You will only need a UK VAT number if you are supplying goods, and, or services in the UK.
If you are the importer of record for the goods then you will be making a supply of goods in the UK and so there will be an immediate requirement to register for VAT if you belong overseas and a requirement to register only when you breach the threshold if you belong in the UK. You can see the guidance here:
Working out whether you need to register
Non-established-taxable-persons (NETPs) — basic information
We would recommend speaking to our Intermational Trade Team to dicuss any further requirements for imported goods.
Imports and exports: general enquiries