Keep your business moving: Get ahead of new rules for doing business with the EU

1 December 2021

The rules on importing and exporting goods from the EU are changing on 1 January 2022. If your business isn’t ready for these changes when they take effect, you may be faced with serious delays, additional customs charges and other penalties, so make sure you know how the rules are changing, how they will affect your business operations and what you need to do to comply with the new regulations.

The rules changes are summarised below:


New requirements – Customs Declarations

You must complete customs declarations on imports from the EU to GB at the time you or your courier/freight forwarder bring them into GB. This means you will no longer be able to delay making import customs declarations.

Since 1 January 2021, you have been able to delay import declarations for a maximum of 175 days from when the goods arrived in the country. From 1 January 2022, full declarations must be made at the time of importing and cannot be delayed.

Visit and follow the step-by-step guide to make sure you’re prepared for new customs declaration rules. The 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.

You can also apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations for imports, which allows you to move goods into a customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration. You can find out more about how to apply for a simplified declaration at

Alternatively, you may have chosen someone to deal with import and export declarations on your behalf, such as a customs agent, courier or a freight forwarder. Information on how people can help you with customs can be found on


Rules of Origin

If you sell goods to the EU, or buy goods from the EU and bring them into the UK, you will need to be able to prove that they meet the rules of origin in order to use preferential tariffs.

To benefit from the preferential tariffs, you must have proof that:

– goods you import into the UK from the EU originate there

– goods you export to the EU originate in the UK

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. If you cannot prove your product’s origin, you cannot take advantage of the zero-tariff trade agreement with the EU.

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

For practical support with exporting your products, contact the Export Support Service online or by phone.


Pre-Notifying Imports

There are new requirements for importing some sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods, such as meat or plants, to GB from the EU.

You will be required 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 relevant IT system.

For guidance on importing food, go to:

For guidance on importing Animal By-Products, go to:

For guidance on Plant Products, go to:

Register for the relevant IT systems for animal and plant products now to ensure your business is prepared for prenotification requirements from 1 January 2022.

For animal products, go to:

For plant products, go to:


Check what you need to do

Visit and follow the step-by-step guide to prepare for import control changes.