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Relief conditions

The University can obtain duty and VAT relief on eligible goods imported for medical research, establishing medical diagnosis or carrying out medical treatment. This does not extend to training.

NB: Even if not eligible for duty relief, you can still claim VAT relief if your goods are purchased by the University and are:

  • medical, scientific, computer, video, sterilizing, laboratory or refrigeration equipment
  • intended for use in medical or veterinary research, training, diagnosis or treatment

See Medically Exempt Purchases for more details on VAT medical exemption.

Goods that are covered Restrictions

Instruments and apparatus intended for medical research, establishing medical diagnosis or carrying out medical treatment

Spare parts, components and accessories specifically for eligible instruments and apparatus

Tools to be used for maintaining, checking, calibrating or repairing eligible instruments and apparatus.

The goods you import must be:


  • donated by a charitable or philanthropic organisation;
  • donated by a private individual; or
  • purchased with University funds.


In the case of donated equipment:

  • the donation must not involve any commercial intent on the part of the donor
  • nor must the donor be connected with the manufacturer of the equipment.

How to obtain relief

Apply for approval to NIRU (National Import Relief Unit) for a certificate

National Import Reliefs Unit
HM Customs and Excise
Custom House
Killyhevlin Industrial Estate
County Fermanagh
Northern Ireland BT74 4EJ

Tel: 028 6632 2298
Fax: 028 6632 4018

See HMRC Notice 341 (Importing donated medical equipment free of duty and VAT) for methods of importing and paperwork to be completed

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