Guidance

Declaring goods you bring into Northern Ireland 'not at risk’ of moving to the EU

Find out if goods you bring into Northern Ireland can be declared 'not at risk’ of moving to the EU and how to make a 'not at risk’ declaration.

If you are a business who brings goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland) or a country outside of both the EU and UK, you will need to submit declarations for those goods. If you do not have experience in customs or would like to find more information, you can sign up for the Trader Support Service to support you with this process.

There may be duties due depending on the origin of the goods and whether they are ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU.

Find out more about your duty options if you are a business who brings goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, or from a country outside of both the EU and the UK.

‘At risk’ goods will be charged the applicable EU duty. ‘Not at risk’ goods will be charged:

  • no duty if entering Northern Ireland from free circulation in Great Britain
  • UK duty if entering Northern Ireland from outside of both the EU and the UK
  • UK duty if entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain and the good was not in free circulation in Great Britain

Whether goods are ‘at risk’ or ‘not at risk’ is determined by the applicable duties and trader certainty of the final destination of the good.

When you cannot declare goods ‘not at risk’

There are some goods which cannot be declared ‘not at risk’. These goods will be automatically ‘at risk’ and the EU duty will be payable.

Goods which are subject to commercial processing, where the additional requirements to declare these goods ‘not at risk’ are not met, cannot be declared ‘not at risk’, and are therefore automatically ‘at risk’.

Goods which enter Northern Ireland from countries outside of both the EU and UK, where the applicable EU duty is greater than the applicable UK duty by 3 percentage points or more, cannot be declared ‘not at risk’ and are therefore automatically ‘at risk’.

When you can declare goods ‘not at risk’

If goods you bring into Northern Ireland are not automatically ‘at risk’, they can be declared ‘not at risk’ when they are either:

When goods you bring into Northern Ireland are ‘not at risk’ due to the applicable duties

Goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain are ‘not at risk’ if the applicable EU duty is zero. This is unless the goods are subject to processing and you do not meet the additional criteria to declare goods for processing ‘not at risk’.

Goods brought into Northern Ireland from countries outside of both the EU and the UK are ‘not at risk’ where the applicable UK duty is equal to or higher than the applicable EU duty. This is unless the goods are subject to processing and you do not meet the additional criteria to declare goods for processing ‘not at risk’.

To work out what the applicable UK duty and EU duty would be, you need to take account of the customs duty and any other applicable measures that apply to your goods. This includes preferential rates where goods meet rules of origin requirements under relevant Free Trade Agreements.

You do not need to be authorised under the UK Trader Scheme to declare goods ‘not at risk’ based on the applicable duties. Find out how to make a ‘not at risk’ declaration.

When goods you bring into Northern Ireland can be declared ‘not at risk’ under the UK Trader Scheme

Where the applicable EU duties are higher than the applicable UK duties (which are zero in the case of movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland), goods brought into Northern Ireland can still be declared ‘not at risk’ when they are all of the following:

  • for sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in Northern Ireland (and England, Wales and Scotland in the case of movements from Great Britain)
  • declared by a trader authorised under the UK Trader Scheme
  • not subject to an EU trade remedy

Goods brought into Northern Ireland from countries outside of both the EU and UK cannot be declared ‘not at risk’ if the applicable EU duty is greater than the applicable UK duty by 3 percentage points or more.

If the goods you bring into Northern Ireland will be subject to processing, you must meet additional criteria when applying for UK Trader Scheme authorisation before you can declare these goods ‘not at risk’.

In declaring goods ‘not at risk’ under the UK Trader Scheme, you must be satisfied that these goods entered Northern Ireland for the purpose of being sold or used by end consumers located in Northern Ireland (and England, Wales and Scotland in the case of movements from Great Britain). You’ll need to keep evidence to demonstrate this.

Some examples include:

  • selling goods in a shop in Northern Ireland
  • buying stationery for use in Northern Ireland
  • a farmer buying a tractor for their own use in Northern Ireland
  • selling furniture from a wholesale outlet to shops, or to businesses for their own use, in Northern Ireland
  • bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, storing them in a warehouse in Northern Ireland before selling to other parts of the UK

If you’re a wholesaler, your customer must sell or use the good in the appropriate territory according to the declaration you’ve made – for example, you could sell a chair which was declared ‘not at risk’ if it will be used at an office location in Northern Ireland.

If you did not declare your goods ‘not at risk’, and this was a mistake, you may be able to apply for a repayment. If you apply for a repayment, you must provide proof you’re authorised under the UK Trader Scheme. This proof should be the letter or the email you received confirming your authorisation. If you declared your goods ‘not at risk’ by mistake, you should apply for a voluntary clearance amendment (underpayment).

Check the additional requirements for goods subject to processing

If you bring goods into Northern Ireland which will be subject to processing, and wish to declare these goods ‘not at risk’, you will need to meet additional criteria. When applying for UK Trader Scheme authorisation you will need to tell us that either your:

  • annual turnover is less than £500,000
  • goods are for one of the approved purposes

The approved purposes are:

  • food for sale to end consumers in the UK
  • construction — where the processed goods form a permanent part of a structure that is constructed and located in Northern Ireland by the importer
  • directly providing health or care services by the importer in Northern Ireland
  • non-profit activities in Northern Ireland, where there is no subsequent sale of the processed goods by the importer
  • the final use of animal feed on premises located in Northern Ireland by the importer

Once authorised, you’ll then be able to declare your goods for processing as ‘not at risk’ in line with the treatment of other goods.

These additional requirements for declaring goods ‘not at risk’ apply only to goods which will be processed in Northern Ireland.

If you also move goods which are not to be processed, you can still apply for authorisation under the UK Trader Scheme and declare those goods ‘not at risk’ under the usual process, regardless of whether your business meets the processing criteria.

How to declare your goods ‘not at risk’

You do not need to complete these declarations yourself, you can:

How to declare your goods ‘not at risk’ in the Customs Declaration Service

If you are submitting declarations in the Customs Declaration Service, you will need to use the Additional Information code ‘NIREM’ in Data Element 2/2 of your import declaration to declare your goods ‘not at risk’.

If you want to declare a proportion of a single line item ‘not at risk’, you must submit those goods as a separate line item using this Additional Information code. The remaining proportion which is ‘at risk’ must be a separate line item for which no code is necessary.

If you are using a specialist to complete declarations, then you will need to make them aware that the goods you intend to bring into Northern Ireland are ‘not at risk’. You will also need to confirm whether you are authorised for the UK Trader Scheme.

How to declare your goods ‘not at risk’ in CHIEF for goods entering Northern Ireland from outside of the UK and EU

The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) service can still be used for declaring goods entering Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU.

Find more information about how to make a ‘not at risk’ declaration in CHIEF.

In due course, all declarations in to and out of Northern Ireland will need to be made using the Customs Declaration Service. Using the CHIEF system for Northern Ireland declarations will be reviewed by HMRC and you will be told when to stop using it.

Find out what supporting evidence you need to make a ‘not at risk’ declaration

If you are declaring your goods ‘not at risk’ under the UK Trader Scheme, you will need to keep supporting evidence for each consignment you move into Northern Ireland and this evidence will need to be accessible in Northern Ireland for 5 years.

The types of evidence to support a ‘not at risk’ declaration include:

  • commercial receipts and invoices
  • VAT invoices
  • commercial contracts and purchase orders
  • delivery receipts
  • consignment notes
  • proof of installation
  • electronic records
  • proof that goods comply with rules of origin (if you have claimed a preferential rate of duty, you can check what proof you should hold)

You will not need to provide this evidence to HMRC on a routine basis, only when asked to do so.

Published 14 December 2020
Last updated 7 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Information added on how to claim a repayment if you make a mistake using the duty off-set mechanism and pay more excise duty that is needed.

  2. A link to an online tool to check if you need to pay a tariff on goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain has been added.

  3. Guidance about when goods can be declared 'not at risk' has been updated.

  4. Guidance updated for declaring goods not ‘at risk’ in the Customs Declaration Service and making a customs declaration in CHIEF for goods entering Northern Ireland from outside the UK and EU.

  5. Information about making a declaration based on expected outcomes has been added. Further information about rules of origin requirements and preferential rates when bringing goods into Northern Ireland has also been added.

  6. First published.