Guidance

Register for simplified import procedures if the UK leaves the EU without a deal

Find out if you can register to use transitional simplified procedures to import goods from the EU into the UK.

Overview

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, on 31 October 2019, many UK businesses will need to apply the same procedures to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world.

HMRC has put in place transitional simplified procedures to make it easier for you to import goods from the EU. We’ll review them 3 to 6 months after they’re introduced.

This guidance does not apply to moving goods between Ireland and Northern Ireland. Sign up for EU Exit email alerts to find out when new guidance about this is published.

What transitional simplified procedures are

Under import processes for trading with the rest of the world, goods are not released from customs control until you make a full import declaration and pay the duty you owe in full.

But transitional simplified procedures reduce the amount of information you need to give in an import declaration when the goods are crossing the border. They do this by allowing you to defer:

  • submitting a full declaration
  • paying any duty

If you’re not VAT-registered or if you have excise or customs duties to pay, you must have a duty deferment account to import goods using transitional simplified procedures.

Check what the tariffs will be to see whether you’ll need to pay customs duties on your goods.

If you already trade outside of the EU

If you already trade outside the EU and you have a customs agent or software, you’ll be able to use these to make declarations for your EU-UK trade. You can, but do not need to register for transitional simplified procedures, but should speak to your software provider or customs agent about the additional customs formalities you’ll have to comply with after EU exit.

Controlled goods

For transitional simplified procedures, controlled goods are some goods that you must have a licence to import, or excise goods like alcohol or tobacco.

If you’re importing controlled goods from the EU using transitional simplified procedures, you’ll need to use the controlled goods procedure.

If you’re importing goods that are not controlled as well as goods that are controlled, you can choose to use the same (controlled goods) procedure for both.

Standard goods

If you’re importing goods that are not on the transitional simplified procedures controlled goods list, you’ll need to use the standard goods procedure.

How to register

Register for transitional simplified procedures online.

To register you must:

  • have a UK EORI number (an EORI number that starts with GB)
  • be established in the UK, this means:
    • you’re a sole trader who is resident in the UK
    • your company or partnership has a registered office in the UK
    • your company or partnership has a permanent place of business in the UK where they carry out their business activities
  • be importing goods from the EU into the UK (including goods travelling through the EU from the rest of the world providing they’ve cleared EU customs formalities)

Your agent cannot register for transitional simplified procedures for you, you must do this yourself. Once you’ve registered, your agent will be able to submit customs declarations on your behalf using transitional simplified procedures.

What you’ll need

To register you’ll need your:

  • UK EORI number (an EORI number that starts with GB) to trade with the EU
  • VAT registration number (if you have one)
  • business name and UK address
  • contact details

Who cannot register

You cannot register to use transitional simplified procedures if:

  • the only goods you import are coming into the UK directly from outside the EU
  • you choose to use a customs special procedure for your goods
  • you’re acting on behalf of a trader (for example you’re a freight forwarder)
  • our records show that in the past you have had overdue tax returns, have not paid tax or duties due or your business is insolvent

If you’re a customs intermediary, you cannot register on behalf of a trader, but you can make declarations directly for a trader who’s registered for transitional simplified procedures.

If HMRC withdraws these procedures

If we decide to withdraw these procedures we’ll give you a 12 month notice period. This will give you enough time to prepare your business to follow the import processes you’ll need for trading with the rest of the world.

If this happens, you may choose to:

  • use a third party (for example freight forwarder or customs broker) to complete declarations for you
  • become authorised to use customs freight simplified procedures
  • complete full declarations yourself
Published 4 February 2019
  1. Step 1 Get a UK EORI number for your business

    Your business will already have a UK Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number if you’ve traded with countries outside the EU. UK EORI numbers start with GB.

    1. Get a UK EORI number
  2. Step 2 Decide who will make the customs declarations

    Contact the organisation that brings your goods into the country to find out if they can make customs declarations for your goods.

    If they cannot, you can either hire an agent to make the declarations, or make the declarations yourself.

    1. Find out how to make customs declarations yourself
    2. Apply for funding if you decide to make declarations yourself
    3. Find out how to make customs declarations for goods in baggage or a small vehicle
  3. Step 3 Apply to make importing easier

  4. Step 4 Find out what you'll have to pay to import your goods

  5. Step 5 Check what you need to do for the type of goods you import

    Depending on what you're importing, there might be other things you'll need to do to get your business ready. For example, you might need to change the labelling on the packaging for your goods, or apply for licences.

    1. Check what you need to do for the type of goods you import