Advice for International Entrants

This page provides advice and guidance for anyone sending a quilt from outside the UK for the Festival of Quilts competitions.

We are very keen to encourage entries from all over the world and we appreciate how expensive this can become (despite our heavy subsidies). To minimise the costs relating to duty and taxes at customs, we ask you to follow the advice below.

Please also note that for the return of your work after the show, the Organisers will take on any costs for customs duty in order to reduce any surprise costs to you, the maker, and to speed up the process of getting the work back to you. 

We hope this provides some reassurance to International makers and we hope to see your entries!

The guidelines for importing into the UK changed at the beginning of 2021 following the UK’s departure from the EU. Although part of agreement is that no duties will be applied to imports from the EU, unfortunately UK VAT does need to be paid on entry into the UK. 

Whilst we are able to receive entries from Russia, unfortunately due to restrictions from the Russian authorities, we are no longer able to return them. If you reside and Russia and wish to enter the competition, you will need to arrange to collect the work from the show and hand carry them back, or supply an alternative address outside of Russia. 

Duty & VAT is still applicable for all items arriving from countries outside the EU.

Please note that the above charges may be minimised if you follow the advice below. 

1) Find a Courier Company

Send your quilt with a reputable International courier company when packed (for example DHL, UPS, Fed Ex etc).

2) Complete a commercial invoice

The courier company will be able to supply you with a template for this.

You will need to place a monetary value on your package. Without devaluing your hard work, we recommend you enter a nominal value for your quilt (ie £10 as it is a personal item and not for resale). This will minimise the risk of duty being applied at customs.

The UK Import VAT of 20% will be calculated using this value so the lower the value you place on the quilt, the lower the fees you will be charged.

Should you not follow these instructions regarding the valuation, you will receive charges from UK Customs for at least 20% of the value you declare plus a processing fee.

You will also be asked for a commodity code to put onto the commercial invoice. We recommend you use HS Code: 5811 0000 99

You will also be asked to describe the package contents and we recommend you describe your work as “Personal handmade item for exhibition”

3) Send DDP (Delivered Duty Paid)

Inform the courier that the parcel should be sent DDP (Delivered Duty Paid)

This ensures you have pre-paid all your charges in advance and there will be no delay in delivery within the UK.

4) Get a Tracking Number

Ensure they advise you of the tracking details.

Following the above steps should help ensure your parcel arrives safely and quickly and with the minimum cost to you. However please be aware that the organisers cannot take responsibility for any issues regarding the delivery of your quilt.

All costs associated with the delivery of your quilt are the responsibility of the maker and will not be covered by Bill Bowden Event Logistics or the show organisers, Immediate Live.

Before despatch, please ensure you label your quilt using the label template provided by the show organisers (sent by email).

Once labelled, please send your quilt entry to: 

The Festival of Quilts competition

c/o Bill Bowden Event Logistics Ltd 

4 Dickens Close, East Grinstead 

West Sussex

RH19 1SE 


Please ensure your entry arrives between Monday 10th July through to Sunday 23rd July. 

If you require any further advice or guidance on sending your quilt from to the UK please email [email protected] or [email protected] 

Our freight carriers, Bill Bowden Event Logistics will follow a similar process to return your quilt to you. Please ensure you check your email / text messages for alerts from couriers who will try to contact you to organise re-delivery.

New for 2023, the organisers will return quilts to makers in the EU using DDP (Delivered Duty Paid), taking on any costs for customs that may be charged. This will speed up to the process of the work getting back to you and will avoid you having any surprise fees to receive your work back.

It will mean the Organisers take on significant additional cost and while the full amount will not be passed on the maker, the fees for return postage have increased slightly.

We hope this will provide peace of mind to International entrants.