The below has been issued by the Business Readiness Forum, part of Defra’s Biosecurity, Borders & Trade Programme, to help businesses experiencing issues importing goods from the EU.

Workaround solutions for IPAFFS to keep you moving

Question: If you encounter any difficulties and you or your customs agents are unable to generate an IPAFFS or PEACH reference number, what can I do?

Answer: You can enter the document status code XW (waiver) into box 44 on your CHIEF customs declaration, in line with the guidance below:

  • For products subject to Horticulture Marketing Standards – declare doc code N002; status code: XW; licence reference: GBCON; Reason text: ‘EU import’
  • For plants and plant products regulated for plant health purposes – declare doc code N851; status code: XW; licence reference: GBPHC; Reason text: ‘EU import’
  • For live animal imports – declare doc code C640; status code XW; licence reference GBCVD; Reason text: ‘EU import’
  • For high risk food not of animal origin – declare doc code N852; status code XW; licence reference GBCED; Reason text: ‘EU import’
  • For Products of Animal Origin – declare doc code N853; status code XW; licence reference GBCVD; Reason text: ‘EU import’
  • For IUU caught fish – declare doc code C673; status code XW; licence reference GBIUU; Reason text: ‘EU import’

Question: What if I get an error message that says “no licence required”?
Answer: Complete your pre-notification but leave box 44 blank in your customs declaration.

Question: On IPAFFS the system is asking for a phytosanitary certificate to be uploaded that isn’t required until 1 July?
Answer: If you can encounter this, simply upload a blank Phytosanitary certificate

Question: When will CHIEF start recognising IPAFFS codes for notifications? Can we get an email sent out? Till then, I submit pre-notifications as I don’t see any benefit behind it? Plus, it is causing double work with the upload to CHIEF?
Answer: You must still pre-notify however leave Box 44 blank if it is not recognising the IPAFFS code. This is a known issue affecting a very small number of traders. Defra expect it to be fixed over the next few weeks.

Question: Is there any way we can check on the status of ports which should be GVMS that are currently not? We have a lot of confused hauliers trying to create GMRs when they are not necessary.
Answer: The list of ports using GVMS can be found here:

Question: Similar characters in GMR numbers I and 1, 0 and O. Can these be removed for accurate entry?
Answer: This issue has been escalated to the HMRC GVMS IT team for review. HMRC will provide further information in due course.

Resolving common issues when using the Goods Vehicle Movement Service

From 1 January 2022, anyone moving goods between Great Britain (GB) and the European Union (EU) through a Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) border location must be registered to use this service. Current arrangements will continue to apply to goods moving from the island of Ireland to GB, while discussions on the Northern Ireland Protocol are continuing.

HMRC are aware of some common issues occurring when customers are creating Goods Movement References (GMRs) into GVMS, which are causing them delays at the border.
To help avoid these issues you must:

  • Get a GMR for all movements, including empties.
  • Ensure you’re entering the correct type of declaration reference for your movement. Entry Reference Number (ERN) for imports via CHIEF or Movement Reference Number (MRN) for imports via the Customs Declaration Service (CDS). Declaration Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR) for exports via CHIEF or CDS. Check which references should be entered in a GMR on GOV.UK – Get a goods movement reference.
  • Not use the trailer references when entering your Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) into the GMR for an accompanied movement, as this means the carrier will be unable to validate your GMR. The VRN must match the vehicle presenting the GMR.
  • Not add EU export Movement Reference Numbers (MRN) into the GMR.

If you do not fulfil these requirements, your GMR will be invalid, and you will not be allowed to board the vessel.

The person making the customs declarations for the goods you’re moving should:

  • Use the dual location code for all exports declarations from GB to EU, when the goods will be moved through the border locations of Dover and Eurotunnel. This gives you flexibility on your route. Check the location codes for roll on roll off border locations for use in CDS or CHIEF.
  • Ensure that ‘RRS01’ is entered in the customs declaration in box 44 for CHIEF or Data Element 2/2 for the CDS, if you will be moving the goods through a GVMS border location. If this is not done, GVMS will not be able to validate it on the submitted GMR. For more details, please refer to the recently published Customs Information Paper.

You should check the status of declarations included in a GMR before you reach the GB port, to see if the goods are held and require customs checks. If you’re arriving into the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, you’ll need to attend an inland border facility to have these checks carried out. For all other GVMS border locations, you must go to the inspection facility within or near the port if your goods are held.

Register for GVMS and find out how to move goods through border locations that use the service.

Workaround solutions for plant imports

An error has been identified with the reference data for a relatively small number of data lines feeding IPAFFS. The effect is that some plant produce, which require pre-notification from 1 Jan ’22, are being routed through IPAFFS as if they were ‘high-priority’ plants, and so the system is asking for a Phytosanitary Certificate to be uploaded, when this isn’t required until 1 July ‘22.

An interim workaround is in place which is proving effective and mitigating any trade disruption. This consists of traders uploading a blank dummy document in lieu of a completed phytosanitary certificate, and APHA have stood up a process to monitor and manually clear any impacted notifications.

Defra policy and APHA have completed a line-by-line review of the 10,000 lines of reference data and identified 106 errors. The corrected reference data will be issued and tested through the appropriate test environments before being released to the live production service within the next 2 weeks.

There have been very few enquiries to the service desk and the issue hasn’t been raised by any stakeholder groups, so impact has been low. We continue to monitor the situation closely as trade volumes increase.

The impact to date has been minimal. There have been very few enquiries to the service desk and the issue hasn’t been raised by any stakeholder groups. We continue to monitor the situation closely as trade volumes increase.