Get ahead of new rules for doing business with the EU

Transport and logistics

6 December 2021

Did you know that the import rules are changing again on 1 January 2022? It can be hard to stay on top of these changes, but if you do business with or move goods to and from the EU these changes will be vital information for you.

This guide will help you prepare for the new requirements, but if you're unsure of anything you should double check rules and regulations listed on the government website. 

Customs Declarations

In the past, you may have been able to delay import declarations by up to 175 days from when the goods arrived into Great Britain, however this will no longer be the case. From 1 January 2022 you must complete customs declarations on imports from the EU to GB at the time you or your courier/freight forwarder bring them into the UK.   

You can also apply for the right to use simplified declarations for imports. These will allow you to move goods without having to provide a full customs declaration. Find out more about how to apply for a simplified declaration.

If dealing with customs and all its changes is overwhelming, you can choose to have someone deal with import and export declarations on your behalf, such as a customs agent, courier or a freight forwarder. Read more about how people can help you with customs declarations.

Rules of Origin

Great Britain and the EU have worked out a preferential tariff, but in order to benefit from that, you'll need to prove that you meet the rules of origin. Starting from 1 January 2022, if you sell goods to the EU, or buy goods from the EU and bring them into GB, you must have proof that:  

  • goods you import into Great Britain from the EU originate there  
  • goods you export to the EU originate in Great Britain

If you cannot prove the origin of your product, you or your EU customer will be liable to pay the full rate of customs duty and could face penalties and you cannot take advantage of the zero-tariff trade agreement with the EU.  

Ways of Proving Product Origins:

One option for claiming preference is for the importer to use a ‘statement on origin’ made out by the exporter. A statement on origin is prescribed text which the exporter adds to the invoice or any other document, including a commercial document, that describes the originating product in enough detail to allow it to be identified. 

‘Importer’s knowledge’ is an option that allows the importer to claim preferential tariff treatment based on their own knowledge about the originating status of imported products. As this option requires the importer to have knowledge that the products meet the relevant rules of origin, the exporter or producer may have to provide information about the production to the importer.

Keeping your Proof:

An importer making a claim for preferential tariff treatment must keep all records that show that the product is eligible for preference for four years from the date of importation. These records may be stored in an electronic format.

To prepare for the changes to Rules of Origin, go to

Pre-notifying Imports

From 1 January 2022, there are new requirements for importing some sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods, such as meat or plants, to GB from the EU. To find out the most up to date requirements, head to the page dedicated to your type of goods:


Þ  Guidance on importing food:  

Þ  Guidance on importing Animal By-Products:  

Þ  Guidance on Plant Products:   


One of the changes taking place is that you will need to pre-notify when importing most Products of Animal Origin, Animal By Products, High Risk Food not of Animal Origin and regulated plants and plant products from the EU to GB.  

You (or a representative acting on your behalf) importing these goods from the EU may need to pre-notify authorities that their consignment will be entering Great Britain. You can do this on the designated IT system for your product type. Register now to ensure your business is prepared for prenotification requirements from 1 January 2022: 


Þ  Animal Product IT System:  

Þ  Plant Product IT System:  


Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS)

From 1 January 2022, hauliers must be registered for the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to move any goods between GB and the EU. The GVMS system has been designed to enable fast and efficient movement of goods and will be used by many UK ports, but in order to use it, you must be registered. If you are not registered, you will not be able to board the ferry or shuttle and cross the GB/EU border.  


Þ  A full list of GVMS ports is available at:  

Þ  Register for GVMS:


Ports that use GVMS to control goods will need pre-lodged declaration references to be linked together within a single reference number, called a Goods Movement Reference (GMR). The driver will need to present a valid GMR to the carrier for check-in.  

The driver moving the goods should create the GMR, but it can be done by the haulier manager, or the trader’s customs agent or freight forwarder. You must only create one GMR per vehicle. You can get a GMR at `

Check What You Need to Do Before 1 January 2022

Visit and follow the step by step guide to make sure you’re prepared for new importation rules. Their guide provides information on how to bring goods into the UK from any country, including how much tax and duty you’ll need to pay and whether you need to get a licence or certificate.  

For practical support with exporting your products, contact the Export Support Service online or by phone at 0300 303 8955 (call charges may apply). 

If you're a Haulier, be sure to sign up for GVMS now at 

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