Importing a bow to UK

big-bill3

Member
I need to replace my field archery bow. We are travelling to the USA in September and might consider finding a bow while over there as I have friends who shoot. What experience does anyone have of bringing a used bow back from the USA?


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Del the Cat

Well-known member
Shouldn't be a problem (especially if you don't have arrows), it's "sporting gear".
I took bows to the US and came back with some staves and a bow no real problem all transported in a plastic drain pipe.
On the way out they asked if the arrows were "pointy" I chose to assume they meant broadheads, so I could answer no (they were field points).
On the way back I had a Native American bow made for me by a guy over there and some arrows (one stone point, one broadhead "trade point" and a field point). I would have described them as decorative items if I had been asked, but I wasn't.
I ignored the various archery sporting goods allowances as they weren't long enough and only really catered for takedowns or compounds... (wouldn't recognise a real bow if it bit them on the leg). I took it through to oversize baggage. (Didn't cost me).
Read the baggage size allowances for your flight, I had to trim about 1/2" off the nocks of one ELB to fit inside the allowance!
Don't volunteer information, just answer any questions.
You'll need good solid backaging to avoid baggage handlers breaking it or playing with it and stringing it backwards. (Label it archery equipment or sporting goods... not bows and arrows.)
Del
PS. Don't forget to collect and re-check stuff back into oversize items on connecting flights... I got caught out, having being waved into line whilst carrying my 6' plastic pipe. When I got to security they turned me back as it was too big to carry onto the plane! One nice chap, walked me back to oversize baggage and brought me back to save queuing again.
 

Timid Toad

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The best thing to do is shoot it (not just try it out) while you are there - then it's used, and you aren't importing new goods, you are just travelling with your personal possessions. So get it set up and go round a range, break the string in etc. Good idea in case the bow fails in the first couple of dozen arrows, anyway. Make sure you have a method of bringing it back that is airline proof!
 

little-else

Supporter
Supporter
you may need to fill in a customes carnet to avoid paying import duty on your secondhand item. Thre will be an 11 digit international code for the item, whatever it is and finding this before anyone else applies their best guess at the code will save you hassle. I once imported some jewellery making items and the sellers kindly used the code for live cattle, which caused problems with tagging and quarantine arrangements.
 

KidCurry

Well-known member
I need to replace my field archery bow. We are travelling to the USA in September and might consider finding a bow while over there as I have friends who shoot. What experience does anyone have of bringing a used bow back from the USA?
Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but as you mention the bow as being 'used' I assume you have Duty and VAT concerns as well as packing concerns. Even if the bow is used it will still be assessed for duty but at a lower/second hand value which may still be higher than your ?390 limit if in really good condition.
 

Timid Toad

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Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but as you mention the bow as being 'used' I assume you have Duty and VAT concerns as well as packing concerns. Even if the bow is used it will still be assessed for duty but at a lower/second hand value which may still be higher than your ?390 limit if in really good condition.
Only if you haven't used it, ie it might be used, but new to you, so it might attract duty. But if you have used it it's no different to a bow you might have taken with you and are bringing back.
 

KidCurry

Well-known member
Only if you haven't used it, ie it might be used, but new to you, so it might attract duty. But if you have used it it's no different to a bow you might have taken with you and are bringing back.
HMRC Reference:Notice 143 section 3.2 states...

"3.2 Is duty charged on used goods? "

"Used goods are still liable to the same duty and VAT charges as if they were new. However, their value may vary depending on their age and condition."

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-143-a-guide-for-international-post-users

There is no classification/mention of whether you have used the item in the USA before importing into the UK and it would be handy if this source of information was referenced.
When I was working in the states I had to have a record of all equipment taken out so I was not charged when coming back to the UK. Sometimes it was listed as test equipment, sometimes itemised depending on the officer. However this was 15 years ago and things might have changed.
 

Timid Toad

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Yes, that's the thing, if you go out with no bow or bowcase, that might raise eyebrows, but if you go out with a case full of the usual archer's palaver and come back with the same (but with an extra bow, no new packaging etc) you aren't going to have a problem.

I've had this: they've opened my case on the way in, seen the cacophony of my bag, had no idea of what most of it is, let alone how much is in there and then everything has flowed neatly from there.
 

Whitehart

Well-known member
Don't put the invoice in your wallet, its the first place they look and if the date is within your travel dates even if you have used it they can charge duty.
 

big-bill3

Member
Sum total of my research
UPS will charge $400
British Airways will charge ?50 to take it as extra luggage but only if it?s less than 90cm long else it?s ?125. The PSE Evolve 35 is in a box that?s 46? long
Then there?s possible tax
Nice try


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