uk policy

Coronavirus-driven changes to UK customs policy and authorizations

HMRC has released temporary changes on an exceptional basis due to Coronavirus. They affect UK customs policy and authorizations. A short summary for traders.

Coronavirus UK: Temporary customs changes 

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Latest changes in light of Coronavirus developments have been released by HMRC on April 1, 2020. They refer to UK customs policy and authorization requirements. These temporary changes have been implemented on an exceptional basis in order to support UK businesses in this critical time. The new guidance will be updated once temporary measures will seize to apply. 

Changes can affect traders with existing authorization or those in the customs application process for: 

  • Temporary storage or customs special procedures such as inward processing or customs warehousing
  • Simplified declarations such as entry in your records
  • Guarantees
  • Operation as an Authorized Economic Operator

You can find the original HMRC Guidance of April 1, 2020 with all details here

And you can find a brief overview of changes in the following section. 

1. Coronavirus changes: Customs authorizations

If you find yourself in the position to be unable to comply with a condition of your authorization due to Coronavirus, you now need to request permission from your supervising HMRC office or applicable Border Force to temporarily vary the conditions of your authorization. The new HMRC guidance details the conditions this applies to. 

How to request permission?

It's very straightforward. You can email your supervising office with the subject "COVID-19 customs easement request". Applications are checked on a case by case basis and may be declined if there are possible impacts on customs controls.

2. Coronavirus changes: Applications & guarantees

As a special measures, applications for customs authorizations can now be sent by email instead of postal service. The original postal application form with original signature still needs to be sent, but only after the Coronavirus controls are lifted.

Priority will be assigned to authorization applications for supplies of food, medical, and pharmaceuticals during this period and they will be fast-tracked wherever possible.

Companies with authorizations for Customs Comprehensive Guarantees, HMRC will now also accept electronic copies of your financial guarantee form (CCG2), transit guarantee form (C1146) and Joint Contractual Liability Form.

3. Coronavirus changes: Visits for applications

HMRC has announced that visits by customs officials during the Coronavirus outbreak will not be needed to confirm your authorization application during the Coronavirus outbreak.

In some cases, this may mean a temporary suspension of the application process. For example, in AEO applications where compliance with international standards is required. If this is the case, HMRC will discuss the best options with you. 

4. Coronavirus changes: Renewing applications

If you find yourself unable to renew your customs authorization that is due to expire, HMRC will automatically extend your authorization to ensure you have business continuity during the Coronavirus crisis. HMRC will inform traders once the automatic extension has been granted.