Importing from Italy to the UK: A Guide for Business

If you are considering importing from Italy for business purposes, there are a number of protocols and procedures to follow.

Italy is one of the top EU countries for UK imports and the nation’s businesses spend billions of pounds on a wide variety of imports from machinery, to pharmaceuticals, furniture and clothing. Such an expansive choice is surely one of the main reasons why Italy is a popular option for imports.


In this guide from TNT you can find out what you need to know to successfully import your goods from Italy. Follow this useful advice and you’ll soon be importing securely and, more significantly, correctly.


Italy Fact File

Official Language: Italian
Currency: Euro
GDP: $2.157trn
Calling Code: +39
Capital City: Rome
Population: 61million (2015 estimate)

What You Need To Do

When you’ve chosen your supplier and you know what goods and the quantity you wish to import, you’ll need to have the right documentation and will also need to carry out some of the following:


For the goods you wish to import from Italy you have to get a commodity code. This is a code to classify your goods and ensure that you’re paying the right amount of tax or applicable duty. You can use the Government’s online Trade Tariff search tool to find the right commodity codes for your goods.


You should have registered your business for VAT with the HMRC and you will need to complete a VAT return form.


As a VAT registered business it’s also your responsibility to notify your chosen supplier of your VAT registration number. This way you avoid being charged for the Italian equivalent – the Italian IVA. Equally you should also ask for their IVA number for the same reasons.


If you’re not VAT registered you can expect to have both the UK and Italy rates added on by your supplier.


Duty may also need to be paid on your imports from Italy, but this is dependent on other factors such as how they are transported to the UK and whether or not you already paid the duty in Italy.


Commercial invoices may need to be completed for your imported goods which provides full details about the items, costs, addresses and other important information relating to your imports.


Depending on the types of goods you’re importing you might need to have an import licence. These are often necessary for the importing of controlled goods such as weapons, chemicals and certain plants and animals.


Finally, remember that Italy’s currency is the Euro, so remember to price everything based on the current exchange rate.

Restricted Items

You also need to note that much like with any EU member state, there are a number of restricted items you aren’t allowed to import. These include goods such as illegal drugs, weapons and obscene materials. You can find a full list here on


Alternative Options

As alluded to above, should you fail to adhere to the correct rules and procedures for your Italian imports then you put your business at risks of Government penalties varying in severity. To make the whole process easier and more efficient then, you might want to consider using TNT to manage your imports for you.


Our Express Import services work with over 175 different countries and will collect and transport your goods to your business premises. We also have a number of different air, sea and road freight options across our extensive delivery work. What’s more we can help you with all the important paperwork and processes involved, in turn reducing the hassle in sorting this all yourself and at the same time ensuring your imports from Italy are all in order.