 May 2007)

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EU extends VAT grace period for non-EU boats to 18 months  (23 Mar 2004)