What are the new rules for importing goods into Great Britain?

Full customs controls came into force on 1 January 2022 – one year after the Brexit transition period came to an end.

If you import goods from Europe into Great Britain, here’s what you need to know.

What’s changed?

Until 31 December 2021, businesses were able to delay making declarations on goods – apart from controlled goods, such as alcohol, weapons, chemicals, or drugs – brought into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) from Europe.

This meant that you could delay sending HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) full information about your goods by up to 175 days after import.

Delayed imports were introduced after the end of the Brexit transition period to give traders time to prepare for new customs controls and procedures.

But from 1 January 2022, businesses are now required to make full customs declarations and pay any tariffs at the point of import.

What are the new rules from 1 January 2022?

  • Traders will have to make full import customs declarations and pay relevant tariffs at the point of import.
  • Your goods may be directed to an Inland Border Facility for customs checks if these checks cannot be done at the border. From this date, you must also submit an “arrived” export declaration if your goods are moving through one of the border locations that use the arrived exports process.
  • You must use the correct country code for the country of origin and the country of dispatch when you complete your customs declaration. The EU country code can no longer be used.
  • Pre-notification requirements of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods are required.
  • UK commodity codes have changed.

Future changes

Some customs controls have been delayed further to give businesses more time to prepare. This means:

  • Safety and Security Declarations at entry will not be required until 1 July 2022.
  • Certification and physical checks for all remaining regulated animal by-products, all regulated plants and plant products, all meat and meat products, and all remaining high-risk food not of animal origin will not be required until 1 July 2022.
  • High-priority plants and plant products checks will be transferred from the place of destination to designated Border Control Points (BCP) from 1 July 2022.
  • Physical checks on live animals will take place at designated border control posts where a facility is operational at the point of entry from 1 July 2022.
  • Certification and physical checks will be introduced for all dairy products from 1 September 2022.
  • Certification and physical checks will be introduced for all remaining regulated products of animal origin, including composite products and fish products, from 1 November 2022.

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