The Government has announced new border controls that will come into effect next year following the end of the transition period out of the European Union. It says that in recognition of the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, the UK will introduce the new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021.

  • From January 2021: Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs requirements, such as keeping sufficient records of imported goods, and will have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tariffs will need to be paid on all imports, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. There will be checks on controlled goods like alcohol and tobacco. Businesses will also need to consider how they account for VAT on imported goods. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination on all high risk live animals and a proportion of low-risk live animals.
  • From April 2021: All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, pet food, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation.
  • From July 2021: Traders moving all goods will have to make declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples: checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.

To support businesses with the new processes taking effect next year, the UK Government has developed a new £50 million package to boost the capacity of customs intermediaries – including customs brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators – providing businesses with further support. Additionally, the UK Government will be building new border facilities in Great Britain for carrying out required checks, such as customs compliance, transit, and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks, as well as providing targeted support to ports to build new infrastructure.

If you import fish or plants you need to read the following because you will no longer have access to TRACES:

Importing animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin from a non-EU country, from 1 January 2021

What businesses need to do to import animals, animal products, high-risk food and feed into the UK from 1 January 2021. Find out more here.

Importing and exporting plants and plant products from 1 January 2021

How to trade in plants and plant products, including trees, inside and outside the EU from 1 January 2021. Find out more here.

Importing CITES species

If you import CITES species you will also only be able to bring them in through certain land, sea and air ports from 1st January 2021. Make sure you know which ones here.