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Importing goods from the EU – what’s changed?

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New rules on importing goods from the EU were introduced in January 2022. Make sure you’re clear on what you need to do with this guide.

Since 1 January 2022, there have been new rules for businesses that move goods from the EU to Great Britain have to abide by. The rules for UK businesses that sell goods in the EU also changed.

As an interior designer, this may impact your practice, so we’re publishing a guide to the rules along with links to pages that will give you more details so you can be sure about what’s changed.

Customs declarations

Since 1 January 2022, it has been necessary to complete customs declarations on imports from the EU to Great Britain at the time you or your courier/freight forwarder bring them into Great Britain. This means you can no longer delay making import customs declarations.

From 1 January 2021, businesses had been able to delay import declarations for a maximum of 175 days from when the goods arrived in the country. Now, full declarations must be made at the time of importing and cannot be delayed.

Visit import goods into the UK: step by step and use the guide to make sure you are following the new customs declaration rules. The guide provides information on how to bring goods into the UK from any country, including how much tax and duty you need to pay and whether you need to get a licence or certificate.

You can also apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations for imports, which allows you to move goods into a customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration. It can take up to 60 calendar days to complete the checks needed. Work backward from when you want to move your goods to check if this is an option for you. Find out more about how to apply for a simplified declaration.

Alternatively, you may have chosen someone to deal with import and export declarations on your behalf, such as a customs agent, courier, or a freight forwarder. Find information on getting someone to deal with customs for you.

Note that the new rules do not apply to imports from the EU into Northern Ireland.

Be aware, too, that customs declarations for goods moving from Ireland to Great Britain can still be delayed for up to 175 days as before.

Rules of origin

If you sell goods to the EU or buy goods from the EU and bring them into the UK, you now need to be able to prove that they meet the rules of origin in order to use preferential tariffs.

To benefit from the preferential tariffs, you must have proof that:

  • goods you import into the UK from the EU originate there
  • goods you export to the EU originate in the UK

If you cannot prove the origin of your product, 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.

Find further information on rules of origin for goods moving between the UK and EU.

For practical support with exporting your products, contact the export support service.

If you’re moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, rules of origin work differently. Contact the trader support service for up-to-date guidance and support.

Pre-notifying imports

There are now new requirements for importing some sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods, such as plants, to Great Britain from the EU. These changes came into effect on 1 January 2022.

You now need to pre-notify when importing animal by-products and regulated plants and plant products from the EU to Great Britain.

You (or a representative acting on your behalf) importing these goods from the EU may now need to pre-notify authorities that their consignment will be entering Great Britain. You can do this on the relevant IT system.

Find out more: importing animal by-products; importing plants.

Register for the relevant IT systems for animal by-products and plant products to ensure your business can meet pre-notification requirements.

All current controls, including pre-notification, for products of animal origin under safeguard measures, live animals and high-priority plants and plant products remain unchanged.

The new rules do not apply to imports of these products from the EU into Northern Ireland.

Check what you need to do

Import goods into the UK: step by step will explain what you need to do. You can also contact the export support service, a helpline and online service where all UK businesses can get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe.