GVMS was created on the back of Brexit and the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU) customs union and single market. GVMS is designed to facilitate the process of clearing UK customs for both imports and exports at specific UK ports.
New customs checks were implemented almost immediately by the EU covering British exports to the EU. Conversely, the UK Government has repeatedly delayed checks on imports from the EU to Britain; this will now change in 2022.
Customs procedures 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2021
GVMS was partially introduced on 1 January 2021, and applies in certain circumstances. A full list can be found on HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) website.
Broadly, GVMS applies:-
- To goods moving between Great Britain (GB) and Northern Ireland (NI).
- Where goods are being moved EU to GB, or from NI to GB under the Common Transit Convention (CTC) and the goods have a Transit Accompanying Document.
GVMS is not used for the movement of goods from GB to the EU in this time period.
When importing goods into GB from the EU in 2021 (not under the CTC), businesses have the option of either using the existing customs processes at the point of entry or taking advantage of the Delayed Declaration Scheme.
Customs procedures from 1 January 2022
Customs checks will begin on imports from the EU to GB from 1 January 2022. Businesses and their hauliers will need to understand their new obligations in advance of transporting EU goods into Britain, which includes the introduction of GVMS.
UK ports will be using different methods to complete the necessary customs checks. These are “pre-lodgement”, Digital Offices of Transit or temporary storage.
Hauliers will need to pre-lodge customs declarations for the goods they are carrying into GB, using GVMS.
GVMS generates a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) number, that links together all the different customs declaration references for a particular shipment. The haulier only needs to present one GMR number to customs to prove that all the goods being shipped have been correctly declared to HMRC.
Lorry drivers will need a GMR before they will be allowed to board a ferry heading to a GB port using the “pre-lodgement” model.
GVMS will notify the haulier whether any physical customs checks are required by HMRC and at which location the checks will need to take place.
Digital Offices of Transit
Transit regulations usually require that goods be presented at the Customs Office of Transit when a transit shipment enters a country. GVMS-linked ports provide the Office of Transit function “digitally”. This means that lorries do not need to pass physically via an Office of Transit, unless notified via GVMS.
Common ports such as Dover and Folkestone will be operating GVMS.
Temporary storage model
Some GB ports will be using a temporary storage model, whereby customs formalities are completed for the imported EU goods while they are in storage at that port. There is a maximum time limit of 90 days to complete this process.
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