UK import controls – implementation dates

Irish exporters exporting to, or through, the United Kingdom (UK), excluding Northern Ireland, must comply with:

  • Irish customs export formalities that have applied since 1 January 2021
  • UK import customs requirements
  • and
  • UK requirements for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) movements.

UK requirements for imports from Ireland are being introduced on a phased basis as outlined in the UK’s Border Target Operating Model (BTOM).

Key aspects of the BTOM for Irish traders are outlined below.

UK import customs requirements

Full customs formalities apply to goods moving directly from Ireland into ports in Great Britain (GB).

The UK have in place permanent waivers removing the requirement to submit Safety and Security declarations for the following low risk movements:

  • outbound fish
  • outbound transit (where an entry summary declaration has been lodged within 14 days)
  • and
  • outbound freeport goods.

Additional UK requirements for SPS movements

In addition to the customs requirements outlined above, imports of SPS goods from Ireland need to be pre-notified on the UK's SPS import system Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS). Export health certificates and phytosanitary certificates are required for medium risk animal products, plant and plants products imported to GB from the EU.


UK import declarations need to be pre-lodged and notified using the Goods Vehicle Movement System (GVMS). Hauliers who move goods through UK ports which use the GVMS will need to register for the service. This will help to ensure that goods are processed through customs without delay.

Documentary and risk-based identity and physical checks apply to the following products from the EU:

  • medium-risk animal products
  • medium-risk plants
  • medium-risk plant products
  • and
  • high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin.

Physical checks at west coast ports will not be introduced before October 2024 at the earliest. The date of commencement of physical checks for non-qualifying goods moving from the island of Ireland will be confirmed in due course.

The global model of controls applies to imports from the rest of the world.

  • Health certificates are not required for low-risk goods.
  • Low-risk plant and plant products do not need to be pre-notified
  • Inspections of high-risk plants and plant products from the EU will take place at Border Control Posts (BCPs).


Checks on landbridge transit movements will also commence at this stage. Transit movements from Ireland to the EU, using the UK landbridge, may be subject to an Exit Check in the UK.

Changes from 31 October 2024

Safety and Security declarations for EU imports will come into force from 31 October 2024. A reduced dataset for imports will remove duplication, where possible, across different pre-arrival datasets such as Safety and Security, SPS and pre-lodged customs declarations.

Exporters and their supply chain partners should take the necessary steps to prepare for these additional changes.


Guidance on this page is based on the latest information available from the UK Government.