If you’re using a preference from a preference agreement or the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, you will need to prove the origin of your goods.
If you’re importing or exporting goods with a country that has a preferential arrangement, the goods are likely to have a reduced or nil rate of duty based on the origin of those goods.
Unless the agreement says you do not need a proof of origin, you’ll need to:
- prove to HMRC that you can claim preference for goods you are importing
- give the person receiving your goods evidence of the origin so they can claim preference
Check which type of proof you need
The type of proof needed depends on the type of goods and where they’re being imported from, or exported to.
- EUR1 or EUR-MED movement certificate
- origin declaration
- importers knowledge
- Generalised Scheme of Preferences form A
The length of time a proof of origin will be valid for depends on the agreement and the type of proof.
You need to note your proof of origin on your declaration into free circulation (and a custom special procedure if you use one). If you use customs warehousing the subsequent release to free circulation must be within 2 years to claim preference.
If HMRC conduct a verification you will need supporting evidence that you were correct when making out a proof of origin. This evidence could be production records, invoices, accounting details and suppliers’ declarations.
EUR1 or EUR-MED movement certificate
To get a hard copy movement certificate you can contact either your local:
- Chambers of Commerce
- office of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers
They may charge you a fee for this service.
Due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), HMRC is unable to issue original hard copy movement certificates. But during this time, you can complete the appropriate online form instead:
- movement of goods to and from Turkey – A.TR (C1232)
- claim preferential duty rates on goods exported to countries that have a preferential trading agreement with the EU – EUR1 (C1299)
- record preferential trade in goods between the UK and participating countries – EUR-MED (C1300)
Once completed, attach and send the form as an email to NCH.Movements.Digital@hmrc.gov.uk, putting in the subject line one of the following:
- ‘EUR1 endorsement’
- ‘A.TR endorsement’
- ‘EUR-MED endorsement’
You must include your company’s email address on the form.
HMRC will check and verify your application and send it back to your company’s email address within 48 hours.
If your customer cannot accept a PDF copy and no other easements are being put in place by the customs authority in the country of destination, your customer may ask you to get a retrospective movement certificate. These will only be issued on request.
Once restrictions are lifted, your customer may ask you to send an original certificate. HMRC will issue an original, by exception, however you must give evidence that the customs authority in the country of destination has specifically asked for it. You will need to email your request and evidence to: NCH.Movements.Digital@hmrc.gov.uk.
You can ask for EUR1 or EUR-MED form retrospectively if the certificate was:
- not issued at the time of exportation due to an error, oversight or special circumstance (such as a preferential rate of duty becoming available for the products from a retrospective date)
- issued at the time of exportation, but could not be accepted at the time of importation for technical reasons (for example, it did not contain all necessary information)
If the certificate is lost, destroyed or stolen
You can ask for a duplicate of the certificate. When you present a duplicate certificate to us you must declare in writing that you do not have the original but will surrender it immediately to us if it becomes available later.
Certificates pre-printed ‘duplicate’ or ‘copy’ are sometimes issued at the same time as the original. You cannot use these to replace an original certificate.
If you need to split a consignment
You need to get a certificate for each part of the consignment you’ve split. This is known as a ‘replacement’ certificate.
They replace all or part of the original certificate which will be retained in the country of transhipment.
You can make an origin declaration (also known as an ‘invoice declaration’ or ‘statement on origin’) by using a commercial document that has enough detail to identify the origin of the goods. This includes:
- an invoice
- packing list
- delivery note
If your commercial document does not have enough space to include all the information you can include it on a separate headed continuation paper. The commercial document must clearly identify this. A letter headed paper on its own is not an acceptable commercial document.
Any origin declaration must be presented within 2 years of your goods being imported.
You should check how long an origin declaration will remain valid in the preference agreement.
If the preference agreement says you must be an ‘approved exporter’
Depending on the preference agreement, you may only be able to use an origin declaration for consignments over £5,700 if you have applied and received approved exporter status.
You will not need to present this origin declaration for authentication before exporting to:
- a Chamber of Commerce office
- Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers office
To apply, you must prove to HMRC that:
- you export or intend to export on a regular basis
- the goods to be exported satisfy the relevant origin rules to qualify for the issue of preference documents
- you will correctly complete the documents and take proper care of them
If you’re an approved exporter, you can complete an origin declaration without a signature if you confirm in writing that you accept full responsibility for the declaration. You must have been given approval by HMRC (known as a ‘signature waiver’) to do this as part of getting approved exporter status.
If you do not have a signature waiver approval from HMRC, you must sign your origin declaration.
If the preference agreement does not mention ‘approved exporter’
You can make out an origin declaration for consignments of any value, but you must include your EORI number in the origin declaration.
In some agreements, as an importer, you can claim preference using knowledge you’ve obtained about the origin of the goods. This is known as ‘importer’s knowledge’. This can be used as an alternative to an origin declaration.
You will need to hold supporting documents or records which should cover:
- the commodity code
- a brief description of the production process (including the origin of the goods used)
- if the origin was based on ‘wholly obtained’ – give category for the goods
- if the origin was based on ‘sufficiently worked or processed’ give one of the following:
- the value of the product as well as the value of all the non-originating or, as appropriate to establish compliance with the value requirement, originating materials used in the production
- the weight of the product as well as the weight of the relevant non-originating or, as appropriate to establish compliance with the weight requirement, originating materials used in the product
- a list of all the non-originating materials including their commodity code (in two-, four- or six-digit format depending on the origin criteria)
- whether the goods have been altered or transformed
- if asked by HMRC, any additional information that will help verify the origin of the goods
If you or person receiving your goods cannot give this information for commercial reasons you should use an origin declaration.
Generalised Scheme of Preferences form A
Generalised Scheme of Preferences form A is only used for goods being imported from countries covered by the UK Generalised Scheme of Preferences.
Suppliers’ declarations are where your UK supplier provides you with information needed to prove the origin of your goods for preferential trade between the UK and other countries.
Discrepancies and errors
Slight discrepancies between the statements made in an origin declaration and those made in documents submitted to the customs office when importing the goods, shall not in themselves make the origin declaration null and void if it is established that it does correspond to the goods submitted.
Obvious errors on an origin declaration shall not cause it to be rejected if the errors are such that they do not create doubts about the correctness of the statements made.