Importing to GB after 31 December 2020

After 31 December 2020 customs declarations will need to be made to the UK authorities in relation to goods moved to England, Scotland, or Wales (GB) from the EU. Special rules apply to movements of goods into, out of, and through Northern Ireland.

Businesses that are not yet familiar with the concept of customs declarations should consider the following points:


  • If a business intends to submit customs declarations itself, it will need to apply for access to the electronic Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system and obtain software that can submit declarations to the CHIEF system.


  • If a business does not intend to submit customs declarations itself it will need to appoint another party to submit the declarations, for example, a freight forwarder or customs agent.


  • For businesses that are established in the UK the decision regarding whether to appoint another party to submit customs declarations will be influenced by factors such as cost. For many businesses, appointing another party may be the most cost-effective solution.


  • After 31 December 2020 only businesses that are established in the UK will be able to submit customs declarations to the UK authorities. A business that does not have a registered office or central headquarters in the UK may be asked to provide information such as details of business premises it owns or leases in the UK and details of staff it employs in the UK before it will be able to submit customs declarations. If the authorities are not satisfied that the business is established in the UK, the business will be required to appoint another party to submit customs declarations. The party that is appointed to submit the customs declarations must be established in the UK and must be appointed on terms that make it jointly and severally liable for any customs duty and VAT due on the goods.


For more information on the government website click here.

Please get in touch with your usual contact at Garbutt + Elliott or send an email to Naveen Sahney on or Alex Millar on to find out how we can help.