New Brexit-related import controls from 1 Jan 2022

IFL Brexit IFL customer update - 1 Jan 2022

Important import news for customers – full customs controls are coming into effect for EU-UK trade from 1 January 2022. The UK government has issued a reminder for traders to prepare for the customs changes. Roy Baker, Director, International Forwarding (IFL), highlights the key changes for those who send or receive freight from the European Union.

On 1 December,  HMRC issued a summary of the incoming changes: Less than a month until full customs controls are introduced.

The most important change is that the option for an importer to delay an import customs declaration for up to six months is completely withdrawn. A full entry must have been lodged with HMRC at the time of arrival of the goods at either the UK port or nominated inland clearance point. The forwarder cannot allow the goods to leave the EU country of departure until a reference number confirming that the UK import entry has been pre-lodged is available.

Import customs controls – fine detail

There are two specific points not covered in the HMRC release:

1. From 1.1.22 it will no longer be permissible to show ‘EU’ as the country of origin on the UK import entry. Instead the shipping country code – ‘FR’, ‘DE’ etc – must be shown and the importer will need to have this information ready for their customs agent when the latter is preparing the entry. The EU exporter’s commercial invoices can still show that the goods are of EU or EC origin.

2. The UK freight forwarder will now be responsible for ensuring that UK import entry references are available before the goods depart from the place of export. Therefore we strongly recommend that the UK importer uses the services of the freight forwarder transporting the goods into the UK to prepare and pre-lodge the import entry. This is to avoid delays caused by the use of third-party clearing agents.

Help for traders

HMRC is sending out advice to help traders in the run up to 1 January. We’ll list useful ‘Trading with the EU’ newsletters here for ease of reference.

  • Changes to border controls [2 Dec 2021]
    Includes information on border controls, commodity codes, using freight forwarders or couriers, and webinar/video help links. Read more…
  • Rules of origin [9 Dec 2021]
    Includes a reminder of the rules of origin for trade between the UK and EU, and the upcoming changes to the requirement for supplier declarations to support proof of origin. Read more…

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