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Import an Apple iPad in the UK on April 3

UK buyers can import an Apple iPad from the US

Apple iPad iBook reader

Apple has started taking pre-orders for its Apple iPad tablet PC in the US – but only for US customers.

Shoppers in the UK keen to get their hands on a Apple iPad will have to wait until late April, with Apple giving no word as to when UK customers can start pre-ordering the iPad.

The Apple iPad was revealed in January, and has been described as somewhere between a mobile phone and a laptop. It can play videos, music and games, and supports Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS and Bluetooth connectivity.

It will cost $499 for a 16GB version, $599 for a 32GB version, and $699 for a 64GB version. A 3G version of each of these variations can be bought for a further $130.

Read the Which? first look Apple iPad review

UK customers keen to get their hands on an Apple iPad in early April can import the iPad – and the Wi-Fi will work with Wi-Fi networks in the UK. So, what are the options for UK shoppers to buy an Apple iPad from the US and import it into the UK?

Importing an Apple iPad from the US

The first option is to get a US resident to pre-order an Apple iPad for you, then send it on April 3 from the US. Apple won’t accept iPad pre-orders from non-US residents, so you’ll need to know someone who resides in the US and can pay for the pre-order with a US-registered credit card.

You’ll need to pay for the additional postage costs of importing an Apple iPad, as well as import VAT which is 17.5%. This would cost an extra £56 for the cheapest Apple iPad. A Customs Duty is also payable, although if HMRC classifies the iPad as a laptop, the duty rate would be 0%. Otherwise, a typical duty rate of between 5% and 9% would apply.

Buying an Apple iPad from the US

Apple will be releasing Apple iPads on sale on April 3, although these will initially be limited to the Wi-Fi only models. You should be able to buy an iPad from any Apple Store in the US using a UK credit card from that date.

Watch the first look Apple iPad video review of the iBook store

The good news is that that cheapest Apple iPad will be exempt from both import VAT and duty. Shoppers have a duty allowance of £390 when bringing back products from the US. More expensive models such as the 32GB and 64GB iPads would mean paying both duty and import tax on the full amount.

Apple iPad UK launch in April

The alternative is to wait for Apple to sell the iPad in the UK in late April. Before then we expect to hear news on which service providers will be providing the 3G connectivity for the 3G enabled iPads.

Find more advice on buying goods from overseas with the Which? guide to shopping abroad

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