A comprehensive guide on Importing Excise Goods can be found here.
Businesses importing excise goods into GB will have to complete a customs import declaration. This can be a full or simplified declaration (the simplified declaration available to importers of excise goods from the EU is the same as is available to importers from RoW). Excise duty will be collected following the same rules that apply for RoW.
All excise duty will be collected via CHIEF/CDS. The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) system will be switched off for receipts from the EU.
Excise importers will be able to enter excise goods into excise duty suspension as they can do now for RoW imports.
The Excise Movement and Control System (EMCS) will continue to operate but solely for internal UK duty suspended movements, including movements from the port to the importer’s warehouse.
Specific requirements for parcels, tobacco and alcohol
Specific guidance is available on importing tobacco and alcohol products.
Excise duty on parcels containing excise goods will be collected by the parcel operator from the recipient in the UK (along with any VAT and customs duty). This is in line with current RoW excise parcel process.
To import excise duty goods, a GB EORI number will be required.
Importers wishing to import to excise duty suspension will also need to be approved as a Registered Consignor (or seek the services of one) to declare the goods onto EMCS. An excise movement guarantee must be in place (if required) for duty suspended imports to cover the movement from the port to the warehouse.
To defer the payment of excise duty due on importation, traders or their representatives will need to apply for a Deferment Account Number (DAN). HMRC are introducing new rules that will allow most businesses to use duty deferment without needing to obtain a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG). This easement will not apply to businesses that have a history of non- compliance or are insolvent.
All excise imports will be declared through the CHIEF/CDS system. Domestic duty suspended movements will also be declared on the EMCS system.
Intelligence led checks at the frontier will continue to be carried out by Border Force.
1.1.1 Other Goods
Bottled water will not be subject to specific border check requirements and does not need to enter GB via a BCP.
Documentary and/or physical checks, to determine that the core components have been completed, may occur various points through the import process as per all goods. These checks may include taking a sample of the goods being imported and may be undertaken after the goods have been released from the border; this may include taking a sample of the goods being imported.
At the point of sale, aside customary safety and compositional standards for all bottled waters, natural mineral waters (NMWs) will need to carry an extra non-tariff barrier (NTB) – i.e. the recognition in line GB legislation – which will be checked by enforcement authorities to ensure the NMWs is allowed to be marketed in GB.
Process Map: Bottled Water
Drug precursor chemicals are controlled by the Home Office, given that they can also be used to produce illicit drugs – despite having legitimate uses.
Drug precursor chemicals are divided into categories reflecting the risks associated with these. Information on drug precursor chemicals and their categorisations can be found here.
If an import licence is required, then the following applies:
Import licences can only be issued to holders of a valid domestic licence/registration.
Importers must register for a National Drugs Control System (NDS) account to apply for import or export licences.
Individual import licences are required every time a shipment takes place.
Import licence holders must match the owner of the goods (importer) on the customs import declarations. An import licence can name an intermediary acting on the licence holders’ behalf for this purpose.
All import licences are normally valid for 3 months.
Process Map: Drugs Precursors
Certain chemicals can be used in the illicit manufacture of explosives or to cause harm. Anyone who wants to acquire, import, possess or use these chemicals must have a valid explosives precursors and poisons (EPP) licence issued by the Home Office and an associated photographic identity document.
Anyone who wants to acquire or import sulfuric acid above 15% by weight will also require an explosives precursors and poisons (EPP) licence.
The Poisons Act 1972 lists all regulated and reportable substances, including details of concentration thresholds. A list can also be found here.
There is no requirement for regulated substances or EPP licences to be presented to Border Force at the border.
The licence application process will include a series of questions to check whether a licence is required. It will provide prompts for the necessary documents.
On receipt of application and payment, the Home Office will conduct checks into suitability, including criminal record and health checks.
Offences that might be considered relevant to these checks are listed in due diligence checks.
Once a decision on an application has been reached, the Home Office will write to the applicant. If accepted, a licence will be posted to the applicant separately.
There is specific advice for home users on the Poisons Act 1972 and the Control of Poisons and Explosives Precursors Regulations 2015.
Import licences, issued by the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Import Licensing Branch, are required to commercially import firearms. This includes firearms component parts, ammunition, noise suppressors and bump stocks.
For permanent imports of non-commercial firearms – people importing their own firearm – an import licence is not required. The importer must ensure that there is space on their domestic possession authority to allow possession of the imported firearm. This authority will need to be presented at the border for checking.
For temporary imports of non-commercial firearms – people importing their own firearms into GB on a temporary basis, e.g. for a shooting competition – a British Visitors Passport (BVP) will be needed, issued by the UK police.
Commercial imports of firearms: the licence check is done electronically by the HMRC National Clearing Hub through the information declared in the customs declaration on CHIEF/CDS. If the goods don’t have a valid UK import licence, Border Force will seize the goods at the border. An importer (commercial or personal) of firearms must present a valid UK import licence or UK firearms certificate if asked by a Border Force officer.
For commercial firearms, importers will need to register on DIT’s Import Case Management System (ICMS). Further information on the application process for a license can be found on this website.
Applications for more than one type of firearm can be made at the same time. An obsolete calibre import licence can be requested if the firearm is on the Home Office firearms obsolete calibre list. The list can be found in Annex 5 of the Home Office guide on Firearms licensing law, 2016.
The outcome of the application for a license – whether it has been granted, refused, or if further information is required – will be communicated through a notification on the ICMS.
Process Map: Firearms
All non-food consumer products imported (whether from EU or Rest of World) into GB must meet the UK’s existing safety and labelling requirements detailed here.
Although the current provisions originate in European legislation, these have been transposed into UK regulations, over many years, and will remain in place beyond 31 December 2020.
Whereas non-food consumer products imported from the RoW have always needed to meet the UK’s existing product safety and labelling standards requirements, non-food consumer products imported into GB from the EU from 1 January 2021 will also need to meet the same requirements.
The legal obligations for the manufacture of products are those that are detailed in current EU legislation (which will be implemented in UK) known as harmonised legislation. There are different regulations for different product categories.
There are varying obligations (depending on the relevant legislation) on economic operators within the supply chain (i.e. manufacturers, importers, and distributors) which include producing a declaration of conformity with essential requirements, technical documentation and marking products accurately and properly with the CE mark (as now) or with the appropriate conformity marking (from 1 January 2021).
For other consumer goods a general safety obligation applies which can be met by complying with harmonised standards.
The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 has the power of retaining EU-derived legislation, including product safety and metrology legislation, in domestic UK law. Secondary legislation will amend this retained legislation to address deficiencies and take into account the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement.
A decision about a safety intervention at the border is based on risk assessments to determine whether a product poses a potential serious risk. The UK takes a risk-based, intelligence-led approach to the checking of products.
In line with current arrangements, checks may take place at the border or inland.
Market surveillance authorities such as (and principally Local Authority Trading Standards Officers) work with border authorities (i.e. Border Force) at ports and other entry points and deal with consumer products that potentially pose a serious risk or may be non-compliant.
In addition to border checks for products covered by safety legislation, risk-based interventions by the market surveillance authorities may occur throughout the distribution chain and as a result of a specific issue.
Iin line with current arrangements, checks will be undertaken through a risk-based, intelligence-led approach. The UK adheres to the obligation that it undertakes ‘appropriate checks on an adequate scale’.
Where products have been flagged for checks, this may entail documentary and physical checks, whatever the market surveillance authority deems necessary to discharge the obligations. This may include submitting products for external technical testing. The EU Regulation on accreditation and market surveillance (765/2008) requires ‘appropriate checks on the characteristics of products on an adequate scale’.
Veterinary medicines imported from the EU that are authorised for use in the UK will not be subject to additional import requirements. A list of authorised veterinary medicines is available here.
The veterinary medicinal product must be authorised for use in the UK, unless imported under the Special Import Scheme (for which a valid licence must be shown). Importers can apply for this online.
An import licence is required to import veterinary medicines that contain drug precursor chemicals (‘controlled drugs’) as ingredients.
There are no specific import transport requirements for veterinary medicines (i.e. they do not need to enter via a Border Control Post).
Location of Checks
Border Force will continue to conduct checks on imported veterinary medicinal products on a risk- based approach. Veterinary medicines that contain drug precursor chemicals (‘controlled drugs’) as ingredients will be subject to additional checks (see 1.2.5 Drugs Precursors).
Process Map: Veterinary Medicines
Process Map: Veterinary Medicines – Special Importer Scheme
The UK is a party to the Basel Convention and a member of the Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development (OECD). Therefore, the UK will be treated in the same way as any other OECD country or any country party to the Basel convention that intends to import waste from an EU country.
In broad terms, the current waste shipments procedures will still apply. There will, however, be some new requirements for the movement of waste between GB and the EU after the end of the transition period.
The rules for shipping non-notified waste or ‘Green List’ waste between the GB and the EU for recycling will stay the same.
For waste shipments from the EU to GB, EU countries will not be allowed to export waste for disposal, or export mixed municipal waste for recovery, to GB under EU law.
Further information on categories of waste can be found online.
The rules require:
• waste exporters to complete waste notification and waste movement forms with details of the Customs Office of Exit from the EU and, if relevant, the Customs Office of Entry into the EU*
• waste carriers must provide a copy of the waste movement document to the Customs Office of Exit into the EU, and, if relevant, the Customs Office of Entry into the EU, if requested (if exporting through Germany, a copy of the waste movement document must always be provided)
• UK operators should check that any transport of waste within the EU is carried out by an appropriately authorised waste carrier
‘Green list’ waste coming into GB or being exported from GB, must be accompanied by an Annex VII form (which describes the waste, where it came from, where it is going) and the exporter must have a written contract with the destination facility. Guidance on how to complete the Annex VII form and Article 18 controls can be found here.
*Please note that some EU Member States require shipments of waste to enter, or exit, though a designated Customs Office. Below is the current list of the custom offices designated for the entry of waste shipments into and their exit from the EU: Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary. The list can be found here.
Further guidance is available for GB businesses that intend on importing waste from the EU to GB can be found here.
Location of checks
There is no requirement for ‘Green List’ or non-notified waste shipments, to move through a designated point of exit into the EU or entry into the UK.
Process Map: Green List Waste
Medicines, Medical Isotopes, Clinical Trial Supplies, Controlled Drugs, Substances of Human Origin
For imports of medicines, regulatory licensing information will need to be included as part of new customs declarations forms and systems. The requirements for regulatory licensing information are subject to negotiations between the UK and EU.
For medical radioisotope products, declaration and clearance policies and processes will reflect rest of the world arrangements and the core importing operating model.
MHRA Licence Requirements
Guidance on the requirements for importing medicines, including unlicensed medicines can be found here and here.
Regulatory licences will still be needed. The acceptance of European Medicines Agency licences is subject to negotiations between EU/UK. The relevant Manufacturer’s Licence (MIA) / Wholesale Dealer Authorisation (WDA) / Active substance registrations should be represented on the relevant customs declaration.
If a Member State’s own licensed medicine is being imported from a non-EEA country, then this will have to be under a Manufactures License (also known as MIA). Member State procedures will also apply, unless the UK’s process and licences are recognised by the European Commission/EEA.
Controlled Drugs (CDs)
Controlled Drug import licences must be physically presented at the border for import and this requirement will continue from 1 January 2021. If this does not happen, these goods will be subject to inspection, further delays and the importer could be charged as it is an offence to fail to comply with licensing obligations. The penalties for non-compliance are detailed on the National Crime Agency’s website.
Controlled drugs are drugs named in the misuse of drugs legislation. The most common ones can be found on the controlled drugs list. The full lists can be found in both the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and schedules 1 – 5 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.
For medical radioisotopes, clearance processes by UK customs officials at airports will be as frictionless as possible to avoid delays. HMRC will maintain their current two-hour customs clearance commitment for urgent goods. UK regulations will maintain existing requirements for storage capacity and premises registration with the Environment Agency.
Forms to apply for different medicine licences can be found here. These need to be emailed to the MHRA using the details provided on the forms. The process for Wholesaler Dealer Application (H) and variations can be found here.
Information on the import of Controlled Drugs can be found here. Importers will need an NDS account (National Drugs control System) to apply for an import or export licence. More information can be found through the user guide here.
Importers will need a domestic licence before applying for an NDS account. Importers without a valid domestic licence will have their request cancelled. More information can be found here.
Once an account is approved, importers will need to provide information about their overseas trading partners and the products being imported.
Checks will continue to be made at individual elements of the supply chain rather than at the border. There will not be any regulatory border checks on the products as they move through this process.
Process Map: Medicines
Substances of Human Origin
For Substances of Human Origin (SoHO), which includes blood, blood components, organs, tissues and cells, there are no additional border requirements specified in the SoHO legislation. For specific regulatory information, such as import authorisation and traceability requirements, please contact your regulator.