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Border Operating Model

The latest UK government release explained.

On Monday, 13th July, the UK government released additional details around the new post-Brexit operating model in place from 1st January 2021 when the UK will operate a full, external border as a sovereign nation.

The 206-page document contained information relating to the UK government's ‘CORE MODEL’, which we covered in our Brexit update last week.

Furthermore, it outlined its ‘Additional Requirements’ which affect only specific goods movements (e.g. foodstuffs, medicine, waste, firearms, plants). These will require special certifications to enter the country via specific locations and will undergo additional checks at the border. Some of these requirements will occur before the core import and export processes, and some will occur after.

If you wish to transport any of the affected goods listed here, please get in touch with our specialist team here.

We've summarised the government's import and export guidance as follows:


Importing Process - Overview

This is a simple overview of the core Stage 1 import process - we will update this as further details emerge.

The government has also put together a step by step guide to importing from 1st January 2021, which you can find here. 

If you are exporting from the UK, you will need:

  • An Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.
  • To know your Commodity Code - check HERE or email HMRC here

The exit summary and export customs declarations described by the UK government will be handled by us on behalf of you.

From January 2021 to the end of June 2021 for goods moving via locations without existing customs control systems, including RoRo listed locations and other non-inventory linked locations, an arrived declaration must be submitted before the goods have left the trader’s premises. 

From July 2021, only goods moving via specified locations can submit an arrived declaration. After the declaration is submitted the declarant will receive ‘Permission to Progress’ (P2P) or a specific routing in order to be checked.

From January 2021, we will need to carry evidence that a declaration has been made. 

The UK government has also put together a step by step guide to exporting goods from 1st January 2021, which you can find here. 


From the end of the transition period onwards, we will need to have all relevant customs or transit declarations and any other commodity-specific approvals such as Export Health Certificates on us when transporting your goods from the UK to the EU states, otherwise we may be fined and sent back to the UK.

Your support in ensuring we have all the correct documentation will be vital, so please follow the below action points.

No matter what further negotiations between the UK and EU bring, please be reminded that ALL traders will need to take the below action ahead of 1st January 2021:

-> Apply for a GB EORI number

It takes about 5min to apply, a week to turn around and is required for all businesses moving goods into or out of GB, including those deferring their import declarations. Apply here. 

-> Get a Customs Intermediary

Customs declarations are complicated and can cause costly mistakes. The majority of businesses that currently trade outside the EU use an intermediary, such as customs agents, Fast Parcel Operators (FPOs), Freight Forwarders (FFs) or brokers to help them meet requirements.

If businesses decide not to use an intermediary, they will need to make declarations themselves. To do this, they will need to get access to HMRC systems and to purchase software.

If you still need a customs intermediary, get in touch HERE.

->  Apply for a Duty Deferment Account

Traders who import goods regularly may benefit from having a duty deferment account (DDA). This enables customs charges including customs duty, excise duty, and import VAT to be paid once a month through Direct Debit instead of being paid on individual consignments. To set up a DDA, traders, or their representatives, apply for a deferment account number (DAN) and will need to be authorised by HMRC.

Remember – The UK are introducing a temporary import tariff once we leave the EU, with many products receiving duty free status. You can check the rates on your goods HERE

-> Prepare to Pay or Account for VAT on Imported Goods

VAT registered traders will be able to account for import VAT on their VAT return by using postponed VAT accounting from 1 January 2021. Unless they are eligible to defer their supplementary declarations, they will not be compelled to use postponed VAT accounting.

-> Know the Commodity Code(s) for your goods

Check HERE or email HMRC here

Please bookmark our dedicated news page explaining all Brexit regulations - this will be udpated as soon as additional details are released.

If you have questions or would like support in preparing for the required processes and declarations needed, please contact our dedicated team here

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