Doing business with the EU? We’re here to help

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Dear customer,

This is the latest in a series of emails that we’re sending to help you adapt to the changes when you import or export goods to the EU.

Border controls announcement

On Thursday‌‌ ‌11‌‌ ‌March, the government announced a six-month delay to the introduction of full import border controls. It chose to do this because of the unprecedented challenges businesses have faced during the pandemic.

This means that full declarations won’t be needed at the time you import non-controlled goods until 1‌‌ ‌January 2022.

If you’re already making full declarations, you don’t need to change anything, but for those who are still getting to grips with the changes there is longer to prepare.

Below we outline what the latest announcement means for you, particularly if you have started importing since 1 January, or if you plan to do so.

Delayed customs import declarations:

  • customs import declarations are still required, but the option to delay your declarations, including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, has been extended to 1‌‌ ‌January 2022
  • until the end of this year, many traders importing most goods from the EU will be able to delay submitting information and paying customs duties to HMRC for up to six months from the date their goods are imported into the UK.

Safety and security declarations:

And if the goods you’re importing include products of plant or animal origin: 

  • pre-notification requirements for Products of Animal Origin (POAO), certain animal by-products (ABP), and High-Risk Food Not of Animal Origin (HRFNAO) will not be required until 1‌‌ ‌October 2021. Export Health Certificate requirements for POAO and certain ABP will come into force on the same date
  • physical SPS checks for Products of Animal Origin (POAO) certain animal by-products (ABP) and High-Risk Food Not of Animal Origin (HRFNAO) will not be required until 1‌‌ ‌January 2022. At that point they will take place at Border Control Posts
  • pre-notification requirements and documentary checks, including phytosanitary certificates will be required for low-risk plants and plant products, and will be introduced from 1‌‌ ‌January 2022.

What this means

Delaying your customs declarations

Up until 1‌‌ ‌January 2022, if you import goods from the EU into Great Britain that are not on the controlled goods list, you may want to delay making your declarations to HMRC for up to 175 days after you import your goods to allow yourself more time to get used to new paperwork. You can find information at 'Delaying declarations for EU goods brought into Great Britain'.

You can’t use delayed declarations if:

  • you trade in controlled goods such as tobacco or alcohol  
  • we consider your business to be high risk.

In these circumstances you must submit full customs declarations for any trade with the EU.

Goods already imported using delayed declarations

The announcement does not extend the period between your entry in declarant’s records and making your supplementary declarations, you will still need to submit your delayed supplementary declarations within 175 days of the goods arriving in GB. For example, if you have already imported goods in January using the delayed declaration option, you will still need to be ready to make your supplementary declarations in July.

Action that you need to take now:

  • if you intend to delay your declarations, you must make a simplified declaration in your records to do this. This is called an entry in declarant’s records
  • before your goods are imported, it’s important that you ensure the person responsible for moving your goods is told whether the goods will be declared using delayed declarations or using existing customs processes.

Customs declarations can be complicated, so many businesses decide to use a customs intermediary to deal with import and export declarations on their behalf. There is a list of customs intermediaries that can help you.

Help and support

You could also attend our webinar 'Importing: what you need to know about staged controls'. This webinar takes you through the three stages of the new border controls introduced from 1‌‌ ‌January‌‌ ‌2021, and what actions you need to take for each stage. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.

There's also more help and support for UK transition on GOV‌‌‌.UK, this includes webinars for: 

  • trader responsibilities when using an intermediary
  • customs Import Declarations: an overview.

Check out our forums – To ask and get answers to specific questions about HMRC processes for importing or exporting.

Give us a call on 0300 322 9434

Our customer service advisers are here to help with questions on importing, exporting and customs reliefs. The helpline is open from 8‌‌‌am to 10‌‌‌pm Monday‌‌ ‌to‌‌ ‌Friday and from 8‌‌‌am to 4‌‌‌pm at weekends.

We will continue to deliver guidance and support to help you and your business, and if you know of a business who would also find these weekly emails helpful, please forward it on, or suggest they register to get these updates directly to their inbox.

Yours sincerely

Katherine Green and Sophie Dean

Katherine Green and Sophie Dean 

Directors General, Borders and Trade, HMRC