Transfer of Residency Number

Here’s a fun thing: when you move to the UK, if you don’t apply for a Transfer of Residence (TOR) number first, they might charge you tax on things you already own.

Weird, right? I mean, I don’t know if other countries do this, but I didn’t realize it was a thing.

We first found out about this when we called the pet import company recommended to us by the airline we would be flying on to London. We needed the TOR to avoid paying tax on the cats we had adopted six years prior.

But we also found that it came in handy when we shipped items. The person who printed out all the customs forms to attach to our boxes of belongings just wrote the term “Personal belongings – moving to UK. Transfer of Residence #” on each form. I’m not sure if that ended up making a difference, but I do know our items cleared customs quickly and none were pulled out for additional inspection.

Regardless, if you are moving your car, or your pets, you’ll definitely need it, so get going on it as early in the process as possible, as it takes a couple of weeks to arrive via email.

The forms you need are here. You’ll be asked to include supporting documentation, like a copy of your job offer letter, or your marriage certificate or birth certificates for your kids. Our files were large, so I ended up sending three emails total.

As part of the application, they ask for a list of items you’ll be bringing over. We kept it pretty high level and only got specific with very expensive things. For example, we said “clothing and personal care items,” but specified “two laptops” and “three video game systems.” I think we also said “dozens of books.”

If you have pets you’ll need to include it in the paperwork you send to the pet importers ahead of time so again, don’t leave this to the last minute.

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