Logo of the Dutch government

Brexit: the Border Operating Model

This information is provided by

Brexitloket |

The United Kingdom (UK) is gradually introducing new import rules and border controls. This is done in three phases, based on the Border Operating Model (BOM). It affects all exports to the UK.

Since 1 January 2020, the European Union (EU) treats incoming trade from the UK as trade from a third country, a country outside the EU. The UK has drawn up its own new rules that are described in the BOM. This is separate from the trade agreement reached by the EU and the UK. So far, the UK has only introduced the initial phases of the BOM. Below is a brief overview of the import rules and border controls that will apply to these products when exported to the UK.

Please note: the BOM is still under development. This can lead to additional obligations and changes up to the last minute. Be aware of this. For more information, see the BOM on the UK government website.

Phase 1: valid from 1 January 2021

  • Import rules and border controls apply to a limited group of products on the so-called 'controlled list'.
  • Some examples of goods on the 'controlled list' are: alcohol, tobacco, (bio) fuel, medicines and protected animal and plant species. The full list can also be found on pages 274 to 281 of the BOM.
  • Import regulations and border controls apply to certain animal and vegetable products. This includes plants and vegetable products, packaging wood, (high-risk) animal by-products, products of animal origin subject to safeguard measures, live animals and fish products and shellfish and crustaceans.
  • Registered importers may postpone the import declaration for ‘standard goods’ (goods that are not on the controlled list) for six months.
  • No security declaration or entry summary declaration (ENS) is required before the transport arrives in the UK.

Phase 2: from 1 October 2021 and 1 January 2022

In Phase 2, new import rules apply to agricultural products and foodstuffs such as vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, plants, dairy, eggs, meat and certain fishery products.

Phase 3: postponed

Phase 3 was scheduled to come into effect on 1 January 2022. This meant that most goods imports into the UK must meet all requirements and obligations. Only 'low risk product' will not need to meet all formalities yet. The proposed changes included:

  • Customs declarations in the UK can no longer be postponed.
  • Product exports to the UK that are required to carry veterinary health certificates (live animals, meat, dairy products) must now pass a designated border control post in the UK. This also applies to 'high risk' vegetable agricultural goods such as trees and perennials.
  • Before the transport arrives in the UK, a ‘security declaration’ or ‘entry summary declaration’ (ENS) must be submitted to English customs.

Updates and Target Operating Model

The veterinary and phytosanitary certification of 'low-risk' products (vegetables, fruits, plants, and flowers) and these product passing a designated border control post in the UK has been postponed until end 2023. It will become part of the Target Operating Model (TOM) that will replace BOM. Information about TOM will be published soon. Read more.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions about the Border Operating Model (BOM), we advise you to consult the British government, see links below. You can also contact the NVWA.

The website Get ready for Brexit will guide you through the customs rules for all transport of goods between the EU and the UK.

Dutch central government

Brexit information on

Brexit information: Agriculture, fisheries & food

Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA, in Dutch). Some information is available in English.

Export rules to UK from Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) (in Dutch)

UK government

GOV.UK: Border Operating Model (BOM)

GOV.UK: Overview for EU exporters

British Embassy in The Hague or ask your questions by email to the British Embassy in The Hague:

GOV.UK: a series of webinars about border requirements

This information is provided by

FAQPartnersContactAbout usDisclaimerPrivacy and cookiesAccessibilityOndernemersplein (Dutch) is an initiative of:Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVKNetherlands Enterprise Agency, RVOImmigration and Naturalisation Service, INDTax and Customs Administration, BelastingdienstGovernment.nlStatistics Netherlands, CBSNetherlands Vehicle Authority, RDWDigital Trust CenterEuropean Commission Point of Single is the Dutch Point of Single Contact for entrepreneurs.Accessibility level: W3C WAI-AA WCAG 2.1