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New rules for moving goods from the EU into Great Britain: here’s what you need to do

·5-min read

Promotional feature from HM Government

The UK Government has implemented new rules for moving goods from the European Union (EU) into Great Britain, which started on 1 January 2022.

This means businesses who move goods into Great Britain from the EU, including both small traders and haulage firms, will have to adapt to these changes. Here are the actions to take:

Customs declarations

Businesses, traders, and hauliers must complete customs declarations on goods they are moving from the EU into Great Britain at the time they are transported into Great Britain. Goods arriving at ports using GVMS will need to lodge the customs declaration before they arrive at the port in the EU and should be made within 3 hours of the presentation of the goods at any other location.

Since the start of this year, businesses have been able to delay customs declarations for up to 175 days from when goods arrived in the country. However, the changes on 1 January no longer allow for delays. Full declarations must be made at the time of bringing goods in. Alternatively simplified declarations can be used if the importer or agent are authorised.

For those moving goods permanently to England, Wales or Scotland from the EU, there are a number of steps to follow.

A detailed step-by-step guide for new customs declaration rules can be found here. This includes information on how to bring goods into Great Britain from the EU, as well as how much tax and customs duty you’ll need to pay, and whether you need to get a licence or certificate.

Businesses and hauliers can also apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations, which allows the movement of some goods into a customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration.

However, it can take up to 60 calendar days to complete the authorisation checks needed, so you need to factor that time in before you want to import goods next year.

Alternatively, you can hire someone to deal with the process for you, either as a direct representative or an indirect representative. These can be freight forwarders, customs agents or brokers, or fast parcel operators. What they can do for you, and who will be liable, depends on the services they provide, what you want them to do, or the commercial agreement you have with them.

Remember, they cannot act on your behalf without written instructions from you.

Note: The new requirements to make real-time customs declarations do not apply to imports from the EU into Northern Ireland or for imports from Ireland into Great Britain.

Registering for Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS)

Hauliers must be registered for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to move any goods between Great Britain and the EU.

The GVMS system enables fast and efficient movement of goods and will be used by many UK ports.

However, if you are not registered you will not be able to board the ferry or shuttle and cross the GB or EU border. Registration can take place online.

Ports that use GVMS to control goods will need pre-lodged declaration references to be linked together within a single reference number, called a Goods Movement Reference (GMR). The driver will need to present a valid GMR to the carrier for check-in.

The driver moving the goods should create the GMR, but it can be done by the haulier manager, or the trader’s customs agent or freight forwarder. You must only create one GMR per vehicle.

Note: The new requirement to register for GVMS does not apply when moving goods directly from the EU into Northern Ireland, or if moving goods directly from Ireland to Great Britain.


Rules of origin

Rules of origin are one of the most important trading requirements if a business buys or sells goods internationally. They are the criteria needed to determine the national source of a product.

From the 1 January 2022, the 12 month delay on supplier declarations ended. This means that if you import or export goods to and from the EU, you must be able to prove that they meet the rules of origin to use preferential tariffs (a tariff schedule under which one or more nations are given lower rates or other advantages over others).

To benefit from the preferential tariffs, you must have proof that goods you bring into the UK from the EU originate there, and that goods you export to the EU originate in the UK. By ‘originate’ we mean where the goods (or the materials, parts or ingredients used to make them) have been produced or manufactured.

If you cannot prove the origin of your goods, you or your EU customer will be liable to pay the full rate of customs duty and could face penalties. If you cannot prove your product’s origin, you cannot take advantage of the zero-tariff trade agreement with the EU.

These documents are not relevant if your business does not want to claim preferential treatment on the goods you import from the EU, or export to the EU.

Note: If you’re moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, rules of origin work differently. Contact the Trader Support Service if you need help.

Pre-notifying imports

From 1 January 2022, there are new requirements for importing some sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods, such as meat or plants, to Great Britain from the EU.

Traders will be required to pre-notify when importing most Products of Animal Origin, Animal By-Products, High Risk Food and Feed not of Animal Origin and regulated plants and plant products to Great Britain from the EU.

Businesses, or a representative acting on their behalf, when bringing in these goods from the EU may need to pre-notify authorities that their consignment will be entering the country on the relevant IT system.

To find out more about the new rules for importing food go to:

To find out more about the new rules for importing Animal By-Products, go to

To find out more about the new rules for importing plants and plant products, go to

Note: The new rules for pre-notifying do not apply to imports of these products from the EU into Northern Ireland, or for imports from Ireland into Great Britain. The information in this article was correct at the time of publication

Read more in our Post Brexit Trade section on Yahoo Finance

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