From 1 January 2021 Northern Ireland businesses will continue to have unfettered access to the whole of the UK market.
Which goods are qualifying Northern Ireland goods
Your goods will be qualifying Northern Ireland goods from 1 January 2021 if they are in free circulation in Northern Ireland – that means not under a customs procedure or in an authorised temporary storage facility – before you move them from Northern Ireland to Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).
This qualifying goods regime forms part of a phased approach to implementation of unfettered access designed to:
ensure maximum continuity after the transition period
We will bring forward a longer-term qualifying regime in the course of 2021, with only businesses established in Northern Ireland benefitting from unfettered access. Detailed guidance on that regime will be published in due course. This guidance will apply until that second phase regime is in place.
Goods processed in Northern Ireland
If your goods were processed in Northern Ireland, they’ll still qualify if all the components were in free circulation in the UK.
Goods that started their journey in the EU
Goods starting their journey in the EU will not qualify for unfettered access if they are moved through Northern Ireland into Great Britain for an avoidance purpose.
For goods that started their journey in the EU and come to Great Britain through Northern Ireland, you should make sure you comply with customs export requirements in your home member state.
If your goods are valued below 3,000 euros you may choose whether to declare these for export in your home member state or to HMRC.
If you move qualifying Northern Ireland goods
If you move qualifying Northern Ireland goods directly from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK there’ll be no changes and no new customs processes for almost all traders, with some very limited exceptions. For example, goods falling within the very limited number of procedures relating to specific international obligations binding on the UK and the EU – such as obligations on the movement of endangered species.
That means, for almost all traders, when your goods leave Northern Ireland for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), there’ll be:
no export declaration
no exit summary declaration
no import declaration on arrival in Great Britain
no customs duties to pay
no VAT to pay at point of arrival
no changes to how your goods arrive at ports in Great Britain
You cannot move goods through Northern Ireland to avoid the UK tariff or import processes. You may receive penalties if you move goods through Northern Ireland for an avoidance purpose.
Moving qualifying Northern Ireland goods through Ireland
If you move qualifying Northern Ireland goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain through Ireland you’ll need to follow the process for importing goods into the UK from the EU unless you are using transit but you will not need to pay UK customs duties.
As long as your goods qualify, you can enter the code ‘DTY’ in box 47 on your import declaration and you’ll not be charged.
This process will be further simplified during the course of 2021. You will need to comply with some Irish customs requirements to exit through a port in Ireland, and should check Irish customs guidance.
You will need to submit an export declaration in Northern Ireland if your goods are going to an office of destination in Great Britain, but if the goods are qualifying goods then you will not need to pay customs duties or make an import declaration after the transit movement ends in Great Britain.
When to submit an export declaration
There are some limited exceptions, when you need to submit an export declaration for a movement of goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. These are if your goods are: