Import border control delayed by six months

11 Mar 2021

The UK Government has, today (11 March 2021), revised its timetable for introducing import border control processes to enable UK businesses to focus on their business recovery.

The Government has listened to businesses who have faced an unprecedented challenge during the Coronavirus and will now introduce full border control processes on 1 January 2022, six months later than originally planned.

The postponement will provide businesses with further time to prepare for changes at the border during a global health pandemic and minimise disruption as the economy gradually reopens.

The revised timetable is as follows:

Delayed until 1 October 2021

  • Checks on agri-food and feed (including products of animal origin (POAO), certain animal by-products (ABP), and high-risk food not of animal origin (HRFNAO), and export health certificates for POAO and certain ABP will now be implemented from 1 October 2021, instead of 1 April 2021.

Delayed until 1 January 2022

  • Entry Safety and Security (ENS) declarations for imports delayed from 1 July 2021 until 1 January 2022.
  • Import declarations are still required, but deferred declaration scheme (e.g., Customs Freight Simplified Procedures), including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, extended from 1 July 2021 to 1 January 2022.
  • Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks, including phytosanitary certificates will be required for low-risk plants and plant products, and will be introduced from 1 January 2022. 
  • Physical Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks on high-risk plants and agri-food and feed (including products of animal origin and high-risk foods not of animal origin) will take place at Border Control Posts, rather than at the place of destination as now, from 1 January 2022. Different rules may apply under the devolved administrations of Scotland and Wales.

Delayed until March 2022

  • From March 2022, checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low-risk plants and plant products

Imports of controlled goods into Great Britain will continue to require a full customs declaration.

The Government is confident that this new timetable will enable import businesses to re-establish their trading arrangements after a difficult past 12 months.

Despite the initial dip in freight volumes between the UK and EU in January due to the Covid-19 restrictions, pre-January stockpiling, and some initial teething problems, the Government’s latest data shows that overall freight volumes between the UK and the EU have largely returned to normal levels since 1 February 2021.

According to the Office of National Statistics, UK exports to the EU reduced by nearly 41% in January. In the same month, exports to mainland Europe also fell £5.6 billion in the month.  Imports from the EU also fell by nearly 29% compared with the global imports decline of 21.6%.


Partial source: Gov.UK