3.1.1 Overview

This section describes the Stage 3 Core Model – the processes that all goods movements must follow from July 2021. The Core Model is not an exhaustive list of all the requirements which may apply to a goods movement. Further requirements apply for particular goods movements are outlined in Additional Requirements SECTION 3.2.

The Stage 3 Core Model consists of the following processes, set out in this section:
• (3.1.2) Import Preparations
• (3.1.3) Customs Declarations
• (3.1.4) Duties and Import VAT
• (3.1.5) Safety & Security Declarations

Various (3.1.6) Import Facilitations exist to reduce the impact of these processes. The facilitations available are also set out in this section. There is also additional information on (3.1.7) Non-Freight Imports. Most businesses use an intermediary when dealing with customs requirements. Businesses can either hire an agent or may want to recruit or train someone in the business to deal with customs for the company.

3.1.2 Import Preparations

In order to fulfil the import process, all traders will need to ensure they have:

• A GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number.

• The Commodity Code of their goods – needed to make a customs declaration and calculate duties on an import.

• The customs value of goods – needed to make a customs declaration and calculate duties on an import. The rules for valuation are based on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) valuation agreement.

• Considered whether they are able to, and would benefit from, using any available customs simplifications or facilitations.

• Considered how they will make customs declarations to HMRC systems, and whether they will use an intermediary. Using CHIEF requires users (the declarant or their representative) to hold a CHIEF badge in order to make a customs declaration. Customs declarations can be made using commercial software or through Community System Providers (CSPs). Currently the majority of traders engaging with customs use an intermediary to help them comply with their obligations, including submitting declarations into CHIEF or CDS.

3.1.3 Customs Declarations

Importers bringing or receiving goods from the EU (or someone appointed on their behalf) will have to complete a customs import declaration. Customs declarations are complex. Most businesses that currently trade outside the EU use an intermediary to submit customs declarations to HMRC systems. Further information on intermediaries can be found here.

Declarations will need to be made onto either the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) or the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS). The declarant (importer, agent or person acting on their behalf) is responsible for the accuracy of the information.

Calculation of Tariff

The tariffs applicable to UK importers will be published on GOV.UK when they are finalised and before implementation. The latest publication can be found here.

The information needed for the vast majority of movements will be set out in the UK trade Tariff (Volume 3). The tariff payable will be established using the commodity code, the customs value of the goods, and the origin of the goods. It is not affected by the location of import.

Free Trade Agreements reached between the UK and the EU, and between the UK and other countries, may reduce or remove tariffs on some goods. The origin of the goods will determine whether they are eligible under these agreements for those preferential tariffs.

Reliefs from customs duties are available for certain goods in certain circumstances. Find out if you can pay a lower rate of duty.

Duties may also be reduced, suspended or eliminated using facilitations.


Completing a customs declaration requires:
• A GB EORI number
• The Commodity Code of their goods. More information is available here.
• The value of goods – needed to make a customs declaration and calculate duties on an import. The rules for valuation are based on the WTO valuation agreement.
• The origin of goods – where supply chains mean that parts of a good are produced outside the EU (for importers) or outside the UK (for exporters), this may affect the origin of the good. The practicalities of rules of origin can be complex and in these cases it’s a good idea to take expert advice to ensure compliance as an importer or exporter.
• Access to HMRC systems either directly, or via an intermediary with the access. Traders declaring using CHIEF and not using an intermediary will require a CHIEF badge.

The trade tariff tool shows if a license is needed to move the goods, and whether the goods are covered by additional duties.

Traders can also apply to HMRC for an advance ruling on:
• the commodity code that must be used for their goods
• the origin of their goods

Simplified Declaration Procedures are in place to enable fewer requirements at the border by allowing traders to use a simplified customs declaration or entry in business records upfront, followed by a supplementary declaration up to 4 weeks later. More detail is provided in the Import Facilitations SECTION 3.1.6. For oil, gas and electricity imports through a pipeline or interconnector, the UK Government will introduce a bespoke process that recognises that they are imported as a continuous flow.

Variation by Location of Entry

Goods imported from the EU will be subject to standard customs control from July 2021. There are two main customs processes that goods can be imported into, and which process applies will depend on what location the goods are imported through. Border locations can either use the temporary storage model, or the newly developed pre-lodgement model (developed as an alternative for ports that may not have the space and infrastructure to operate temporary storage). Border locations receiving goods that are moving into GB from the EU will be able to choose between these two models:
• The traditional Temporary Storage model, where goods coming into GB can be stored at the frontier for up to 90 days before being declared to customs
• The pre-lodgement model, where goods arriving will be required to have submitted a customs declaration in advance of boarding on the EU side

HMRC are developing a new IT platform to support the pre-lodgement model, called the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS). However, its use will not be mandatory and the choice between using a Temporary Storage and a pre-lodgement model will be a commercial decision for border location operators. Hauliers, carriers and traders using a particular border location will need to familiarise themselves with the different steps that they will need to take to move their goods through it depending on the model that applies. The UK Government will provide a list of sites which will use the pre-lodgement model once this border locations have made their commercial decision.

The New Pre-Lodgement Model

Under the pre-lodgement model, to achieve customs control whilst maintaining flow, industry must:
• Ensure all goods have the appropriate declarations before they board
• Communicate to the person in control of the goods (e.g. the driver of a lorry for accompanied goods or the carrier for unaccompanied goods) by the time they arrive whether goods are cleared to proceed on their journey or need a check.

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS)

The GVMS is an IT platform which supports the pre-lodgement model. The GVMS will allow:
• Declaration references to be linked together so that the person moving the goods (e.g. a haulier) only has to present one single reference (Goods Movement Reference or GMR) at the frontier to prove that their goods have pre-lodged declarations.
• The linking of the movement of the goods to declarations, enabling the automatic arrival in HMRC systems as soon as goods board so that declarations can be processed en route.
• Notification of the risking outcome of declarations (i.e. cleared or uncleared) in HMRC systems to be sent to the person in control of the goods by the time they physically arrive so they know where they need to proceed to.

If port operators decide to use the pre-Lodgement Model they will need to:
1. Ensure goods are not allowed to arrive at that location without pre-lodged declarations. For example, by being listed as a RoRo location or through commercial arrangements with users that goods without declarations will not be allowed into the location.
2. Take reasonable steps to ensure those goods identified as needing checks are controlled upon arrival.

If hauliers are moving goods through a location using the pre-lodgement model, they will be required to:
• Ask the traders to provide, for each consignment carried, a unique reference number that proves that a declaration has either been pre-lodged or is not needed. This can be an MRN (for goods declared into CHIEF or CDS), or an EORI (for goods where the trader is authorised to make declarations in their own records, please see Import Facilitations SECTION 3.1.6 for further details), or a Transit Accompanying Document MRN (for goods moving via Common Transit, please see Import Facilitations SECTION 3.1.6 for further details).

While responsibility for customs border formalities rests with the traders, the haulier must ensure the driver is given all necessary customs documentation and ensure they have been informed of their responsibilities regarding inspection points.

• Link all these references together, alongside any Safety and Security declaration references, into one Goods Movement Reference (GMR) for each trailer movement. This can be done in two ways:
1. A direct link from the haulier’s own system into the Goods Vehicle Movement Service; or
2. An online portal available in the haulier’s Government Gateway account.

• For each trailer movement, update the GMR with the correct vehicle registration number (VRN) for accompanied movements or trailer registration number (TRN) for unaccompanied movements. The VRN/TRN can be updated to cater for any changes but must be correct when the GMR is presented to the carrier at the point of departure.
• Instruct drivers not to proceed to the border before all the necessary references are added into a GMR to make it complete, or if any declaration reference has not been accepted onto the GMR, as they will not be allowed to board.
• Instruct drivers to present the GMR to the carrier on arrival at the point of departure to demonstrate they have the necessary evidence to legally move goods.
Carriers operating at locations which are using the pre-lodgement model will be required to:
• Capture and check the Goods Movement Reference (the reference code that will prove goods in that vehicle have any necessary declarations).
• Refuse boarding to any vehicles that have an invalid GMR.
• Verify at check-in that the vehicle registration number (VRN) for accompanied movements, or trailer registration number (TRN) for unaccompanied trailer movements matches to the reference entered into the GMR, and request that the haulier amends the GMR to include the valid VRN/ TRN before they are allowed to board.
• Send all valid GMRs collected to the UK Government via the GVMS at the point of no return (e.g. at bow doors up) so that declarations can be arrived in the system and risk-assessed en route.

The UK Government will provide details on which border locations are operating which model and further specific requirements and details for traders, hauliers, carriers and border operators in due course.

From July 2021, any frontier location (Port, RoRo location, Rail Terminal or Airport) that receives or dispatches freight from outside of the UK will need to become a customs approved area. To become approved the site operator will need to apply to the National Frontiers Approvals Unit (NFAU) based within Border Force. If operators wish to provide temporary storage facilities they will need to secure a separate temporary storage approval.

For oil, gas and electricity imports through a pipeline, cable or interconnector, the UK Government will be introducing a bespoke process that recognises that they are imported as a continuous flow.


HMRC may undertake checks to confirm the accuracy of the declaration. These checks may be undertaken after the goods have been released from the border and may include taking a sample of the goods being imported.

The Temporary Storage Model

Goods imported from the EU can be stored temporarily under customs control before they are released to free circulation, exported or placed under the outward processing procedure, or placed under a special procedure (inward processing, customs warehousing, authorised use, or temporary admission). This will mean traders can defer making a customs declaration and paying duties and taxes for up to 90 days from the date the goods are presented. An authorisation is required to operate a temporary storage facility. More details are available here.

3.1.4 Duties and Import VAT

Import VAT will be levied on all imports of goods valued over £135 from the EU following the same rates and structures as are applied to RoW imports.
VAT registered traders will be able (but not compelled) to account for import VAT on their VAT return by using postponed VAT accounting.
Non-VAT registered traders (and any VAT registered traders not using postponed VAT accounting) will need to report and pay import VAT through the customs processes.

As is possible for customs duties, traders and agents can use duty deferment to defer payment of import VAT until a prescribed date, delaying payment for an average of 30 days.

Transport Options

Import VAT requirements are not impacted by transport into GB or point of arrival.

Import VAT for freight will continue to be handled through CHIEF / CDS.


The UK already undertakes intelligence-led checks on both EU and RoW movements, which will continue.

3.1.5 Safety & Security Declarations

The UK’s approach to Safety and Security (S&S) is underpinned by the World Customs Organisation’s (WCO) SAFE framework, which requires the pre-arrival information and risking of all consignments entering or exiting a territory. It protects the UK against potential threats such as terrorism and the trade from illicit goods such as guns and drugs while facilitating the movement of legitimate trade into or out of the UK.

S&S import declarations will be required for imports from the EU into GB from July 2021. This will be the same model currently used for RoW trade.

Carriers have the legal responsibility to ensure that the UK customs authority is provided with S&S pre-arrival information, by way of entry summary declarations, for goods being imported to GB. For S&S the carrier is defined as the “active means of transport”. The carrier can agree to pass the requirement onto the trader, however, the carrier will still have the legal responsibility.

The legal requirement is that the S&S import declaration is complete and accurate, however a declaration can be amended up to the point of arrival in the UK.

The data required for an entry summary declaration includes; consignor, consignee, a description of the goods, routing (country by country), conveyance (e.g. flight reference) and time of arrival.

Transport Options

The way the goods are transported impacts on how far in advance of UK customs control an S&S import declaration must be made. Goods must have their S&S import declaration submitted a specific number of hours in advance of arriving in a UK port. This is to ensure there is sufficient time for Border Force to assess the declarations. The amount of time for transport options differs, as set out in the diagram below.

In order to make S&S declarations an EORI number is required.


For trade between GB and the EU, the submission of the entry summary declaration must be made in the UKS&S system, ‘S&S GB’. This is a separate system to the customs declaration systems (CHIEF/CDS). There will also be the option to submit declarations through CSP systems/ third party software providers.

3.1.6 Import Facilitations


As detailed under Stage 1, the UK has successfully negotiated membership of the Common Transit Convention (CTC) after the end of the transition period. The CTC is a facilitation that may provide benefits to traders by allowing some customs processes to be done away from the border.

Traders will only have to make customs declarations and pay import duties on arrival at their final destination. Safety and security requirements will still need to be met from July 2021.

This section covers processes for transit movements which have started in a different country and are either ending in the UK or transiting on to another customs territory.
Arrivals to the UK

When transit movements arrive in the UK, the goods and the Transit Accompanying Document (TAD) must be presented at an office of transit.

The UK Government intends to allow this process to be completed digitally, using the new Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS). Hauliers will be required to submit their transit Movement Reference Numbers (MRNs) and vehicle/trailer registrations via the GVMS before checking in at the port of departure. This information will be assessed during the crossing to the UK and the person in control of the goods will be notified if they are clear to proceed on their journey or require a check.
Some ports may still choose to operate a paper-based office of transit. In this circumstance, hauliers should present their goods and Transit Accompanying Documents to customs officials at the port of arrival in the UK.

Ending transit movements
The most efficient way to end movements is to become registered as an authorised consignee, which enables movements to end at traders’ premises. Details on applying can be found here.

Alternatively, goods should be taken to a government office of destination.
The goods and TAD must be presented to the office of destination or an authorised consignee.

The movement can only be ended if an import customs declaration is completed and the goods are released into free circulation, or if they enter into another customs procedure. If this does not happen by the time the goods arrive, they must be placed into temporary storage.


Traders moving goods under transit need to provide a guarantee to secure any customs duty, import VAT and excise duty suspended during the transit movement. Businesses using transit should apply for an authorisation to use a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG) and obtain a guarantee from a bank or other financial institution.

Businesses can be authorised to end a transit movement from their own premises as an authorised consignee, rather than at a government office of destination. Authorised consignees need to have authorised temporary storage facilities.
Lodging a transit declaration requires access to the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS).

Customs Special Procedures

Businesses can use Customs Special Procedures to suspend, reduce or claim relief on the payment of customs duties and VAT under specified conditions. Special procedures include:
• Customs Warehousing – allows for goods not in free circulation to be stored without payment of customs duty, and where appropriate excise duty or import VAT, in a customs warehouse.
• Inward Processing – allows for the payment of customs duties and import VAT to be suspended on imported goods whilst processing is taking place.
• Outward Processing – allows for the temporary export of goods for processing or repair, and to re-import the processed products whilst retaining domestic status or with partial relief from import duties.
• Temporary Admission – allows for businesses and individuals who are established outside of the UK to be authorised to import goods with total or partial relief from customs duties and other charges because of the specific use to which the goods will be put
• Authorised Use – allows for reduced or nil rates of Customs duty on certain imported goods, provided they are put to a prescribed end use.


Businesses intending to use special procedures regularly need to be authorised by HMRC. Businesses intending to occasionally import goods into a special procedure (other than Customs Warehousing) can use the Authorisation by declaration method, which allows the use of the procedure without applying for authorisation. Authorisation by Declaration can only be used up to 3 times per calendar year and the value of the goods must not exceed £500,000 (apart from goods declared to the Temporary Admission procedure). It is not available for all goods.

A Customs Comprehensive Guarantee will not be needed to be authorised to use a special procedure unless specifically required. A guarantee will be required where goods are declared to a special procedure using the Authorisation by Declaration method.

Physical examination of goods or documentary checks may be undertaken

Other Facilitations

• Simplified Declarations – allows goods to be released directly at the frontier to a specified customs procedure. The goods may be entered directly to free circulation, an economic relief, a Special Procedure or other customs procedure.
• The goods are released from the frontier using a simplified frontier declaration or an entry in the declarant’s records (EIDR) which is followed at a later date by a Supplementary Declaration Imports. This is required by the 4th working day of the following month.
• The simplified frontier declaration contains a smaller amount of information than a full declaration and must contain a plain language description of the goods, the Declaration Unique Consignment Reference (DUCR), together with any other mandatory information required by the Tariff. For EIDR the importer (or their agent) makes the simplified customs declaration directly into their electronic commercial records.
• Goods released using simplified declarations for imports will still be subject to anti- smuggling checks and all border admissibility controls must be completed prior to the release of the goods.
• Authorised Economic Operators Provides traders a range of benefits such as a reduction in the level of guarantee needed and fewer physical and document-based controls.
• Simplified Transit Procedures Authorised consignor/consignee status which allows traders to start or end transit movements at their own premises.
• Duty Deferment Accounts Allows traders to defer payments to HMRC which benefits cash flow. HMRC are introducing new rules that will allow most businesses to use duty deferment without needing to obtain a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG). This easement will not apply to businesses that have a history of non-compliance or are insolvent.
• Temporary Storage Allows traders to store goods for up to 90 days in an approved location before declaring them to a customs procedure and paying duties due.
• Authorised parcel operators will be able to submit a bulked customs declaration for non- controlled goods with a value not exceeding £135.

3.1.7 Non-Freight Imports

Travellers with commercial goods in accompanied baggage (Merchandise in Baggage)

Traders carrying standard (non-controlled) commercial goods in their luggage or a small vehicle with a value not exceeding £1500, will need to make a simple online declaration either before arriving into GB or make an oral declaration at the point of import using a Red Point/Channel if it exists at the GB port.
For goods over £1500 and controlled goods, traders will need to make a standard electronic customs declaration into CHIEF before arrival, or an oral declaration at a Red Point/Channel if one exists at the GB port of entry.

Cash Controls

The process for Cash movements is the same as detailed under Stage 1. From 1 January 2021 individuals travelling into GB carrying £10,000 or more will be required to declare this. These requirements will also fall on couriers who are transporting cash on behalf of business.
Declarations can be made either online or by phone. They can also be made via a paper BOR9011 declaration submitted to Border Force officials at a Red Channel/Point, if one exists at the GB port of entry.

Post and Parcels

The process for Post and Parcels movements is the same as detailed under Stage 1. As such, from 1 January 2021 the customs declaration requirements currently in place for the movement of goods with RoW countries by post and parcel will apply to movements between GB and EU.

For postal consignments imported by the Royal Mail Group (RMG) – the UK’s designated universal postal service provider – the use of the CN22/CN23 customs forms will apply for standard (non- controlled) goods imported into GB not exceeding £900 in value. For all other postal movements into GB, a standard electronic customs declaration will need to be submitted to HMRC.

For goods moved into GB by parcel operators (other than the RMG) a standard electronic customs declaration will need to be submitted to HMRC, unless the parcel operator is authorised to submit a bulked customs declaration.

However, between 1 January and 1 July 2021 both RMG and parcel operators will be able to make a deferred declaration (assuming the operator and goods meet the eligibility requirements).

Importing through ports with temporary storage

This diagram summarises the Stage 3 core import process at ports with temporary storage facilities.
Importing through ports with pre-lodgement systems
This diagram summarises the Stage 3 core import process if moving through ports with pre-lodgement facilities.

3.2 Importing: Additional Requirements

3.2.1 Overview

This section describes the additional processes users will face when importing the following goods:
(3.2.2) Goods covered by International Conventions / Commitments
• Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
• Rough Diamonds (Kimberley)
• Temporary import of non-perishables (ATA Carnets)
(3.2.3) Goods subject to Sanitary and Phytosanitary Controls
• Animal products (Products of Animal Origin and Animal By-Products)
• Fish and fishery products
• High-Risk Food and Feed Not of Animal Origin (HRFNAO)
• Live animals and germinal products
• Equines
• Plants and Plant Products
(3.2.4) Goods with Specific Customs Requirements
• Excise goods
(3.2.5) Other Goods
• Bottled Water
• Drug precursors
• Explosives Precursors
• Firearms
• Market surveillance
• Veterinary Medicines
• Waste
• Medicines, Medical isotopes, Clinical Trial Supplies, Controlled Drugs, Substances of Human Origin

3.2.2 Goods Covered by International Conventions / Commitments

Additional requirements on Goods Covered by International Conventions / Commitments will continue to apply as they have since January 2021. For details on individual categories of goods, please refer to SECTION 1.2.2.

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