Guidance Part 1 Tariff Supplement for CDS Volume 3 for the Northern Ireland Protocol

29 December 2020 –


For the purposes of this document, the following definitions will apply.

AEOCAuthorised Economic Operator customs simplification
CDSCustoms Declaration Service
CEDEERThe Customs (Export Duty) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
CIDEERThe Customs (Import Duty) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018
EORIEconomic Operators Registration and Identification
EUThe 27 member states of the European Union (for example, France or Ireland etc)
EU MSEU Member State
EU Special Fiscal TerritoriesSpecial fiscal territory of an EU member state (for example, Mount Athos or the Aland Islands etc)
EU TariffThe integrated Common External Tariff of the EU (including measures, prohibitions restrictions and duty rates applied by the EU)
GBEngland, Scotland and Wales (also including the Isle of Man) – But excluding Northern Ireland
GVMSGoods Vehicle Movement Service
NINorthern Ireland (see XI for prefix code)
NIPThe Northern Ireland Protocol
Non-FreightThe movement of post, parcels, passengers belongings and merchandise in baggage
RoRoRoll on Roll off modes of transport
RoWRest of World – All other third countries excluding GB and EU member states (for example, the USA or China etc)
TCTATaxation (Cross-border Trade) Act 2018
Third CountryIncludes countries/territories that are neither in the UK or the EU
UCCThe Union Customs Code (including where applicable the UCC Delegated Act (UCC DA) and the UCC Implementing Act (UCC IA))
UKIncludes England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
UK domestic goodsGoods as described in Section 33 of the TCTA
UK Special Fiscal TerritoriesThe Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey
UK TariffThe integrated Global Tariff of the UK (including measures, prohibitions restrictions and duty rates of the UK)
XIThe prefix used to denote Northern Ireland in some systems used for customs and international trade purposes


Requirements for movements into Northern Ireland.

The Union Customs Code (UCC)

Whilst the TCTA, CEDEER and CIDEER apply to goods imported to or exported from GB, under the Northern Ireland Protocol, goods movements into Northern Ireland will apply the UCCCDS is the only system that can cater for full Northern Ireland Protocol compliance on 1 January 2021.

Rest of World to Northern Ireland movements

Goods imported from the Rest of World (RoW) into Northern Ireland (NI) may be subject to the duty rates and measures of either the:

or the

depending on whether the goods are classed as ‘At-Risk’ of entering the EU.

This document does not consider the movement of non-freight goods, further information will be published at a later date.

Goods sent from GB to NI

All goods moved from GB to NI will require both an entry safety and security declaration (ENS) and an import declaration. A record of the movement will also need to be made on the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS), where the port is operating the pre-lodgement model.

No export safety and security (EXS)/export declaration is required in GB for GB to NI movements.

All goods will be subject to EU regulatory standards, which may be applied through the Tariff. Goods will only be required to pay customs duty at the EU rate if they are classed as ‘at risk’. Goods but will not be subject to import VAT, but excise may be due.

If the goods are UK domestic goods, either by origin or previous release to free circulation, and are not ‘At-Risk’, then they will not be subject to customs duty, any other duties or import VAT (see ‘Excise’ section).

Goods which are not UK domestic goods will be treated as RoW movements into NI.

VAT on goods sold between GB and NI

VAT will continue to be accounted as it is currently on goods sold between GB and NI. This means that the seller of the goods will continue to charge its customers VAT and should show this on its invoices. The VAT charged will be accounted for as output VAT on the VAT return in the same box as it is now. The seller will not be able to claim this back as input VAT.

Where the customer receives an invoice from the seller showing that VAT has been charged, it may use this as evidence in order to reclaim the VAT as input VAT, subject to the normal rules.

Please see Accounting for VAT on goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021 for details of exceptions to these conditions.

Goods sent from GB to NI via an EU member state

For goods sent from GB to NI via this route, if Transit is not used, a GB export declaration followed by an EU import declaration will be required (the NI/GB Tariff does not provide guidance on EU import declarations). Goods can then move freely into NI from the EU.

Goods sent from NI to GB

Goods moved directly from NI to GB will only require an export declaration in NI in limited circumstances.

The circumstances in which a declaration is required are as follows:

  • indirect movements: export declarations for Irish or other EU goods below the low-value threshold of EUR3000 where the declaration has not been made to the home customs administration
  • goods not in free circulation in NI, for example under special procedures
  • any prohibited and restricted goods where the Joint Committee has agreed a declaration will be needed
  • where the movement concerns EU goods and the movement started outside of NI, the exporter should comply with UCC export requirements applicable in their ‘home’ member state (MS)

Please note: where the goods are not in free circulation in NI and are intended for Free Circulation and Home Use in GB, for example third country goods under a special procedure in NI, they could be released to the Free Circulation procedure in NI, then moved to GB without the need to make an export declaration.

Where the intention is to enter into GB using a special procedure (for example, where further processing will take place in GB), the Special Procedure should be ended in NI using the appropriate re-export Procedure, before entering a further Special Procedure in GB. Please refer to the GB Tariff for the requirements of the GB import declaration. Goods cannot be moved into GB from NI using the same procedure in NI as the previous procedure.

Note: no entry safety and security declaration (ENS) is required in GB for direct NI to GB movements. Nor are import declarations required, provided that the goods fall within the definition of ‘NI qualifying goods’ as defined under the Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 and are not moved via Northern Ireland for an avoidance purpose.

The definition of ‘qualifying Northern Ireland goods’ is expected to be updated during the course of 2021 following further consultation with business. For further information on making an import declaration for non-qualifying goods (for example, third country goods entering a Special Procedure), see the UK Trade Tariff Volume 3 for CHIEF.

Goods sent from an EU member state to NI

Goods that are sent directly from an EU MS to NI do not require either a safety and security declaration or a customs declaration.

Goods sent from an EU member state via NI to GB

Goods that are sent from an EU MS to GB via NI can enter GB without a customs import declaration or safety and security declaration provided that they are not excise goods, and they fall within the definition of ‘NI qualifying goods’ as defined under the Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, and are not moved via Northern Ireland for an avoidance purpose. The definition of ‘qualifying Northern Ireland goods’ is expected to be updated during the course of 2021 following further consultation with business. Export declarations should be made to the customs authority in the home MS unless the goods are below the low-value threshold of EUR3000.

Where excise goods are sent from an EU MS via NI to GB, an import declaration should be made on the system a trader currently uses for GB imports. However, provided that those goods are ‘qualifying goods’ for customs purposes (as defined under the Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020) and are not moved via NI for an avoidance purpose, no customs duty is payable. If using CHIEF, importers should use override code ‘DTY’ in box 47 to override any customs duty calculation and VAT override code ‘VAT’ to suppress the import VAT charge.

Goods sent from NI to an EU member state

Goods that are sent from NI to an EU MS do not require either a safety and security declaration or a customs declaration to be made. For countries in the EU Customs Union movements will continue in the same way as they do today.

Goods sent from NI to GB via an EU member state

An export declaration (indirect export from NI) will be required in NI to move goods to GB via an EU MS, followed by an import declaration in GB. No customs duty is payable on NI-IE-GB movements, provided that the goods are ‘qualifying goods’, i.e. were in free circulation in NI prior to starting their movement and were not moved via NI for the purposes of avoiding UK duty.

This means that, where frontier declarations are submitted for NI-IE-GB movements, importers or their agents should use override codes to suppress the customs duty calculation. In CHIEF, this can be done by entering code ‘DTY’ in box 47. VAT override code ‘VAT’ should be used to suppress the import VAT charge and the supplier should account for VAT on their quarterly VAT return.

If importers have used ‘staged controls’ in GB to make an entry in their own records, the same process for suppressing customs duty and VAT calculation should be followed when supplementary declarations are submitted (using the override codes shown above).

General notes

This supplement explains how to read the current Volume 3 of the CDS Trade Tariff in respect of the new requirements until a full redraft of the documents is available.

In general, unless covered by a specific exemption, removal or amendment detailed in this document, all provisions/instructions in Volume 3 of the UK Trade Tariff for CDS still apply to the completion of a declaration, until further notice.

The separate ‘GB Tariff update for CDS and CHIEF’ should not be used when making declarations for imports into NI or exports from NI – It should be noted that any facilitations/easements that are granted for use with imports and exports from/to GB and the EU, for example Staged Controls, are not applicable to imports into NI unless they are detailed in this document.

Tariff Quotas

For goods moving into Northern Ireland from outside the EU and UK, importers will not be able to access the EU Tariff quota for any goods. However, importers will be able to access the UK Tariff quota for goods determined to be not ‘at risk’ of being subsequently moved into the EU. More guidance will be published as soon as possible for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. On CDS, all UK tariff quotas are recognised by an order number beginning with “05” (In CDS this relates to completion of DE 4/17 and DE 8/1).


Depending on the status of the goods (see At-Risk and Not-at-Risk Goods) importers may be able to access either UK Preference arrangements for not-at-risk goods or EU Preference arrangements for at-risk goods.

On CDS, users will continue to use the existing Preference codes as shown in the CDS Trade Tariff to access either UK or EU Preference arrangements.

Meursing codes

Where an NI import declaration is made to a Commodity Code which has a requirement for a meursing code (goods containing certain types of milk and sugars covered Regulation (EC) No. 118/2010) in the EU Tariff, this code must be provided. This is regardless of whether the goods are determined to be At-Risk or Not-at-Risk.

NOVA (Notification of Vehicle Arrivals)

CDS will not provide Notification of Vehicle Arrivals (NOVA) services on 1 January 2021: Additional Procedure Code ‘1NV’ will not be valid in NI on 1 January 2021 until further notice.

In CHIEF, NOVA will continue to operate as per the instructions in the Notices and published guidance. Arrival into NI or GB would be treated the same for VAT registered traders (non-VAT traders make manual declarations through the Cars team).

EORI coding changes

An EORI number from an EU Member State cannot currently be used to make a declaration to CDS.

If an EORI starting GB is not held, an intermediary (customs agent) must be engaged to make the declaration, or a GB EORI obtained prior to the declaration being made. For further information please see the changes to country code prefixes.

New XI prefix required

NI traders will require an EORI number with an XI prefix from 1 January 2021 when using NCTS to move goods under transit; ICS to submit Safety and Security (S and S) Declarations; and to access certain EU authorisations.

CDS will not be compatible with XI prefixes on 1 January 2021 and traders will need to use their GB prefixed EORI on CDS until further notice, we will publish updated information well in advance of any change to XI.

Special Procedures in NI

Declaration completion requirements for Special Procedures in NI for CDS will not change apart from the additional requirements shown below. Northern Ireland will operate under the UCC and authorisations and guarantees will be needed to be able to enter goods into a special procedure.

Standard NI Additional Information Statements must still be declared on declarations in D.E 2/2 into or out of Special Procedures. This includes the ability to declare goods ‘not at risk’ using AI statements if the conditions for doing so are met. Further guidance will be published once negotiations are finalised.

A valid authorisation will be needed to use Special Procedures in NI.

Movements from GB to NI

Where a declaration is required and the intention is to use one of the duty suspensive arrangements under Special Procedures, an import declaration to that procedure will be required in NI. For example, goods that will be brought to NI for processing before being removed from NI may use the Inward Processing procedure. A declaration is needed even if the authorisation holder is the same in GB and NI. An export declaration from GB will not be required.

Where goods are moving to NI to be placed under the same Special Procedure as they were under in GB, they should be entered into the Special Procedure with the previous Procedure declared (e.g. Inward Processing in NI following Inward Processing in GB is declared as 5151 in DE 1/10).

Movements from NI to GB

The Special Procedure must be ended in NI by either being discharged into free circulation or by using the appropriate re-export Procedure before entering a further Special Procedure in GB if required. Please refer to the GB Tariff for the requirements of the GB import declaration. The GB import declaration can be made either using CHIEF or CDS depending on the system a trader is operating.

Imports from Rest of World to NI

If goods are only processed in NI, the current process applies as detailed in the CDS Tariff.

If goods are to be processed in both NI and GB, the Special Procedure should either first be ended in NI by being discharged into free circulation or by using the appropriate re-export procedure before entering a further Special Procedure in GB.

UK Customs procedures, facilitations and schemes in NI

Low Value Bulking Imports (LVBI)

Low Value Bulking Imports (LVBI) will be replaced by the Bulk Import Reduced Data Set (BIRDS) scheme in GB on 1 January 2021.

However, BIRDS (ex LVBI as currently shown in the CDS Tariff) must not be used for NI imports on 1 January 2021.

Low Value Consignment Relief (LVCR)

VAT relief for goods with a value not exceeding £15 will be removed with effect from 1 January 2021.

All goods imported from third countries (excluding qualifying gifts or where any other reliefs are available) will be liable to import VAT regardless of their value (including goods sent from the Channel Islands).

Please see the relevant sections of the CDS Annexe to identify the changes that will apply to the values applicable to certain Additional Procedure Codes (CDS) from 1 January 2021.

Changes to VAT treatment of overseas goods sold to customers from 1 January 2021

HMRC has introduced changes to the treatment of goods imported into the UK with a value less than £135 – These changes come into effect on 1 January 2021.

See Changes to VAT treatment of overseas goods sold to customers from 1 January 2021 for further information on the requirements for these types of importation.

As per the guidance on GOV.UK, traders registered to account for import VAT on a VAT return must use Postponed VAT Accounting (PVA) at import. Please see the PVA sections of the CDS Annexe for further details.

GB Staged Controls

Please note that any GB easements or facilitations under Staged Controls (as shown in the GB Trade Tariff Update) do not apply to movements into NI.

Special Fiscal Territories and countries with which the EU has a Customs Union

The instructions in the CDS Trade Tariff should be followed, noting that in NI an EU Special Fiscal Territory (SFT) will continue to be treated as an SFT for the purposes of the NIP.

However, goods from a UK SFT (Bailiwicks of Jersey or Guernsey) will be treated with the same status as goods from GB. Applicable declaration categories in CDS will be either H1, H2, H3 or H4. However declaration category H5 is not applicable in NI to movements from Jersey or Guernsey.

When submitting a declaration for goods from a UK SFT to NI, DE 1/1 must be ‘IM’ and not ‘CO’ as currently shown in the Tariff, Additional Procedure Code ‘F15’ should be used in DE 1/11 and Additional Information Statement ‘NIIMP’ must be entered in DE 2/2.


The UK has reached agreement to retain membership of the Common Transit Convention (CTC) after the Transition Period so traders will be able to use Transit when moving goods between CTC countries. See the New Computerised Transit System (NCTS) guidance for further information on completing a declaration.


GB-NI movements: where a movement of UK goods is being made from GB to NI, the trader will be required to use the existing manual override functionality* to manually calculate and input the correct excise duty liability, if the excise duty applicable to the goods when they enter NI is higher than the excise duty already paid on the goods in GB.

An example of when this might happen is if there has been an increase in the excise duty rate, for example if there has been a budget rate change, between the time of first payment of the GB excise duty in GB and the time when those goods are moved into NI.

* AI statement ‘OVR01’ is entered in DE 2/2 to manually enter the customs charges due on goods. Please refer to the Procedure Code notes in the CDS Trade Tariff for where AI statement ‘OVR01’ may be used for more information.

See the excise guidance for more information on excise freight movements.

See excise Notice 197 for more information on how to calculate excise duty.


The rules for guaranteeing actual and potential customs debts have changed for businesses that defer or suspend duties in Great Britain (GB). Guarantee requirements for duty deferment, Special Procedures and Temporary Storage have not changed for businesses using these procedures in NI.

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, NI businesses will need to continue to provide a Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG) in order to use duty deferment and be fully authorised to operate Special Procedures and Temporary Storage.

GB and NI traders who regularly use transit procedures under the CTC to move goods to the EU and other CTC countries will still need a CCG. However, they can apply to reduce the value of the guarantee they would otherwise need to provide by 50%, 70% or 100% if they can demonstrate a high degree of compliance, competence and financial solvency. Traders with AEOC status are already entitled to a 100% guarantee reduction for potential debts.


Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, HMRC is legally required to collect international trade statistics for goods exported from and imported to NI. As customs declarations will not be required for NI trade with the EU, Intrastat will continue to operate for these movement of goods.

This means UK VAT registered businesses exporting goods from NI to EU Member States or importing goods into NI from EU Member States, with trade above the existing Intrastat arrivals or dispatches exemption thresholds, will be required to submit Intrastat declarations.


Movement‘At-Risk’  GoodsRelevant P and R measuresCustoms charges applicableCan subsidy be claimed on declarationCan goods be declared not ‘at risk’
YesEU and UKDuty at EU rate; UK Excise rate; UK VAT rate No*N/A
RoW to NI
NoEU and UKUK Duty rate; UK Excise rate; UK VAT rateNoYes**


Movement‘At-Risk’ GoodsRelevant P and R measuresCustoms charges applicableCan subsidy be claimed on declarationCan goods be declared not ‘at risk’
YesEUDuty at EU rateYes – Against EU DutyN/A
GB to NI
NoEUNoneNot requiredYes**

* Traders should keep records for this movement, and information for retrospective application will follow in due course.

** Where the conditions of doing do are met. Further information on these conditions will be published in due course.

Note: The Tariff (UK Volume 2) includes the rate of customs duty, excise, VAT and details of any measures including licences and certificates etc, applicable to the goods at import or export. Please see section above for how to access either the UK Tariff Volume 2 or the EU Tariff.

Agri foods

Customs Declaration Completion Requirements for Goods subject to Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) checks under the Northern Ireland Protocol

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, all goods moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will require both an entry safety & security declaration (ENS) and an import declaration. A record of the movement will also need to be made on the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS) where the port is operating the pre-lodgement model. You can find out more about the customs requirements when moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland from the 31st December here.

On 10th December, the Government published a Command Paper setting out details of an agreement in principle on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol between the UK and the EU. In order to continue the smooth flow of trade from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, critical flexibilities to maintain the flow of food supplies have been agreed with the EU.

This document sets out temporary guidance on how agri-food traders should complete the import declarations required for movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland once the transition period ends, in-line with the terms of the phased-in solution agreed between the UK and the EU.

This is a temporary solution for traders making declarations on CDS for agri-food goods and further guidance will be issued in due course when these arrangements are due to change.

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