Brexit : what are the customs clearance procedures?

What is Brexit?

In 2016, following a state-initiated referendum, the British population voted by a majority for the UK to leave the European Union. As a result, as of January 1, 2021, European rules no longer apply in the United Kingdom. For example, customs formalities and controls have been reinstated in all cases, and apply to the transport of goods. It is imperative that companies and individuals are aware of these changes for their shipments.

Brexit: how to deal with the new customs procedures?

Brexit has forced both individuals and businesses to adopt new reflexes when doing any type of trade with the UK. At Upela, we have prepared a mini-guide to familiarize you with the customs formalities following Brexit.

Brexit: what should my company do? 

The FTA (Free Trade Agreement) was concluded on December 24, 2020, the regulations for trade between the United Kingdom and the European Union were put in place.

We therefore strongly recommend that you find out about the new Brexit rules from the European Commission website.

Customs declaration

With Brexit now effective, when trading with the UK you will systematically have to make a customs declaration. This declaration is a 54 block document, which can be filled in either by yourself or by a customs clearance professional.

This must be deposited at the competent customs office, the one at which the goods are presented: 

  • either at the time of presentation of the goods to customs
  • either within 30 days prior to the presentation of the goods to the competent customs office (advance customs declaration).

This declaration is used to : 

  • calculate duties and taxes ;
  • establish international trade statistics;
  • carry out targeted controls
TIP:Save time by filling out the Customs Obligations insert on our site directly when you ship. We automatically transmit this information to the carriers. The procedure is digitalized and you will not need to deposit this declaration in a customs office.

Get your EORI number

What is EORI? The Economic Operator Registration and Identification, is an identifier that will be necessary from now on in order to carry out any type of trade between the United Kingdom and a country of the European Union. The EORI identifier is only necessary if you are a professional (industrial or e-commerce), individuals do not need to have the EORI. 

At the end of the transition period to Brexit, this identifier will be essential in order to export any type of goods to the UK or to import British products

  • If you are shipping from the UK to France, you will need to register with the UK authorities. You must have an EORI UK ID.  If you do not have such an ID, you can register today.
  • Your consignee will have to register with the French authorities and have an EORI FR ID in order to import any type of goods into France. 

When is an EORI FR number required in addition to the EORI UK?

If you are a British company and have a subsidiary in France or if the commercial contract stipulates that you (buyer or seller) are responsible for declaring the import and export.

Registering with HMRC 

HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) is the UK government body responsible for collecting taxes and paying for certain services from the state. 

When does HMRC come into effect? 

When you are shipping BtoC to the UK with a value of less than £135, you must: obtain an EORI ID and register for VAT with HMRC 

When you are shipping goods BtoB and/or to the UK with a value of more than £135, you need to obtain an EORI number, there is no need to register for VAT with HMRC

How do I register? 

You must register with HMRC to receive their registration number and then add the registration number to all commercial invoices for shipments to the UK.

Consult the applicable customs duties and taxes

Trade between the EU and the UK will be subject to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. All shipments will be subject to customs clearance and controls, and goods shipped from the EU to the UK and vice versa will be subject to customs duties. We recommend that you are aware of the different rules that will be in place regarding export to the UK

If you have the status of EURL, SARL or SAS, you have an identifier that allows you to :

  • buy tax-free in the EU 
  • recover VAT when importing from a third country 
  • export tax-free

If you are an auto-entrepreneur : 

  • you will pay VAT on imported goods without being able to deduct it 
  • you will pay VAT on exported goods

The commercial invoice

Your invoice must include :  

  • EORI number (registered in each respective country)
  • Precise description of the goods, HS Codes (Harmonized Customs Code)
  • Value of the goods
  • Country of origin
  • Reason for export and the chosen Incoterms.
  • Addresses and contact information of the sender and receiver.

Make sure that your goods are not subject to special regulations

In order to ensure that you can trade with peace of mind, we have prepared a list of goods that are prohibited or regulated for export. Notwithstanding the existence of this list, once again, it is strongly advised to check with the UK customs regulations.

Incoterms rules in its international transactions strategy 

The company is responsible for its customs operations, regardless of the Incoterm and the customs clearance method chosen. The Incoterms rules (International Commercial Terms) are a set of predefined commercial conditions used in international commercial transactions. 

The applicable Incoterms may need to be specified on the commercial invoice that must accompany each shipment. All regulations are still unclear at this time, so this is a possibility to be considered. 

An anticipated, controlled and secured customs clearance is a factor of fluidity, compliance and agility on international markets. Unanticipated, uncontrolled and unsecured customs clearance is a risk of delayed delivery of goods (error, malfunction, control...) and can therefore lead to poor relations with your customers. The customs clearance process is at the heart of the import-export ecosystem: all internal stakeholders must exchange.

At Upela, what does it change? 

Globally, the offers from our carriers remain the same, despite a possible increase on some offers. 

The delivery times will also not be changed, in case you are in good standing. 

In order to have additional information on Brexit and the changes that it may bring, we invite you to visit the website of the customs of the country of your shipment.

  • Chronopost: a supplement of 5€ per parcel will be added to the Classic and Express offers (the Europe to UK relay is suspended)
  • Colissimo: interruption of the delivery services outside home.
  • DPD : brexit

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