Shipping your personal belongings back to Ireland

Introduction

If you’re moving home to Ireland, you will need to ship your belongings home.

You may be able to travel with smaller items in your luggage, post them or send them by courier. You will need a shipping container if you are returning with bigger items, such as furniture or cars.

There are a large number of international shipping services available. Do your research and shop around for the company that best suits you and your needs.

This page has information that will help you get your belongings home to Ireland.

How much will it cost to ship my belongings home?

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 (including wrapping) in cubic meters or feet.

They will also need to know if you want your goods to travel in a ‘Full Container Load’ (FCL) or a ‘Less than Container Load’ (LCL). An FCL means only you will have use of the container. An LCL means your goods will travel in a shared container with the personal belongings of other people who are moving.

Make sure to ask the international shipping company what is included in the quote, such as additional charges for VAT.

Do I have to pay duties or tax on my items?

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 and export of goods. It is normally calculated as a percentage of the goods’ value. For non-commercial goods, valued at €700 or less, you may be able to benefit from a standard rate of 2.5%.

Excise duty is a tax charged on the import and export of alcohol and tobacco products.

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax on the sale of goods and services. It is charged at the point of importation at the rate that would apply to the item if it was bought in Ireland. Different VAT rates apply to different goods.

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 have already paid VAT and duty in the member state where you bought the goods.

There are some exceptions to this such as shipping a car home. You may also have to pay excise duty on items such as alcohol and tobacco.

What items can I get customs duty and VAT relief on?

If you are shipping personal belongings home from outside the EU, you can claim relief on customs duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) for some items.

These include:

  • Personal property and household effects, including items belonging to members of your household
  • Bicycles, motorcycles, private cars, trailers, caravans, small boats and private aeroplanes
  • Wedding presents, if you’re returning to Ireland after getting married.

There is no relief from customs duty and VAT for:

  • Tobacco or alcohol in excess of your normal duty free allowance
  • Tools that are used in a trade
  • Property being imported for commercial reasons, unless you are transferring your business to Ireland.

You must complete a Transfer of Residence form (pdf) to claim the relief, see ‘What documentation do I need?’ below for more information.

Revenue has a full list of rules on relief from Customs Duty and VAT.

The importation of some goods is prohibited or may require a licence.

What do I need to know about importing a vehicle?

If you bring your vehicle to Ireland, you have to register the vehicle at a National Car Testing Service (NCTS) centre and you may have to pay Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT).

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 and 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 will not have to pay VRT.

If you are moving to Ireland and 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.

For more information, see our page on importing a vehicle into Ireland.

Should I insure my items?

As items can be damaged during shipping, it is important to insure your belongings. Most shipping companies will include an insurance option in the packages they offer. If you take out an insurance policy, make sure you know exactly what items are covered and in what circumstances.

If you hire the shipping company to wrap your belongings and pack the container, make sure you have a detailed list of every item that you are shipping. Keep any relevant receipts and sales invoices for the items too.

What documentation do I need?

The documentation you need depends on the country your goods are being shipped from.

Shipping from outside the EU

If you are shipping from outside the EU, your personal belongings need to be cleared by customs (Revenue).

You must submit a Transfer of Residence form (pdf) to Revenue two weeks before your goods arrive. You can claim relief from import tax by submitting this form. You don’t need to include toiletries, used clothing or accessories on the form.

If you are using an international shipping company, they normally help you with documentation for customs.

You will also be asked to show proof of your:

  • Transfer of residence to Ireland (such as an employer’s letter, or a document relating to the purchase or rental of property)
  • Previous residence abroad (such as a utility bill)
  • Ownership and use of the goods you are importing (such as invoices or receipts)

There are separate forms for the importation of wedding presents (pdf) and silver or gold plated (pdf) items.

Read Revenue’s guide to procedure at importation for more information.

Documents needed when moving 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.

Where to get more information

Customs Information Office

New Custom House
Promenade Road
Dublin
Ireland

Tel: +353 (0)1 877 6222, 877 6223

Page edited: 2 June 2022