Brexit: Customs Procedures to Change from 2021

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The UK has now officially left the European Union, initiating a transition period for the government to agree a new trade deal with EU officials and member states.

While many businesses will be relieved that any uncertainty surrounding Brexit has come to an end, there’s still no guarantee a trade deal will be reached by 31 December 2020, which could lead to further confusion and disruption.

HMRC has also sent a letter to VAT-registered businesses that trade with the EU, outlining how customs procedures will change from 1 January 2021. The letter explains that, for trade between Great Britain and the EU, businesses will need to make customs declarations to import and export goods once the UK is outside of the EU’s customs territory.

To submit customs declarations, businesses must ensure they have an EORI number that starts with the letters GB. Any businesses which don’t yet have the appropriate EORI number can register for one at The government has advised businesses to prepare accordingly, as well as deciding if they will be making declarations themselves or using a third party such as a customs agent.

A separate letter to businesses in Northern Ireland confirmed that arrangements for moving goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland in the event of no-deal Brexit no longer apply. These will be replaced by new arrangements that ensure there is no hard border on the island of Ireland, with Northern Ireland remaining in the UK’s customs territory.

On 10 February, HMRC extended the deadline for businesses to apply for customs funding to 31 January 2021. As of that date, businesses had applied for £18.5 million of the £26 million available, meaning there is still around £7.5 million left to claim from HMRC.

Finding a Customs Agent

At Hemisphere Freight Services, we already have considerable experience in completing customs declarations from non-EU countries. Although the type of declarations and how these will need to be completed for EU traffic is yet to be decided, we will be fully prepared for any eventuality, ensuring our customers can continue trading seamlessly with their EU counterparts once a trade deal is in place.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions, and make sure to keep an eye on our blog for further updates.