Guidance

Trading and moving goods in and out of Northern Ireland

How to prepare if you trade and move goods in and out of Northern Ireland.

There may be changes to some processes if you either:

  • trade or move goods between Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and Northern Ireland
  • import goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and from outside the EU

This guidance explains what you may need to do.

If customs processes are new to you, you can sign up for the free Trader Support Service. The Trader Support Service will guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and can:

  • help if you move goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, or bring goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK
  • complete declarations on your behalf without the need for specialist advice or software

Overview

Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

From 1 January 2021, there will be no changes in how qualifying Northern Ireland goods move directly from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. There will be some changes for qualifying goods moved indirectly through Ireland.

This qualifying goods regime forms part of a phased approach to the implementation of ‘unfettered access’.

Bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain and from outside the EU

The Northern Ireland Protocol explains that goods from Great Britain (not deemed to be at risk of leaving the UK customs territory) will not pay any tariffs. However, goods ‘at risk’ of entering the EU’s single market will pay EU tariffs.

From 1 January 2021, you’ll need to make declarations and may need to pay tariffs when bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain or from outside the EU.

There are a number of options available to avoid paying tariffs when moving goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. Before moving your goods, you should consider which of these options is most suitable for your business.

When bringing goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain, you’ll pay no duty if you’re:

When bringing goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK and the EU, you’ll pay the UK duty rate if your goods are not ‘at risk’ of onward movement to the EU.

Before you move goods

  1. If you plan to move goods between Northern Ireland and non-EU countries (including Great Britain), you’ll need an EORI number that starts with XI.
  2. If you plan to move goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, or bring goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK, you can sign up for the free Trader Support Service.
  3. If you’re not using the Trader Support Service, you can get someone to deal with customs for you, or find a training provider to help you.
  4. If you import goods into Northern Ireland and want to declare your goods not ‘at risk’ so that EU duty will not be payable on those goods, you’ll need to apply for an authorisation for the UK Trader Scheme. You can also check how to claim preferential rates of duty on goods covered in the UK’s deal with the EU.
  5. If you import goods regularly, you can apply for a duty deferment account to delay paying most customs charges.
  6. To understand any duty or other measures that apply to your goods, you’ll need to find the right commodity code to make your customs declaration when you bring goods in or send goods out of Northern Ireland.

Making declarations

Sending goods from Northern Ireland

If you’re a UK-based business sending goods from Northern Ireland, check what declarations may need to be made.

Bringing or receiving goods into Northern Ireland

If you’re a UK-based business bringing or receiving goods into Northern Ireland, check what declarations may need to be made.

Check the origin of your goods. This may allow an EU or UK preferential arrangement to apply.

For goods moving into Northern Ireland from outside EU and UK, EU Tariff Rate Quotas will not be available. More guidance will be published as soon as possible for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Use the commodity code to check what duties and measures may apply to your goods. This will show if you need any extra documentation or measure codes on your declaration.

Where a commodity code indicates the need for a meursing code within the EU tariff, this will need to be included on all Northern Ireland declarations.

Moving goods between Northern Ireland and the EU

Declarations are not needed for any goods.

However, if you’re liable to submit Intrastat Supplementary Declarations, you can continue to submit Intrastat declarations for goods you move between Northern Ireland and the EU.

Moving qualifying goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain through Ireland

Check what you’ll need to do if you move qualifying Northern Ireland goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain through Ireland.

Moving commercial goods in your baggage

Bringing commercial goods into Northern Ireland from outside the EU

Find out what you need to do if you’re bringing commercial goods into Northern Ireland.

Taking commercial goods out of Northern Ireland to outside the EU

Find out what you need to do if you’re taking commercial goods out of Northern Ireland.

Moving commercial goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain

Find out what you need to do when moving commercial goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain in your accompanied baggage.

Moving commercial goods into Northern Ireland from Great Britain

Find out what you need to do when bringing commercial goods into Northern Ireland in your accompanied baggage from Great Britain.

Movements between Northern Ireland and the EU

There will be no change to the current rules.

Moving personal goods in your baggage

From Northern Ireland to Great Britain

No VAT will be due, as long as you’ve not claimed a VAT refund.

Into Northern Ireland from Great Britain

In most cases, no VAT will be due. In a very limited number of circumstances, you may have to pay import VAT.

Into Northern Ireland from the EU

There will be no change to the current rules. No tax or duty will be due on personal goods carried into Northern Ireland from the EU if they are for personal use or to give as a gift.

Into Northern Ireland from outside the EU

For visitors arriving in Northern Ireland from outside the EU (not including Great Britain), the current duty free allowances will apply.

VAT Retail Export Scheme

Northern Ireland businesses will still be able to offer refunds of VAT on goods to visitors to Northern Ireland where they take those goods with them in their luggage when they leave, using the VAT Retail Export Scheme.

Transporting and carrying goods if you’re a haulier or a carrier

Check how to move goods through ports that use the Goods Vehicle Movement Service for movements of goods from:

  • the EU to Great Britain (for transit movements only)
  • Great Britain to Northern Ireland

Moving goods under transit

Bringing goods into or through Northern Ireland using transit

Check what you need to do when using Common or Union transit for goods coming into or ending in Northern Ireland.

Sending goods from or through Northern Ireland using transit

Check if you can use Common or Union transit when exporting or taking goods out of Northern Ireland.

If you can use Common or Union transit, find out what you’ll need to do to prepare your goods and plan your route.

Moving excise goods

Find out about moving excise goods:

Moving cash

If you, or people traveling with you, carry cash into Northern Ireland from Great Britain worth €10,000 or more in total, you may need to declare it.

Paying VAT

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU VAT rules will continue to apply in Northern Ireland in respect of goods. This means that apart from changes related to using an EORI number starting with ‘XI’, there will be no changes for transactions in goods between Northern Ireland and EU businesses and consumers.

Find out about:

If you’re a VAT-registered business trading in Northern Ireland or between Northern Ireland and the EU, you need to tell HMRC so you can continue to account for VAT on acquisitions and dispatches.

Digital services

Find out how to pay VAT if you sell digital services to EU consumers.

Second-hand motor vehicles

Find out how to use the VAT margin scheme if you sell second-hand motor vehicles in Northern Ireland that were originally bought in Great Britain.

Other services

The VAT rules for supplying services that are not digital between Northern Ireland and EU member states will become the same as the current rules for supplying services that are not digital between Northern Ireland and outside the EU.

Special procedures, duty reliefs, authorisations and guarantees

Special procedures

Importers will be able to access special procedures to suspend or relieve import duty on goods that are stored, processed or temporarily used in Northern Ireland. In most cases there will be no changes to these special procedures and reliefs.

Find out about customs special procedures that allow you to suspend, pay less or no duty on goods you import or export.

Authorisations

You’ll need prior authorisation if you want to use any of the following special procedures more than 3 times in a year:

If you want to continue to access Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) benefits in Northern Ireland and the EU, you’ll require an NI AEO authorisation (NI AEO).

Duty reliefs

In most cases there will be no changes to duty reliefs, and you still may be able to pay no Customs Duty or a reduced amount of duty for goods you bring or receive into Northern Ireland.

Guarantees

Guarantees will be needed to enter goods into special procedures, and a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee will be required for full authorisation to use a special procedure.

Temporary movements

You may be able to get an ATA carnet to avoid paying import duty if you’re importing goods to or from Northern Ireland temporarily.

Storing or handling goods

Temporary storage

You’ll still need a customs comprehensive guarantee if you operate a temporary storage facility in Northern Ireland.

For Movements in Temporary Storage (MiTS), you’ll:

  • still be able to move goods between two temporary storage facilities if both are located within Northern Ireland
  • no longer be able to move goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain

Sending or receiving goods in parcels

If you’re a business, there will be some changes if you move express consignments (parcels) into or out of Northern Ireland.

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