Changes In EU-GB Customs Rules

Before Brexit, importing trade companies in the UK were used to tariff-free goods (with only a few expectations). There were little to no checks at the borders and there weren’t any requirements for customs either. 

However, after Brexit, companies and organisations in the trade sector must now abide by the changes in the EU-GB customs rules which were implemented on the 1st January 2021. This means that those who have been affected by the changes will now have to submit declarations each and every time they import goods. So to make sure your business continues to run smoothly, let’s review those EU-GB changes, understand the challenges and learn how to meet customs requirements. 

Changes to your import journey

To remain compliant as well as avoid delays and extra unwanted business costs it’s good to prepare for:

  • New documentation you will need
  • Checks at borders
  • Possible VAT and duty expenses

Post-Brexit trade and customs processes

After Brexit, trade companies can claim a preferential zero tariff rate – when the imported goods satisfy the rules of origin.

To claim for a preferential zero tariff rate, the goods you ship must originate in either the EU or UK, in order to meet the rules of origin requirements. To help your claim, the importer will need to declare that they have proof that the goods they are importing meet those rules of origin regulations. 

Importers are entitled to claim for a preferential rate of duty if they have a statement to confirm the origin of the goods, or they have ‘importers knowledge’ of where the goods originate from. Supporting documentation must be provided to qualify for this claim. 

Follow this link to check if you can claim for a preferential rate of duty.

Are you a business or organisation that can claim a preferential rate of duty? 

If you are, you’ll need to: 

  • See the current agreement that’s in place – check the trading agreement alongside the country that you’ll be importing to.
  • See to it that your goods are covered by the agreement – check that you have classified your goods properly. It might be the case that some goods may or may not be covered in your agreement.
  • See to it that your goods meet the origin rules – you can check your goods here to see if they meet the origin rules
  • Have the documentation to help you prove your claim – the type of proof you’ll need to send with your claim will entirely depend on the type of goods and the location of where they’re being imported or exported to. The types of proof you’re likely to need include the EUR1 or EUR-MED movement certificate, origin declaration, importer’s knowledge or a Generalised Scheme of Preferences form A.

Now that the changes are in full-force, it’s also important to be aware that checks will be made at all borders and for all goods and their entry certification and custom declarations must be supplied. Some goods may be qualified for an easement period with delayed submission. There may also be additional requirements for some goods such as physical checks and pre-notification.

Brexit import dates and changes

1st January 2021 start of easement period standard goods
25th June 2021 first supplementary declarations are due
1st October 2021 pre-notification requirements and export health certificate



31st December 2021 end of easement period
1st January 2022 frontier declarations, safety and security declarations, physical SPS checks, pre-notification requirements and documentary checks
1st March 2022  checks at border control posts

The challenges of the changes in EU-GB customs rules

  • Supplementary declarations backlog – with the 175-day rolling deadline, chances are that you will have a list of declarations to sort and submit
  • Clunky new customs processes – with lots of changes in the rules it can be difficult to know if your business is being compliant
  • High prices – there are new costs associated with the new changes in rules

Possible business risks of the EU-GB customs rules changes

  • Accuracy – HMRC holds all trading history information which means goods movements and declaration submissions will be flagged if there are any inconsistencies
  • Compliance – if you’re unable to follow the new customs rules, you could face a fine or be banned from trading
  • Costs – if you fail to meet the proper declarations processes, you may have to pay more to correct any discrepancies
  • Delays – if you’re not completely up to date with your declarations processes, you risk border delays

How to prepare yourself to meet the new changes in EU-GB customs rules

Prepare for movement Goods movement and submission
Sort out your sales and commercial agreements – start using a searchable database to log your incoterms and invoices for each trade Clear your supplementary declaration backlog of goods that have been imported during the easement period
Set up your duty deferment account and register for VAT if required If you are VAT-registered you can postpone VAT for 2021 imports under easement. Remember, duty and excise must also be paid to HMRC where required
Exporting under DDP or importing under EXW? Sort your GB EORI number 
Check to see if your goods qualify for the simplified declarations process

Importing goods when easement period ends

  • Since jan 2021 excise goods have required an import entry and can’t be moved just by EMCS.
  • Non-controlled goods can still enter under EIDR procedures with supplementary declarations until January 2022 (due to the rolling 175 days).
  • Option to use full frontier declarations for non-controlled goods – goods classified as EU union status goods which are not subject to controls can enter GB without frontier declarations.
  • Goods under CITES need certification and must exit the EU via designated ports as of January 2021 – and it’s expected that by January 2022, the process will require import declarations, entry safety & security ENS and GVMS entry.
  • SPS goods such as high risk POAO, plants and livestock, checks may take place at point of destination – this has already taken effect as of January 2021. By October 2021, this will be required for all POAO, plants and livestock. And in January 2022, pre-notification will be required even for low-risk plant products, and documentation and physical checks for SPS goods will be enforced. 

How to manage the new customs rules

  • Make your declarations digital
  • Turn to digital trader services
  • Customs imedediary service

KlearNow Takes Care Of The Entire Process
To help alleviate the pressure from the changes in customs, contact KlearNow. We’re here to offer importers, freight forwarders and customs brokers with the first customs clearance and document management platform that helps you to save both time and money. You could reduce time to clear by 80% and save 30%-50% per customs clearance transaction. Not only that, but you can see everything in real-time, enjoy hassle-free documents and searchable data, eliminate fees and costly mistakes too! 

By fusing together AI with a cloud-based platform you can now do more business at a fraction of the price and all with full transparency of real-time data. For more information and for assistance with the changes in EU-GB customs rules, talk to our friendly team today.