Apply for a Binding Origin Information decision

If you import into or export from Northern Ireland you can get a decision on the origin of your goods.

Applies to Northern Ireland

If you need to get proof of origin because your goods meet the rules of origin, a Binding Origin Information (BOI) decision can offer some advantages:

  • it is legally binding on the UK, so you will have legal protection against any UK customs authority challenging the country of origin of the product, provided the production arrangements remain unchanged in so far as they relate to the origin rules
  • it can be helpful where an origin rule is difficult to interpret or where the circumstances of manufacture of a product make application of a rule difficult
  • if a change in UK law makes a BOI invalid, you may be able to continue using it for up to 6 months provided you can show that the goods are subject to a binding commercial contract

You must be able to prove, if asked, that the goods declared are identical in all respects to the goods detailed in the BOI, including the circumstances of their production as they affect origin. If you cannot prove this the BOI will have no legal effect.

If you have a BOI decision you will still need to provide a proof of origin on importation and exportation.

The decision is valid for 3 years from the date of issue.

Who can apply

To apply, you must:

  • have an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number that starts XI
  • be intending to import into or export from Northern Ireland
  • be established in Northern Ireland and intend to import into or export from any EU country

If you need a decision on goods imported into or exported from Great Britain you should ask for an Advance Origin Ruling.

HMRC will consult the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) about applications for non-preferential decisions.

An application for a BOI should only be made in respect of an actual import or export transaction. As long as you have a valid interest in the origin of goods to be imported or exported you can apply for a BOI. However if you nominate an individual as the holder, that individual is the only person who is able to use the BOI.

We do not charge for a BOI decision, but you may have to pay any costs we incur in analysing samples, taking expert advice or returning samples to you.

You cannot use a BOI decision for goods that have already been imported or exported.

How to apply

To apply for a BOI or if you have previously sent an application by post and have not yet had a decision, complete the application form online and email it to

HMRC will reply to the email address on the BOI application, however you will need to confirm you are happy to receive a reply by email and accept the risks associated with electronic communication.

You have to make a separate application for each BOI you want, because each application only covers one product, but it will cover subsequent consignments of identical goods.

What happens after you’ve applied

We aim to issue BOI decisions within 120 days from the date when the application was accepted.

We consider an application to be accepted when we have all the necessary information to allow us to issue the decision.

If your application is approved and a ruling is made, HMRC will send a legal document informing you of:

  • the origin of your goods
  • the date the decision applies from
  • the name and address of the person who holds the information — this is the person legally entitled to use it (decisions are non-transferable)
  • an explanation as to how the decision is legally justified

Changing a decision

A decision can be changed if:

  • you provided inaccurate or incomplete information
  • there are subsequent changes making the decision incompatible with UK law — however the decision may remain valid for up to 6 months if you can show that the goods are subject to a binding commercial contract

Refusal to issue a decision

We can refuse to issue a decision if we do not think that the import or export will actually take place, or if you have not provided enough information for us to issue a decision.

Appealing against a decision

If you do not agree with a decision you can either request a review by HMRC or appeal straight to the tax tribunal.

Getting information about non-preferential origin rules

You can get information about non-preferential origin rules from your local Chamber of Commerce or the:

Department for Business and Trade
Old Admiralty Building
Admiralty Place
United Kingdom

You can also send an email to:

Published 17 February 2016
Last updated 6 April 2023 + show all updates
  1. Department for International Trade (DIT) has now changed to the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).

  2. The information about what happens after you’ve applied has been updated.

  3. First published.