What are UK customs and how do they work?

At Antonio Marco we are always willing to inform you about everything related to our Land Transport service for goods to the UK, both dry and refrigerated, and thus help you ensure that your products arrive in the best conditions even outside the EU, with all the professionalism, guarantee and experience that characterizes us.

New customs rules in the United Kingdom from January 1, 2022

Since January 2022, British companies have had the possibility of submitting deferred declarations for all of 2021. This customs facility had several advantages such as:
-Allow records of imported goods to be saved or delay the sending of customs declarations.
-Delay the payment corresponding to the rights up to 6 months. However, importers can still submit simplified customs declarations.

In addition, those importers who still receive goods from the EU will have to complete a customs import declaration. This is offered through HMRC, which allows importers to use an intermediary to submit the corresponding customs declarations.

Customs declarations can currently be submitted to CHIEF, or the new Customs Declaration Service (CDS). The information necessary for these movements is set out in the UK Trade Tariff.

The British government has announced that, from October 1, 2022, the only platform that will be used to carry out any import customs procedure in the United Kingdom will be the aforementioned CDS, so the CHIEF system will stop working for so.

In addition, hauliers belonging to the United Kingdom, as well as those outside the United Kingdom, must register with the GVMS (Goods Vehicle Movement Service), as long as they are:

  • An independent driver who transports goods and carries out his own customs procedures.
  • A company subcontracted to collect goods on behalf of another.
  • A logistics company, contracted to transport and carry out customs procedures on behalf of another.
  • A retail company that transports and declares its merchandise.

It should also be noted that you must have an Economic Operators Identification Registration (EORI) number for Great Britain, and an account on the government gateway, before registering.

What documents are needed to export to the United Kingdom from Spain in 2022?

After the end of the Brexit transition period, the United Kingdom will use the Common Transit Convention (CTC), which may provide benefits to merchants, since it allows some customs processes to be carried out outside its borders, so they will only have to make the corresponding customs declarations and pay import duties upon arrival at your final destination.

But what is needed to transport goods by land to the United Kingdom?
To move goods in accordance with the aforementioned CTC there are 3 differentiated functions:

  • Exit function.
  • Transit function.
  • Target function.


Both exit and destination functions can be completed at a customs office or approved location. However, for transit functions, a customs office is needed upon arrival of goods in the new customs territory, either on the same border or close to it.

Export to the United Kingdom from Spain 2022.

If you are an authorized consignee, transit begins on NCTS with a Local Reference Number (LRN).

Using the NCTS, the transit accompaniment document is created. It should be noted that the LRN is not a TAD.

The carrier must carry a paper copy of the TAD, which includes the MRN, to accompany the shipment and present at the border.

Special Customs Procedures:

Special Customs Procedures can be used to suspend, reduce or claim an exemption on the payment of customs duties and VAT under specific conditions.
Special procedures include:

  1. Customs Warehouse: Goods that are not in free circulation are stored without payment of customs duties.
  2. Active Processing: Import VAT and special taxes on products will be temporarily suspended while processing is carried out.
  3. Passive Processing: Temporary export of goods for processing and reimportation of processed products while remaining in domestic status or with a partial exemption from import duties.
  4. Temporary Admission: Authorizes companies and individuals that are outside the UK to import goods with partial or total extension of customs duties.
  5. Authorized Use:Reduce or eliminate customs duty rates on certain imported goods.


United Kingdom Customs Management Models according to entry point

Two customs management models are established, depending on the place from which the merchandise is imported. Thus, border entry points in the United Kingdom that receive goods from the EU will be able to choose between two models:

  • Temporary Storage Model, in which the merchandise can be stored at the border for up to 90 days before being declared at customs.

This means that traders can defer customs declaration and payment of duties and taxes for up to 90 days from the date of presentation of the goods.
An authorization is required to obtain the installation with a temporary deposit system.
Here you can see how to apply for this authorization:  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/temporary-storage

  • Previous Clearance Model (Pre-lodgement model), in this the presentation of a customs declaration will be required before the shipment of the merchandise. This model is developed as an alternative for ports that do not have the space and infrastructure to operate according to the temporary storage model.

For this model, the company must:

1. Verify that all goods have the appropriate declarations before shipping.

2. Inform the person who controls the merchandise (truck driver for accompanied merchandise or carrier for unaccompanied merchandise) if it is cleared upon arrival at customs to continue its journey or needs control.

HMRC has developed a new platform to support the pre-clearance model called the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS). For additional information about this platform, you can consult this specific guide.

How much do you pay for UK customs?

The tariffs applicable to imports of goods from the United Kingdom can be consulted at this link: https://www.gov.uk/check-tariffs-1-january-2021.

UK tariff calculations will be established based on the code of each merchandise, as well as its place of origin.

However, there are certain goods that may benefit from a reduction or exemption from customs duties. To find out which ones, you can check here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-if-you-can-pay-a-reduced-rate-of-customs-duty.

What happens if I don’t pay customs fees?

Customs fees are required for any import into the UK since Brexit.
Once transit movements arrive in the United Kingdom, the goods and the transit accompanying document (TAD) must be presented at the transit office. If this is not done, the deposited guarantees will not be released and the merchandise will not be able to be released for free circulation when it reaches its destination.

This process can be completed digitally using the GVMS service, transporters will be required to submit MRN and their vehicle registrations before checking in at the port of departure. This information will be evaluated during the journey to the UK and the person responsible for the merchandise will be notified if the trip can continue or requires control.

Currently, some ports still have the option of operating a paper-based transit office, if this circumstance occurs, carriers will be required to present their merchandise and the TAD to port customs officers.

What VAT is paid in the United Kingdom?

Since January 1, 2021, shipments from the United Kingdom to Spain, as between the rest of the EU and the United Kingdom, are subject to the VAT rules applicable to imports and exports.

Any export of goods will be exempt from intra-community VAT if it is transported to a territory located outside the EU, such as the United Kingdom since Brexit, so they must always adapt to what is established by the delivery terms and conditions obligations derived from the INCOTERM that is used.

In general, imports of goods will use the VAT rate corresponding to sales of these same goods in the United Kingdom. These are:

  • General rate: 20%. Most products and services.
  • Reduced rate: 5%. Some products and services, such as car seats for children or energy for homes.
  • Zero rate: 0%. Zero-rated products such as most food or children’s clothing.

When applying British VAT there are two different types of schemes, depending on whether or not the intrinsic value of the goods exceeds GBP 135.

For exports whose value does not exceed GBP 135: they will be subject to Great Britain VAT and the corresponding import clearance, although they will be free of tariffs if any.

For exports with a value greater than GBP 135: they will be subject to the general VAT rules, corresponding to customs clearance, payment of duties, and import VAT will be applied.

At Antonio Marco, we seek to offer you the greatest facilities for the export of your products, both to countries within the EU and outside, such as the United Kingdom, helping you with all the information you need and facilitating the growth and globalization of your company.