Apply for authorisation for the UK Internal Market Scheme if you bring goods into Northern Ireland
Last updated: 27 July 2023
If you want to join the UK Internal Market Scheme, you will need to apply online to be authorised. If you’re authorised, you will be able to declare your goods ‘not at risk’ if they are brought into Northern Ireland for sale or final use by end consumers in the UK.
‘Not at risk’ goods:
- will not be charged duty if entering Northern Ireland from free circulation in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)
- will be charged UK duty if entering Northern Ireland from outside the EU and the UK
- will be charged UK duty if entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain and the goods were not in free circulation in Great Britain
‘At risk’ goods will be charged the applicable EU duty.
If you need more information or support completing your UK Internal Market Scheme authorisation, you can register with the Trader Support Service to support you with this process. The Trader Support Service will also guide you through any changes due to the implementation of the Windsor Framework.
The UK Internal Market Scheme authorisation will also give you access to the green lane when it opens in September 2024, for goods moving from Great Britain into Northern Ireland. Goods moving through the green lane will:
- not be subject the same processes that apply to other goods entering Northern Ireland
- only need to submit a simplified dataset, based on commercial information
If you’re already authorised under the UK Trader Scheme
For goods moving before 30 September 2023 , you can continue to use the UK Trader Scheme authorisation to declare your goods ‘not at risk’.
For goods moving on or after 30 September 2023, the UK Trader Scheme authorisation will no longer be valid and you must use the UK Internal Market Scheme authorisation.
Before you apply
To apply you must be established in the UK.
You must also meet all of the:
- compliance requirements
- records, systems, controls and evidence requirements
You’ll need to meet additional processing requirements if you move goods into Northern Ireland to be processed and want to declare these goods ‘not at risk’.
You can find out more about the requirements for the scheme in this guidance.
Applying if you’re established in Northern Ireland or you have a fixed place of business in Northern Ireland
If your registered office or fixed place of business is in Northern Ireland, you must meet all of the following conditions:
- your human and technical resources must be permanently present in Northern Ireland
- your goods are sold to, or provided for final use by, end consumers in the UK
- your customs, commercial and transport records and information must be available or accessible in Northern Ireland
HMRC may visit you to check the records, systems and controls in place for this authorisation.
If you’re established in Northern Ireland, you must apply for the scheme using your XI EORI number.
Applying if you’re established in parts of the UK other than Northern Ireland
If you’re established in parts of the UK other than Northern Ireland, you must meet all of the following conditions:
- your customs operations are carried out in the UK
- you have an indirect customs representative in Northern Ireland, such as the Trader Support Service
- your customs, commercial and transport records and information must be available or accessible in the UK
HMRC may visit you to check the records, systems and controls in place for this authorisation.
If you’re established in parts of the UK other than Northern Ireland, you can apply for the scheme using either a GB or XI EORI number. You should use an XI EORI number if you hold one.
- have a good customs and tax compliance record
- have no record of serious criminal offences related to your economic activity
- be of good financial standing
- show a clear understanding of your obligations under this authorisation and how to comply with them
Customs and tax compliance record
Your record is based on the 3 years prior your application. It will be based on all available information including your involvement in any previous businesses.
You must have no record of any serious or repeated infringements of taxation and customs rules.
Criminal offences related to economic activity
You must provide details of:
- the people in charge of your business or exercising control over its management, in particular the registered company directors and board members
- any employees, including any direct representatives, in charge of your administration related to the movement of goods under this scheme, or any people acting in their own name on your behalf, in relation to the movement of goods under this scheme
HMRC will check the criminal records of the people you provide for any serious criminal offences related to their economic activity.
Good financial standing
You must have sufficient financial standing to meet your obligations and fulfil your commitments under the scheme.
You must not be subject to bankruptcy proceedings.
During the 3 years before your application, you must have fulfilled your financial obligations regarding payments of customs duties and all other duties, taxes or charges which are collected on or in connection with the import or export of goods.
Where you have been established for less than 3 years, your financial standing will be checked by HMRC on the basis of records and information that are available.
Understanding your obligations under this authorisation and how to comply with them
You or the people in charge of your administration related to the movement of goods under this scheme:
- should be able to show a clear understanding of the scheme, how to comply with it, and your obligations in relation to the criteria under this scheme
- must display sufficient competence in providing accurate information to HMRC in relation to these obligations and applicable procedures
If you would like to find out more information, you can also register with the Trader Support Service to support you.
Records, systems, controls and evidence requirements
You need to give HMRC details of the records, systems and controls you have in place that allow you to accurately declare that goods are ‘not at risk’.
When you apply for authorisation, you should give details of the:
- systems and processes to track goods from import to end-use, such as logistics systems or stock control processes
- documented procedures and administrative systems to determine whether goods are ‘not at risk’
- internal controls and processes that ensure goods are correctly declared ‘not at risk’
- commercial or transport records, such as delivery records or inventory systems which confirm end-destination of the goods
The records you tell us about should be specific and appropriate to your business and they will need to show:
- where you source goods from
- how and where they will be used or sold
- that you have administrative organisation and internal controls which are suitable for the management of the flow of goods
- that you have internal controls capable of preventing, detecting and correcting errors
- that you have internal controls capable of preventing and detecting illegal activities within your organisation
- that you have procedures in place for protection against loss of information and archiving procedures with respect to keeping of historical records, including the assessment, back-up and protection of records for 5 years
- that you manage your records in line with accounting principles applied in the UK
- that your records for goods movements into Northern Ireland are either integrated into the accounting system you use, or, when held separately, that you can allow for cross-checks between records relating to purchases, sales, stock control and movement of goods
- that you can give us electronic or physical access, when asked, to your records in a suitable format
- that you have internal instructions in place to ensure that relevant staff are aware of how to tell us of any compliance difficulties
- that if you’re handling prohibited and restricted goods, you have appropriate procedures in place for the handling of those goods in accordance with relevant legislation
The systems you have in place must be appropriate to the size, nature and complexity of the business.
For example, if you’re:
- a large business — you may tell us about the logistical software that you have which tracks goods from import to end-use
- a small or medium-sized business — you may instead tell us about the internal processes or procedures you have in place, which allow you to document the goods you import and evidence they are ‘not at risk’, like purchase and sales records
You must keep evidence that your goods are ‘not at risk’ (for example, invoices) for 5 years.
HMRC may visit you to check your records so you must be able to provide access to us to check your:
- controls you have told us about
You also must keep evidence to confirm each declaration.
You must have measures in place to make sure that any goods moved under this scheme are only to be sold or used in accordance with the ‘not at risk’ rules.
If you are a supplier to other businesses, you will need to maintain an ongoing understanding of their operations and activities to make sure that any goods you supply to them will meet the ‘not at risk’ criteria.
Even where you are not responsible for the end destination of the goods, you may still be able to be authorised and move goods as ‘not at risk’ if you can make sure that goods will meet the ‘not at risk’ criteria. Examples of when this might be the case are:
- a written and signed declaration from the customer stating that the goods will remain in Northern Ireland
- evidence that the customer only makes retail sales for final use or end-consumption in the UK from a physical outlet in Northern Ireland
- evidence that the customer only sells goods that will be for final use by end-consumers in the UK and are delivered within the UK
- commercial contracts and purchase orders showing that goods will be for final use in the UK
- evidence that the sale of goods is to be permanently installed within the UK
You must tell us:
- if you discover any difficulties in complying with the scheme
- if any factors arise after the decision has been made to give you authorised trader status, which might influence its continuation or content
You will need to be able to determine whether goods you bring into Northern Ireland correspond to category 1 or category 2 goods when the green lane for goods opens in September 2024.
Find out which goods are considered category 1 and category 2 in Annex IV of ‘Decision of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee on laying down arrangements relating to the Windsor Framework’.
When you apply for authorisation under the UK Internal Market Scheme, you will be asked if you move goods that are subject to processing, and if you meet the additional processing requirements.
If you do not meet these processing requirements, you will not be able to declare goods which will be subject to processing in Northern Ireland as ‘not at risk’.
You will need to meet one of the following 2 criteria.
That your turnover for the most recent financial year is below £2 million or that you intend to bring goods for processing into Northern Ireland where the goods are to be processed solely for food for sale to end consumers in the UK or one or more of the following purposes:
- construction — where the processed goods form a permanent part of a structure that is constructed and located in Northern Ireland by the importer or one subsequent entity
- direct provision to the recipient of health or care services in Northern Ireland by the importer or one subsequent entity
- not for profit activities in Northern Ireland by the importer or one subsequent entity, where there is no subsequent sale of the processed goods
- the final use of animal feed on premises located in Northern Ireland by the importer or one subsequent entity
If you’re moving goods subject to processing that meet one of the 4 conditions in this list, you may do so even if you sell on the eventual product to one subsequent entity.
For example, you could import animal feed that will be sold on to a farmer, provided the farmer is the final entity in the supply chain and will use the animal feed in Northern Ireland.
Although you can be authorised for the UK Internal Market Scheme before 30 September 2023, if you move goods that are subject to processing you will need to follow the UK Trader Scheme guidance for the movement of goods until 30 September 2023.
If you’re a newly established business
If you’re a newly established business, you will need to provide records approved by the directors, partners or sole proprietor, to enable an assessment of anticipated turnover, examples include:
- latest cashflow
- balance sheet
- profit and loss forecasts
What you will need
To apply for authorisation you will need:
- your GB or XI EORI number
- the details of your business, its directors, the people in charge of the business and the people responsible for the movement of goods under this scheme
- your company number or your Unique Taxpayer Reference if you’re a sole trader or a partnership
- the date your business was incorporated or date you commenced trading
- your document of establishment or proof of your permanent business address
- your annual turnover for the most recent complete accounting period — where you have not yet traded for a complete accounting period, you will need to provide your anticipated turnover and supporting evidence, such as latest cash flow, balance sheet, and profit and loss forecasts
- your VAT registration number if you have one
- your Trader Support Service number if you have one
- the estimated number of ‘not at risk’ annual declarations
- details of your customs representative, if you use one
- your UK Trader Scheme authorisation number if you’re already authorised under this scheme
- details of your business premises in the UK, where HMRC can visit you to check the records, systems and controls in place for this authorisation
- details of the intended use of the imported goods, including a description of the type of goods and whether they will undergo any type of processing
- to provide evidence or an explanation to show how you meet the records, systems, controls and evidence requirements, such as relevant internal processes and procedures documents
If you move goods that will be subject to processing in Northern Ireland, you will need to provide details of the addresses of where the goods will be processed.
If you manage prohibited and restricted goods, you’ll need to provide an explanation or evidence of the procedures you have in place for managing and handling these goods.
You’ll need to either:
- sign in with your Government Gateway user ID and password (if you do not have a user ID, you can create one when you first try to sign in)
- use your email address to get a confirmation code that you can use to sign in
You will get an email to confirm that HMRC has received the form, this email will contain a unique reference number.
You do not need to do anything further until HMRC write to you regarding your application.
After you’ve applied
You’ll get a notification once your application has been approved for authorisation.
If your application is approved, HMRC will send you a letter with your UK Internal Market Scheme authorisation number. You should use this number for goods that you move on and after the date that you are authorised.
You can declare the goods you bring into Northern Ireland ‘not at risk’ if they are intended for end use or sale in the UK or Northern Ireland, where appropriate.
You can use the Trader Support Service to help you make these declarations.