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Sending parcels to and from Northern Ireland

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Sending parcels to and from Northern Ireland

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Find out how to move goods, in parcels or large letters, between Great Britain and Northern Ireland using the Royal Mail Group or an express carrier.

Royal Mail Group (RMG) is the UK’s designated Universal Postal Union Provider.

An express carrier is a company that delivers parcels (express consignments) within a set timeframe, offering a door to door collection and delivery service. It may include:

  • express couriers
  • fast parcel operators
  • freight forwarders

Temporary arrangements for moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland

HMRC has adopted a temporary approach to applying declaration requirements for the movement of goods in parcels (including by the Royal Mail Group and express carriers).

The temporary approach recognises the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland, the impacts of any disruption to parcel movements in the context of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and specific challenges for operators moving parcels. This guidance sets out the detail of this approach.

In almost all cases, goods sent to consumers will not require a customs declaration.

Declarations will only usually be required where the goods are either:

  • prohibited or restricted
  • being sent from a business to another business where the value of the good is greater than £135

The controls and requirements that apply during the temporary approach period are:

  • controls through the Goods Vehicle Movement Service
  • inventory systems at ports
  • VAT requirements

For business to business movements, these temporary arrangements will end on 1 October 2021. More information on these movements can be found below. We’ll publish further guidance setting out longer term requirements in due course.

For all other movement types (for example business to consumer and consumer to consumer), businesses and carriers have 6 months to prepare for new customs declaration requirements from the date we publish the guidance on these arrangements.

Northern Ireland residents receiving goods from Great Britain

If you’re a Northern Ireland resident consumer, you can continue to receive goods from Great Britain with no new requirements.

Individuals in Great Britain sending goods to Northern Ireland residents and businesses

You can continue to send goods in parcels to Northern Ireland residents and businesses in the same way you did before 1 January 2021. For example by using a Post Office, express service point or returning goods to businesses.

You can continue to send goods in parcels to businesses (such as returned goods) as you usually do with no new requirements.

The Post Office will have 12 months from the publication of longer-term requirements to prepare their systems for moving goods from one customer to another.

Northern Ireland businesses receiving goods from a business in Great Britain valued over £135

If you’re a Northern Ireland based business receiving goods valued over £135 through the Royal Mail Group or an express carrier you’ll have to submit a declaration. However, you can delay when you do this and you’ll be able to use the free Trader Support Service ( TSS) to do so.

You should speak to the TSSon when and how to make this declaration, and further details on how you’ll be able to submit this delayed declaration will be issued in due course.

You should prepare by:

  • registering with the Trader Support Service
  • registering for an EORI number
  • storing an invoice for the goods you received, including the date that they were received

You should also take steps to avoid the risk of needing to pay tariffs unnecessarily on these goods when you submit your declarations. You’ll need to keep additional records dependent on the tariff removal route appropriate: Read more here.

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