Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme: how to register and seal consignments
From 1 September 2023, businesses that sell or facilitate movement of food in Northern Ireland can register for the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme.
Registering for the scheme
From 1 September 2023 all businesses responsible for selling or facilitating the movement of food for final consumption in Northern Ireland will be able to register for the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme (NIRMS).
- retailers selling finished goods to end consumers
- hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants who are bringing goods in from Great Britain directly
- those providing food to the public sector – for example schools, hospitals and prisons
wholesalers supplying retail outlets
- businesses operating factory canteens
Before registering for the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme, if not already registered, traders will need to register for:
- a Government Gateway account
- Export Health Certificate Online (EHC Online)
- a Food Business Operator (FBO) number
- a TRACES NT account
Businesses based in Northern Ireland will also need to register for:the Common Health Entry Document (CHED) Operators Portal (CHOP)
If you are eligible for the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme, you may also be eligible for the UK Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS) for customs purposes. Find further guidance on UKIMS.
Traders (senders and receivers) across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be able to sign up using the new digital platform to allow sending or receiving of goods under the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme.
During registration, traders will need to provide details of all establishments for dispatch or receipt of goods under the scheme and confirm that they are registered food business operators (FBO) in the UK. The business sending the consignment in Great Britain and the business receiving the consignment in Northern Ireland need to be registered for the scheme. DAERA will also maintain a list of retail businesses in Northern Ireland that handle goods moving through the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme.
Traders will need to agree to the terms and conditions of the scheme as part of the application process. If the application is successful, they will receive email confirmation along with a Scheme Membership Number for their business and Establishment Numbers for all establishments sending or receiving goods.
The government will work with operators to ensure that existing STAMNI traders are not subject to disruption in their goods movements as they transition their membership across to the new scheme. During the first few months of the new scheme, procedures will be in place to ensure that existing STAMNI traders will benefit from the new Green Lane.
The General Certificate
Once registered on the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme, members will be able to complete the General Certificate through EHC Online, using a link provided to them following sign up to the scheme. A General Certificate will have an unique number, and will be required for each consignment of goods moving under the scheme.
The required fields in the General Certificate are:
- consignor and consignee details (name and address)
- operator responsible details
- place of dispatch and destination details
- means of transport and proposed point of entry
- seal number(s)
You will also need to provide a packing list with your General Certificate. Many businesses routinely provided such a list under the STAMNI arrangements, including through lorry manifests. There is no prescribed format for the packing lists, but the packing lists must contain descriptions of the retail goods and the nature of their products, including:
- the description of the retail goods
- nature of products
- type of treatment
- registration/approval number of the relevant establishment
- number of packages
- net weight
Once you have completed and submitted the General Certificate and confirmed that the consignment meets the scheme conditions, you will be able to view the status of your application in the EHC Online portal.
In line with the existing STAMNI process, the Northern Ireland recipient will then need to notify DAERA of the incoming goods by submitting a Common Health Entry Document (CHED), attaching the General Certificate and packing list at least 4 hours prior to the arrival of the consignment in Northern Ireland.
All consignments must be sealed with an authorised seal with appropriate supervision. The seal must have a unique identifier with associated number, and the number must be included in the General Certificate. DAERA will record, check and reconcile the seals in line with the requirements of the scheme. DEFRA will work with traders to also explore alternative means to meet scheme requirements in the future, including through digital solutions such as electronic seals.
For mixed loads please read the separate guidance on mixed load consignments.
In line with the existing processes under STAMNI, the Northern Ireland destination establishment must inform DAERA of the arrival of the goods at the Northern Ireland listed establishment, via the CHOP system, within 48 hours.
DAERA will complete any channelling procedures and will follow up by email if necessary.
There will be no routine or set physical checks, and interventions will be based only on risk and intelligence decisions made by UK authorities, to deal with smuggling, criminality, abuse or specific risks to animal, plant or public health.
DAERA will complete 100% documentary verification on the General Certificate and CHED using the CHED Inspection Platform (CHIP).
Inspectors at Northern Ireland points of entry will make a decision on whether any identity procedures are required.
Identity procedures conducted by DAERA will be done on a percentage basis, with drivers flagged by text message via HMRC’s Goods Vehicle Movement Scheme system. These will start at 10% in October 2023, reduce to 8% in October 2024 and reduce further to 5% in July 2025, in accordance with the conditions set out in the Windsor Framework. These goods can only be sold in a listed establishment in Northern Ireland.
Read the detail on the eligibility of products that can move under the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme.
Expression of interest
Any businesses wishing to register their interest in signing up for the Northern Ireland Retail Movement Scheme can do so by emailing NIRetailMovementSchemeRegistration@defra.gov.uk between 31 July and 24 August 2023.
Those who have pre-registered will be able to submit some of the required sign-up information to allow them to simply review this information when the scheme registration formally opens.