Shipping your personal belongings back to Ireland
If you’re returning to Ireland, you may want to move your belongings home too.
You can send smaller items by courier or post, but you should tell Revenue about this in advance.
You will need a shipping container if you are returning with bigger items, such as furniture or cars. There are many international shipping services available. Do your research and shop around for the company that best suits your needs.
How much does it cost to ship belongings to Ireland?
The cost of shipping your belongings to Ireland depends on their size, weight and shape. It also depends on the distance you are shipping them. You may also have to pay duties and tax on your items when shipping them home.
To give you a quote, your chosen shipping company will need an estimate of the size of your goods, in cubic meters or feet.
If something is an irregular shape, try to measure it in small, regular-shaped parts and then add the parts together. For example, if measuring a chair, measure the base and the back separately, then add the totals together.
How to measure your items in cubic metres
- Measure the length, width and height of your belongings in centimetres
- Multiply the length, width, and height together (L x W x H)
- Divide your total by 1,000,000
Your answer is the size (also called the ‘volume’ or ‘capacity’) of your belongings in cubic metres.
How to measure your items in cubic feet
- Measure the length, width and height of your belongings in inches
- Multiply the length, width, and height together (L x W x H)
- Divide your total by 1,728 (this is because there are 1,728 cubic inches in a cubic foot)
Your answer is the size (‘volume’ or ‘capacity’) of your belongings in cubic feet.
Choose a ‘Full Container Load’ or ‘Less than Container Load’
The shipping company will ask if you want your goods to travel in a ‘Full Container Load’ (FCL) or a ‘Less than Container Load’ (LCL).
- FCL means only your goods are in the container
- LCL means your goods will travel in a shared container with other people’s belongings
Make sure to ask the international shipping company what is included in the quote, such as additional charges for VAT, or shipping insurance.
Do I have to pay customs duty or tax?
You may have to pay customs duty, excise duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on your items.
Customs duty is a tax on the import of goods. It is normally calculated as a percentage of the goods’ value. For non-commercial goods, valued at €700 or less, you may get a standard rate of 2.5%.
Excise duty is a tax charged on the import of alcohol and tobacco products.
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax on the sale of goods and services. VAT is charged at the point of importation, at the rate you would have paid if you bought the goods in Ireland. Use Revenue’s A-Z database of VAT rates to check the VAT rate on your belongings.
Shipping from another EU country to Ireland
If you’re shipping your personal belongings from an EU country, you do not have to pay any extra Value Added Tax (VAT) or customs duty in Ireland. This is because you already paid VAT and duty in the EU member state where you bought the goods.
Claim relief from customs duty and VAT
If you are shipping personal belongings home from outside the EU, you can claim relief from customs duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on your:
- Personal property and household goods, including items belonging to people you live with
- Bicycles, motorcycles, private cars, trailers, caravans, small boats and private aeroplanes
- Wedding presents valued up to €1,000 each, if you’re returning to Ireland after getting married (read more about shipping wedding-related items)
You can’t get relief from customs duty and VAT for:
- Tobacco or alcohol exceeding your normal duty-free allowance
- Tools that are used in a trade (for business)
- Property being imported for commercial reasons, unless you are transferring your business to Ireland
Time limit to claim tax relief
To be eligible for the relief, you must import your belongings to Ireland within the:
- 6 months before you move
- 12 months after you move
There are stricter time limits if you are claiming relief when importing wedding clothes and presents.
How to claim tax relief
You can visit Revenue’s website for more information on relief from Customs Duty and VAT. You can also check if your goods are banned or need a licence in Revenue’s guide on prohibited and restricted items (pdf).
What documents do I need when shipping my items?
Depending on where you’re shipping your goods from, you may need certain documentation.
Moving to Ireland from within the EU
If you are shipping personal goods (excluding vehicles) from another EU country to Ireland, you do not need to submit any documentation to Revenue.
Moving to Ireland from outside the EU
If you are shipping from outside the EU, your personal belongings must be cleared by customs (Revenue). This is the case whether you are shipping belongings yourself, or using a courier or moving company.
You should email a completed transfer of residence form C & E 1076 (pdf) to Revenue 2 weeks before your goods arrive in Ireland. You can claim relief from customs duty and VAT by submitting this form.
You don’t need to list individual items of used clothing, toiletries, or accessories. Instead, these can be grouped together as ‘personal items’. Make sure to include the current market value of any valuable belongings.
When your form is complete, send it to the relevant port or airport. If you are using an international shipping company, they may help you with documentation for customs.
To support your ‘Transfer of residence’ form, you will be asked to show:
- Proof that you’re moving to Ireland, such as a letter from an employer in Ireland, or a letter relating to the purchase or rental of a property in Ireland
- Proof you previously lived abroad (such as a utility bill, or a letter to show you’ve ended your employment)
- Proof that you own and use the goods you are importing (such as invoices or receipts)
Moving to Ireland from the UK
If you are travelling from the UK to Ireland with your belongings via passenger ferry, go to customs when you arrive at the port.
If shipping your belongings by freight ferry, you must give the ferry company your ‘Pre-Boarding Notification (PBN) ID’. You can get your PBN ID from Revenue – simply request it when sending your completed ‘Transfer of residence’ form. See ‘Moving to Ireland from outside the EU’ above.
Read more in Revenue’s guide to the procedure at importation.
How do I bring my car to Ireland?
If you’re importing a car or small van, the amount of VRT you pay is based on a percentage of its recommended retail price, including all taxes. This is known as the Open Market Selling Price (OMSP). Use Revenue’s VRT calculator to estimate how much VRT you will pay.
You can claim a relief from VRT if:
- You are transferring your residence to Ireland (moving here permanently)
- You were using the vehicle for more than 6 months before you moved to Ireland
In this case, you must still register your vehicle, but you do not have to pay VRT.
If you are exempt from paying VRT, you cannot sell your vehicle for 12 months after the vehicle is registered. If you are not exempt from paying VRT, you can sell your vehicle in Ireland once it has been registered.
See how to claim this tax relief in our page Bringing your vehicle to Ireland.
Should I insure my items?
As items can be damaged during shipping, it is important to insure your belongings.
Many shipping companies offer insurance in their packages. If you take out an insurance policy, check what items are covered and in what circumstances.
If you hire the shipping company to wrap your belongings and pack the container on your behalf, keep a detailed list of every item you are shipping. Keep any relevant receipts and sales invoices for the items too.
You can find more information about shipping belongings to Ireland from outside the EU on Revenue’s website.