Rules of origin for imported and exported goods

Binding Origin Information

Guide

If you're regularly exporting or importing goods, you may find it useful to obtain Binding Origin Information (BOI) for the goods.

BOI is a written decision by a customs authority that confirms the origin of specific goods. It is valid for three years and is legally recognised across the European Union (EU).

Advantages of holding BOI for exports and imports

A BOI is legally binding across all EU member states, so if your goods move within the EU before they reach their destination, holding BOI can minimise the chance of local customs challenging the origin of the goods while in transit.

The rules of origin can be complex. If the origin of your goods is not straightforward, holding BOI can prevent you from having to prove the origin of the goods repeatedly during trading. If any change in EU law makes your BOI invalid, you can still continue to fulfil existing contracts for up to six months.

You can hold a BOI whether you're exporting or importing goods. However, only the owner of the BOI can use it. For example, if you hold a BOI for goods you export, your customers cannot use it unless they've obtained one themselves.

How to obtain BOI

You can apply to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for BOI. There is no charge for issuing a BOI, although you may have to pay any costs for specialist analysis of goods or expert advice if HMRC need it to make a decision. Find information about BOI in Notice 831.