Guidance

Check if you can declare goods you bring into Northern Ireland not ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU

Find out if goods you bring into Northern Ireland are not ‘at risk’ of moving to the EU such that EU tariff will not be due on those goods.

You’ll need to make declarations and may need to pay any tariffs due when bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or other countries outside of the EU. Whether you have to pay a duty, and how much that duty is, will depend on where you’re bringing the goods from and if they’re ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU.

The Trader Support Service is a free service that can complete declarations on your behalf. If you do not have experience in customs or would like to find out more information, you can sign up for the Trader Support Service to support you with this process.

Before considering if you can declare your goods not ‘at risk’, you may want to consider other relevant options for achieving the right tariff outcome, including delaying duty payment.

You could consider if you:

  • are eligible for a waiver, subject to de-minimis State Aid limits, on the goods you move into Northern Ireland from Great Britain - this may be an easier option if you do not move significant volumes of goods into Northern Ireland
  • wish to use existing customs special procedures, such as Customs Warehousing and Inward Processing

Using existing customs special procedures may be of benefit if you’re unable to declare goods not ‘at risk’ when bringing them into Northern Ireland. They could allow you to:

  • store, temporarily use or process your goods
  • repair your goods
  • get partial or full relief from import duty, or in some cases a suspension

Check if you can declare goods you bring into Northern Ireland from Great Britain not ‘at risk’

There are 2 reasons that goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain can be declared not ‘at risk’. You should consider which of these 2 reasons is most applicable to the goods you are bringing in. Goods can be declared as not ‘at risk’ where:

When goods you bring into Northern Ireland from Great Britain are not ‘at risk’ due to the applicable tariffs

Goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain are not ‘at risk’ if the applicable EU tariff is zero, such as when the goods meet UK Rules of Origin requirements under the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement. You will need to state that these requirements are met on your declaration.

Where this is the case you do not need to seek authorisation under the UK Trader Scheme and you may complete your declaration as normal.

Declaring goods into free circulation in Great Britain on its own does not make the good of UK origin.

Find out more information about:

To work out what the applicable EU tariff would be, you need to take account of the customs duty and any other applicable measures that apply to your goods, such as:

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

Where the applicable EU tariff is above zero, goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain can still be declared not ‘at risk’ when they meet ‘final use’ criteria, meaning they are for sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in the UK.

To declare these goods as not ‘at risk’, you’ll need to be authorised under the UK Trader Scheme. Goods brought into Northern Ireland from Great Britain by a trader authorised under the UK Trader Scheme do not need to meet rules of origin requirements.

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 the United Kingdom. You’ll need to keep evidence to demonstrate this.

Some examples include:

  • selling the good in a shop in Northern Ireland (or in England, Scotland or Wales)
  • buying stationery for use in Northern Ireland (or in England, Scotland or Wales)
  • a farmer buying a tractor for their own use in Northern Ireland (or in England, Scotland or Wales)

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

Check if you can declare goods you bring into Northern Ireland directly from a country outside of the EU and the UK as not ‘at risk’

There are 2 reasons that goods brought into Northern Ireland directly from a country outside of the EU and the UK can be declared not ‘at risk’. You should consider which of these reasons is most applicable to the goods you are bringing in.

The reasons are:

  • the applicable UK tariff is equal to or higher than the applicable EU tariff
  • the goods are for sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in Northern Ireland and are brought into Northern Ireland by a trader authorised under the UK Trader Scheme

If the applicable EU tariff is higher than the applicable UK tariff and the difference is equal to or greater than 3 percentage points, then you may not declare these goods not ‘at risk’. These goods are ‘at risk’ and the EU tariff will apply.

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

When goods you bring into Northern Ireland from countries outside of both the EU and Great Britain are not ‘at risk’ due to the applicable tariffs

Goods brought into Northern Ireland directly from countries outside of the EU and the UK are not ‘at risk’ where the applicable UK tariff is equal to or higher than the applicable EU tariff. You can declare these goods not ‘at risk’ even if you are not authorised under the UK Trader Scheme.

To work out what the applicable UK tariff and EU tariff would be, you need to take account of the customs duty and any other applicable measures that apply to your goods, including preferential rates.

To calculate the applicable tariffs to decide if a good is ‘at risk’ or not ‘at risk’, if the good meets rule of origin requirements then the preferential rates under EU and UK free trade agreements with the country of origin should be used to make the calculation.

You can claim an EU preferential rate under an agreement if:

  • you’re bringing goods into Northern Ireland from a country that has a free trade agreement with the EU
  • you meet the rules of origin requirements
  • your goods are ‘at risk’ and you’re either:
    • bringing them into Northern Ireland directly
    • treating them as direct imports, by keeping them under customs control in Great Britain

If your goods are not ‘at risk’ and you are bringing them in from a country that has a free trade agreement with the UK then you can claim a preferential rate if you meet the rules of origin requirements.

Other applicable measures that may apply to your goods include:

When goods you bring into Northern Ireland from countries outside of both the EU and Great Britain can be declared not ‘at risk’ under the UK Trader Scheme

Where the applicable EU tariff is higher than the UK tariff, goods brought in to Northern Ireland directly from countries outside of the EU and the UK can still be declared not ‘at risk’ where all of the following are true:

  • the difference between the applicable EU tariff and the applicable UK tariff is less than 3 percentage points
  • the goods meet ‘final use’ criteria, meaning they are for sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in Northern Ireland
  • you’re authorised under the UK Trader Scheme and hold sufficient evidence to declare your goods not ‘at risk’

If you declare goods not ‘at risk’ under the UK Trader Scheme, you must be satisfied that these goods entered Northern Ireland for the purpose of sale to, or final use by, end consumers located in Northern Ireland, and that you’ll have the evidence to demonstrate this.

Examples include:

  • selling a good in a shop in Northern Ireland
  • a business buying stationery for use in Northern Ireland
  • a farmer buying a tractor for their own use in Northern Ireland

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

Additional requirements for when you bring goods into Northern Ireland for processing

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

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

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.

Meet the turnover criteria

If you’re bringing goods into Northern Ireland for processing and your turnover is below £500,000, you can apply through the UK Trader Scheme to be able to declare goods as ‘not at risk’ in line with the treatment of other goods.

If you’re a newly established business, you’ll need to provide records approved by the directors, partners or sole proprietor, to enable an assessment of anticipated turnover.

Example include:

  • latest cash flow
  • balance sheet
  • profit and loss forecasts.

Process goods within an Approved Processing Sector

You can also apply to the UK Trader Scheme for authorisation to be able to declare goods for processing as not ‘at risk’ if you intend to bring those goods into Northern Ireland for the sole purpose of:

  • 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
  • direct provision to the recipient of health or care services by the importer in Northern Ireland
  • not for profit activities in Northern Ireland, where there is no subsequent sale of the processed good by the importer
  • the final use of animal feed on premises located in Northern Ireland by the importer

When a good is ‘at risk’

Where you’re not able to move goods under the UK Trader Scheme, and the applicable EU tariffs are higher than the applicable UK tariffs (which are zero in the case of movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland), then the EU tariff will apply.

In those circumstances you may want to consider other options which, where relevant, will mean the tariff does not need to be paid, or where delaying duty payment may be of benefit:

  • you may be eligible for a waiver subject to de-minimis State Aid limits, on the goods you move into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. This may be an easier route for some traders
  • you may wish to use existing customs special procedures such as Customs Warehousing and Inward Processing which allow you to store, temporarily use, process or repair your goods and get partial or full relief from import duty, or in some cases suspension - these may be of benefit if you’re unable to declare goods not ‘at risk’ when bringing them into Northern Ireland

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

You need to make declarations when bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or other countries outside of the EU. You should first check what declarations need to be made when you are bringing goods into Northern Ireland.

You do not need to complete these declarations yourself, you can sign up for the free Trader Support Service or get a specialist to complete declarations for you by using an intermediary or enabled software provider.

If you do use a specialist, you’ll need to make them aware that the goods you intend to bring into Northern Ireland are not ‘at risk’. You’ll need to confirm whether you are authorised for the UK Trader Scheme, or you may be liable to pay the EU customs duty.

If you’re completing the declaration yourself, you’ll need to use the Additional Information code ‘NIREM’ in Data Element 2/2 of your import declaration, in the Customs Declaration Service. Find out how to declare your goods not ‘at risk’.

Check how to make a customs declaration 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 out more about making a declaration into Northern Ireland on CHIEF.

In due course, all declarations in to and out of Northern Ireland will need to be made using the CDS. Using the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system for Northern Ireland declarations will be reviewed by HMRC and you will be told when to stop using it.

Published 14 December 2020
Last updated 16 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. First published.