Guidance

Sending parcels between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Find out what you need to do if you are a business or individual using an express carrier (including Royal Mail Group) to move parcels between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

An express carrier is a company that delivers parcels (express consignments) within a set timeframe, offering a door to door collection and delivery service. It may include:

  • express couriers
  • fast parcel operators
  • freight forwarders
  • Royal Mail Group

Moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland until 31 March 2021

HMRC is adopting a temporary approach to applying declaration requirements for the movement of goods in parcels by express carriers and the Royal Mail Group. This recognises the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, the impacts of any disruption to parcel movements in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and specific challenges for operators moving express consignments.

This guidance sets out the detail of this approach, including that declarations continue to be required from 1 January 2021 for prohibited and restricted goods as well as excise goods.

Controls through the Goods Vehicle Movement Service and inventory systems at ports will remain in place through the period that these arrangements are in force. Similarly, VAT requirements will continue to apply. Further, HMRC is working with express carriers and Royal Mail to monitor the flow of goods from 1 January.

If you’re a customer of an express carrier or Royal Mail Group

Northern Ireland residents receiving goods from Great Britain

If you are a Northern Ireland resident, you can continue to receive goods from Great Britain as you usually do, with no new requirements.

Individuals in Great Britain sending goods to Northern Ireland residents and businesses

You can continue to send goods to Northern Ireland residents in the same way you do at the moment (such as using a Post Office). Similarly, you can continue to send goods to businesses (such as returned goods) as you usually do, with no new requirements.

Northern Ireland businesses receiving goods from a business in Great Britain valued at £135 or more

If you are a Northern Ireland based business receiving goods valued at £135 or more through an express carrier or Royal Mail Group you must submit a declaration with three months of receiving the goods. You will be able to use the free Trader Support Service to do so.

More details on how you will be able to submit this delayed declaration will be issued shortly. In the meantime, you should prepare by registering with the Trader Support Service, registering for an EORI number, and storing an invoice for the goods you received as well as the date that they were received. You should also consider applying to join the UK Trader Scheme to avoid any risk of needing to pay tariffs on these goods.

Northern Ireland businesses receiving goods from a business in Great Britain valued less than £135

If the goods you are receiving in a parcel have a value below £135, then you can continue to order these goods from Great Britain as usual, with no new requirements. A declaration is not needed for these goods.

Businesses in Great Britain sending goods to Northern Ireland residents and businesses

If you are using an express carrier or Royal Mail Group to send excise goods or restricted and prohibited goods, you should inform your express carrier or Royal Mail Group. They will then tell you if they carry the type of goods you want to send and, if they do, they will ask you to provide any additional information that they need so that a declaration can be made. They will then ask you to provide them with any additional information that they need so that a declaration can be made.

If you are sending any other goods you can continue to do so as usual, with no new requirements.

If you are an express carrier

If your express consignment is controlled by the Goods Vehicle Movement Service

For further details on how an express carrier should use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service for goods eligible for these temporary arrangements, the carrier should email: nonfreightparcels@hmrc.gov.uk. Find out more about the Goods Vehicle Movement Service.

If your express consignment is inventory linked

The express carrier should speak to their existing Community System Provider about how to process goods movements eligible for these temporary requirements through the inventory linked systems.

For example, express carriers moving express consignments through Belfast International Airport or Belfast City Airport should speak to CCS-UK about how eligible goods movements can be cleared.

Moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland from 1 April 2021

Further details about how these arrangements will be implemented will be published in due course.

Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

Find out more about moving qualifying goods from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK.

Moving goods between Northern Ireland and the European Union

There are no declaration requirements for goods moved directly between Northern Ireland and the European Union.

Moving goods between Northern Ireland and the Rest of the World

Find out more information about declaration requirements for goods moving into or out of Northern Ireland from anywhere outside of the UK or the EU.

Published 31 December 2020