1. What are the key steps I should take as an importer to prepare for the end of the Transition Period?

Actions to take in preparation for the future:

  • Register for a GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. Get an UK EORI number
  • Decide if you want to make customs declarations yourself, or appoint a Customs Intermediary. If you decide not to use an intermediary, you will need to make declarations yourself. To do this you will need to get access to HMRC systems and to purchase software. You could be entitled to financial help to help your business complete customs declarations.
  • Ensure your Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) outlining the delivery and shipping responsibilities are correct and up to date.
  • Apply for a Duty Deferment Account. Traders who import goods regularly may benefit from having a duty deferment account (DDA). This enables customs charges including customs duty, excise duty, and import VAT to be paid once a month through Direct Debit instead of being paid on individual consignments.
  • Prepare to pay or account for VAT on imported goods. VAT registered traders will be able to account for import VAT on their VAT return by using postponed VAT accounting from 1 January 2021. Unless they are eligible to defer their supplementary declarations, they will not be compelled to use postponed VAT accounting.
  • Ensure drivers have correct International Driving Permits. Hauliers need to ensure their drivers have the correct documentation, for example an international driving permit (IDP) or an additional licence may be required to drive in some countries. More information will be provided on GOV.UK as the requirements are clarified.

Additional actions for Customs and VAT processes:

  • Check suitability for facilitations Section 1.1.5 and Section 4.1.5. of the Border Operation Model document that will make processes smoother.
  • Find the right commodity code for your goods.
  • Businesses importing goods into GB should ensure they are familiar with using the ‘Trade with the UK’ tool which provides detailed information on tariffs, taxes and rules. The tariffs shown are those currently being applied until 1 January 2021. Use the UK Global Tariff tool to check the tariffs that will apply to goods imported from 1 January 2021.
  • Check whether any duty relief schemes apply– these let you pay less (or no) duty on imports.

The following link brings together Customs, VAT and Excise EU Exit legislation and Customs notices that have the force of law applicable to UK transition: Customs, VAT and Excise UK transition legislation from 1 January 2021’’


You must share your notification reference with your customs agent

 From 1 January 2022, staged customs controls are ending on goods imported from the EU. All consignments must be accompanied by a full customs import declaration that is submitted before the goods arrive at the EU point of departure.

Depending on the system used, your customs agent will need to include your IPAFFS’ notification reference number (IMP.GB. 202X.XXXXXXX), as a licence number following the country code and licence type CVD in Box 44 on CHIEF or in the document identifier segment of DE 2/3 (Documents produced) on CDS following the country code and licence type CHD.

 In box 44 or DE 2/3, the CHED document code should still be used to reflect the commodity (live animals, plants and plant products, high risk foods and animal products) that you are importing to ensure successful tariff validation.

 You need to ensure that you share the IPAFFS’ notification reference number with your customs agent. Your customs agent must enter this number to submit the declaration. Failure to notify and provide this information will delay your custom agent’s ability to complete the declaration and could therefore delay the departure of your consignment.

 For more information on customs requirements from 1 January 2022 please refer to gov.uk/transition.