HMRC guidance for parcels travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

6th January 2021

HMRC have issued the below guidance covering the temporary arrangements that HMRC is introducing for Express Consignments moved from Great Britain into Northern Ireland.
Issued on 31 December 2020, the guidance came into effect on 1 January 2021.

It reads: 

Please see below a notice covering the temporary arrangements that HMRC is introducing for Express Consignments moved from Great Britain into Northern Ireland from 01 January 2021. Public guidance directed at your customers has also been issued that covers this information - this can be accessed via this link. 


HMRC continues to strongly encourage all operators to prepare urgently for full compliance with customs requirements set out in the Northern Ireland Protocol. Recognising the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland; the current position on readiness; and the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, this notice sets out exceptional temporary arrangements that apply to the movement of goods in Express Consignments by Express Carriers. These arrangements are made available in the context of Express Carriers being trusted and sophisticated intermediaries that hold a range of customs authorisations within the UK. 

The full requirements for Express Consignments moved from Great Britain into Northern Ireland, which will be enforced from 01 April, will be published shortly. All movements of Express Consignments by Express Carriers must comply with these requirements from 01 April 2021.

From 01 January to 31 March 2021, HMRC will not be enforcing customs requirements for the majority of goods moved in Express Consignments by Express Carriers from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, subject to the conditions set out in this notice. This email sets out the detail of how goods can be moved for this temporary period.


Express Consignment: an individual item conveyed by or under the responsibility of an express carrier. It must be individually addressed on crossing into Northern Ireland (i.e. consignments cannot be split up and subsequently delivered). 

Express Carrier: an operator providing connected services of expedited/time-definite collection, transport, customs clearance and delivery of parcels whilst tracking the location of, and maintaining control over, such items throughout the supply of the service. 


Excise Goods and Prohibited and Restricted Goods
Express Carriers must comply with administrative requirements on all Prohibited & Restricted and Excise goods moved from Great Britain into Northern Ireland during this period. Declarations can be made directly into CDS, via the Trader Support Service, or via CHIEF. Note that the use of CHIEF to make declarations for goods moving from Great Britain into Northern Ireland is limited to these specific goods and will only be accepted until the expiry of these temporary arrangements. 

Please follow the below instructions to apply a zero rate of customs duty in CHIEF where the goods you receive originate in the UK and would be eligible for a preferential rate of duty of zero under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. CHIEF Customs Duty Override Codes:

  • Tax Type A00 in Box 47a
  • Code F in Box 47C tax rate
  • Code ‘DTY’ in Box 47C (duty Override code)
  • Box 47d Tax Amount: enter 0.00
  • Box 47e – leave blank


All Other Goods
HMRC will not enforce administrative requirements for any other goods moved in Express Consignments via Express Carriers (i.e. goods that are not P&Rs or Excise goods) until the expiry of these temporary arrangements and subject to the data requirements set out in this notice. 

Further, HMRC will not enforce Safety and security (ENS) declaration requirements for any goods moved in an Express Consignment by an Express Carrier for this temporary period., subject to the data requirements set out in this notice. 


NI Businesses Receiving Goods
Any Northern Ireland business receiving goods valued greater than £135 or €150 via an express consignment from 01 January 2021 to 31 March 2021 will be required to submit a declaration, and can use the Trader Support Service to do so, within three months of receiving the goods. Businesses will not need more information than is contained within a goods invoice in order to do this, and further details of how this can be declared will be issued in due course.


Goods Vehicle Movement Service 
Controls via the Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) and Inventory Linked Ports will remain in operation over the period that the temporary arrangements are in force. As such, for the period up to 31 March 2021, you should use the following pseudo-EORI reference (GB028399782000) that proves that a declaration is not needed for Express Consignments you move from Great Britain to Northern Ireland from 1 January 2020. 

To be clear, this EORI reference number should not be shared or used for moving any goods other than those contained in Express Consignments. It is offered in the context of Express Carriers role as trusted intermediaries and its abuse will result in the immediate revocation of access to these temporary arrangements.

Step by step GVMS Guidance:

  • Register for GVMS. You will need government gateway access and a GB EORI (do not use the pseudo-EORI referenced above) to register for GVMS.
  • Each time goods that qualify for these temporary arrangements are moved in a truck from GB to NI you will need to go into the GVMS system to ‘create a Goods Movement Reference (GMR). Each GMR is only valid for one vehicle carrying out one movement (single use reference). 
  • You should select “Entry in Declarant’s Records (EIDR)” option for your GMR 
  • The GVMS system will provide you with a goods movement reference number which you should populate with the allocated pseudo-EORI.
  • There will be no requirement to include safety & security MRN in order to finalise GMR, and this field should be left blank. 
  • Once complete with EORI, crossing details and vehicle details, your drivers will need to present the GMR at the GB port so that the carrier will allow your vehicle to embark onto the ferry.
  • You are able to amend the details in your GMR up until the point you arrive at your Departure Port, however the information must be correct by the time the driver presents the GMR to the carrier at check-in. 
  • You then do not require your goods to be checked by customs on arrival and can continue with your onward journey.


Inventory Linked Ports
For the period up to 31 March 2021 where temporary requirements set out above are being applied the following steps should be taken by the express carrier if their express consignment are inventory linked:

  • Express Carriers that are already inventory linked should speak to their Community System Provider about how to process goods through the inventory link system 
  • Express Carriers moving express consignments through Belfast International Airport or Belfast City Airport should speak to CCS-UK about how the express consignment can be cleared without a customs declaration using specified operator codes.


Data Provision
Express Carriers moving goods into NI under these temporary arrangements must provide the below consignment-level data to HMRC in an Excel-accessible spreadsheet on a weekly basis. This should be done until these temporary arrangements expire or the Express Carrier becomes compliant with the long-term requirements for Express Consignments moved from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. The process and format for sharing this information will be provided next week, but in the interim you should retain this data in your own records so that your first submission will contain data from 01 January:

  • Value (where known)
  • Weight (where known)
  • Goods description (where known)
  • Date Sent/Imported
  • Consignee (NI recipient)
  • Consignor (GB sender)
  • Number of pieces in shipment
  • Tracking reference

If you have any questions in relation to this information, please speak to your HMRC stakeholder lead, HMRC business relationship management contact, or