Everything you need to know about the post-transition border plan

Blogs 20 Nov 2020

The UK government’s Border Operating Model (BOM) is the plan detailing the processes and systems, across all government departments, that will be used at the borders of Great Britain from 1 January 2021.

What will this mean?

Customs declarations

Import VAT

  • VAT will be levied on consignments of EU goods exceeding £135 in value following the same rates and structures as are applied for the Rest of the World imports.
  • VAT-registered importers will be able to use postponed VAT accounting and different rules will apply to consignments valued less than £135.

UK Global Tariff

  • Importers will need to pay customs duties under the new UK Global Tariff, unless the import is covered by the preferential terms of a UK free trade agreement.
  • Duty will need to be paid on the basis of the origin, classification and customs value of the imported goods.


Safety and Security declarations

  • Not required for EU-to-GB standard goods until July 2021
  • Products of animal origin will require pre-notification of relevant health documentation from April 2021. 

Temporary Storage and Pre-lodgement models at ports

  • Temporary Storage model:  imported goods can be stored at the frontier for up to 90 days before being declared to customs
  • Pre-lodgement model: a customs declaration will be submitted in advance of boarding on the EU side.

Goods Vehicle Movement Services

  • Will be used in Northern Ireland from 1 January and for imports to Great Britain from 1 January for transit movements and thereafter as checks are introduced.
  • Full use from July 2021.
  • Goods moving between GB, NI and onto the EU will be governed by the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Next steps...

Sending goods from GB to NI?

The UK will leave the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union when the transition period ends on 31 December 2020. 

From 1 January 2021, the Northern Ireland Protocol will take effect, at which point customs declarations as well as safety and security declarations will be needed for goods moving from GB to NI to ensure: 

  • Tariffs are not paid on trade within the UK  
  • Northern Ireland can benefit from UK Free Trade Agreements 
  • Goods destined for Ireland (i.e. the EU) pay tariffs when they should.  

What is the Trader Support Service?

The Trader Support Service will support companies with the changes to Northern Ireland trade which take effect on 1 January 2021. The free-to-use service will provide guidance and training, a digital service to support declarations, and support from customs experts.

Next steps…

Access HMRC grants for customs declarations training

Grant funding is available to help businesses train staff in making customs declarations.

How much is available?

The grant will give up to 100% of the cost of training for employees, up to a limit of £1,500 per trainee. It will also cover the cost of in-house training up to a limit of £1,500 for each employee on the course. 

Who is eligible?

  • Businesses that are established in or have a branch in the UK.
  • Those that have not previously failed to meet tax obligations.
  • Businesses must either complete customs declarations for their own business or someone else (or intend to in the future).
  • Must import from or export to the EU.

Which courses can I take?

The Institute of Export and International Trade has a range of training courses and qualifications that the funding can be used against, as well as the UK Customs Academy courses.


About the author

The Institute of Export and International Trade is the professional membership body representing and supporting the interests of everyone involved in importing, exporting and international trade.

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