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.
In April 2022, the UK government announced that phase 3 would be postponed and no further controls would be introduced in 2022. More updates will follow.
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.
- From 1 October 2021, products of animal origin, such as cheese, meat and dairy products, must have a veterinary health certificate
- From 1 January 2022, agricultural products such as cut flowers, fruit and vegetables must have a phytosanitary certificate for export to the UK.
- The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) or another inspection service issues phytosanitary and veterinary health certificates, based on UK prescriptions. Check the Agriculture, fisheries & food page for an overview of inspection bodies.
- From 1 January 2022, for products with phytosanitary and veterinary health certificates, your trading partner, the UK importer, must pre-notify the shipment in the UK IT system known as the 'Import of products, animals, food and feed system' ( IPAFFS).
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.
Q&A about the Brexit
There is an extensive Q&A about the Brexit Trade Agreement available on the website of the European Commission. It explains what the new rules mean for different sectors, such as trade in goods, fisheries and road transport. There are nine chapters in total and you can search per sector. Note that this Q&A was published in December 2020 and therefore speaks of a draft agreement.
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
Export rules to UK from Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) (in Dutch)
GOV.UK: a series of webinars about border requirements