When you arrive in the UK, you'll have to go through customs. Most UK ports and airports have three customs exits or 'channels', while some have only one exit, with a red-point phone for declaring goods. This guide tells you which to use and when.
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You should use the blue channel if you are travelling from a country within the European Union (EU) and you have no banned or restricted goods.
You should use the green channel if you are travelling from outside the EU and have with you:
Customs officials from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) carry out checks on travellers in the green channel and there are penalties for failing to declare goods. This can include seizure of:
You should use the red channel or the red-point phone if you have:
You should also go through the red channel if you are unsure about what you need to declare.
You'll be able to speak to a UKBA officer either in person or by using the red-point phone. You should tell them everything that you are bringing into the country. The UKBA officer may ask to look inside your luggage.
If you exceed your duty free allowance and have Customs Duty, Excise Duty or Import VAT to pay, the customs official, from the UKBA in the red channel, will tell you how much to pay and you'll have to pay it immediately. They will give you a receipt which you should keep as proof of payment.
If you're using the red-point phone, you'll be given instructions on how to make your payment.
If you need more information about going through customs, you can contact the Excise and Customs Helpline by following the link below.