Brexit: Upcoming Changes in Border Control in the United Kingdom


Since Brexit started, there has been no change in how companies in the European Union should handle importing goods from the United Kingdom. The European Union opted for complete border control from the immediate start of Brexit. The British Government chose a phased approach for companies exporting from the United Kingdom or importing into the United Kingdom.

We are on the brink of another critical moment in the Brexit timeline. As of January 1st 2022, the British Government will take the following steps in their phased approach to border control and trade between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

Import Declarations

The most significant change has to do with import declarations. Until now, companies importing goods into the United Kingdom have been able to do this with postponed import declarations. The import declarations could be created after the fact and submitted within six months of the actual import of the goods. This arrangement will end on January 1st.

Goods Vehicle Movement Service

Another essential change applies to transporting goods from the European Union into the United Kingdom. Transport companies will need to register their shipment in the new Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) system of the British Customs Authority. Companies exporting goods to the United Kingdom should coordinate closely with their transport company to ensure the goods can be transported to your end customer in the United Kingdom without delay.

Until January 1st 2022, the GVMS system was only used for moving goods from the European Union to the United Kingdom under the Common Transit Convention. This limitation will end, and all moving goods need to be registered.

The Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) is an inventory system designed to speed up clearances of vehicles arriving from the EU by allowing pre-lodgement of the manifest. When goods are shipped from China, there is ample time to process documents and clear shipments. The ferry from the European Union reaches the United Kingdom in two hours, which means trucks could end up waiting for clearance, creating delays and blockage at the port.

Pre-notification for Foods and Agricultural Products

If you are exporting foods and agricultural products from the European Union to the United Kingdom, you will need to send a pre-notification to British Customs about your shipment in the PEACH system. If you are shipping these products by plane, you need to do so at least four hours before, and for other modes of transport, you need to submit your pre-notification a day early.

Another important change will be on July 1st 2022, when companies exporting flowers, vegetables, and fruit to the United Kingdom will need to add a phytosanitary certificate to their shipment documentation.

Importers of Foods and Agricultural Products will also face stricter controls in the United Kingdom.

Brexit: Three Things Companies Should Be Aware Of

Other than the upcoming changes described above, companies trading between the United Kingdom and the European Union should be aware of three things.

  1. Know Your Flow. Companies should be aware of their flow of goods and look into the smartest strategy for EU-UK trade.
  2. Come to Terms. Be aware of the impact of the Incoterms that you choose. We advise sellers to export the goods and buyers to arrange to import the goods.
  3. Documentation Up Front. Make sure all your documents are in order before shipping out your goods. The transit time is so short, that there is ample time to correct anything.

Read more here.

If you have any questions about the implications of Brexit on your operation, contact one of our experts. They are happy to help take the load off your mind.