The Border Operating Model has been published this week (13 July), it outlines the processes for moving goods between GB and the EU from 1 January 2021 onwards, including processes to be introduced in April 2021 and July 2021.


Below is a Summary From  Nabil Rajastani, at DODS.




  • The Model aims to provide clarity and certainty for the border industry and businesses, including technical detail on how the border with the European Union (EU) will work after the transition period and the actions that traders, hauliers, ports and carriers need to take. 
  • On December 31st 2020 the transition period with the EU will end. This means that controls will be placed on the movement of goods between Great Britain (GB) and the EU.
  • Recognising the impact of coronavirus on businesses’ ability to prepare, the government u turned and took the decision in June to introduce border controls on imports coming into GB from the EU in three stages up until 1 July 2021.
  • As part of these preparations, £705 million has been announced for new infrastructure, jobs and technology to ensure GB border systems are fully operational when the UK takes back control of its border after the end of the transition period. This will include £470 million to build infrastructure such as border control posts, and £235m for IT systems and around 500 more Border Force personnel to ensure our borders are safe and secure.
  • The Border Operating Model will lay the groundwork in support of the Government’s objective to have the world’s most effective border by 2025.
  • The Border Operating Model does not cover matters specified in the Northern Ireland Protocol. Further guidance to people and businesses in Northern Ireland will be published this summer.  Details of some specific processes, such as those for free ports, are subject to ongoing
  • public consultations and have not been included.
  • The model and arrangements will not be replicated by the EU. A summary of the European Commission’s planned changes can be viewed here, in a summary by the University of Surrey:



Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said: The publication of the Border Operating Model is an important step which gives business the certainty and direction they need to prepare for the end of the transition period when the UK becomes an independent trading nation for the first time in nearly 50 years.  We are committed to working closely with businesses and the border industry to help deliver not just a fully operational border at the end of the transition period, but also the world’s most effective and secure border in the world by 2025.”


There are a number of actions traders need to take to prepare for the end of the transition period, including:  


  • Get a customs intermediary.
  • Apply for a duty deferment account.
  • Prepare to pay or account for VAT on imported goods
  • Ensure you have International Driving Permits
  • Apply for a GB Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI) number. This is required for all businesses moving goods into or out of the UK


On 12 June the government took the decision to introduce new border controls in three stages up until 1 July 2021. The stages are:


From January 2021:


Traders importing standard goods, covering everything from clothes to electronics, will need to prepare for basic customs require-ments and have up to six months to complete customs declarations. While tar-iffs will be payable where due on relevant goods, payments can be deferred until the customs declaration has been made. Safety and Security declarations will not be required on imports for six months.


Full Customs Declarations will be needed from this date for controlled and excise goods like alcohol and tobacco products. There will also be physical checks at the point of destination or other approved premises on all high-risk live animals and plants, and a requirement to pre-notify for certain movements, but they will not be required to enter Great Britain (GB) via a Border Control Post (BCP).


Traders moving goods using the Common Transit Convention will need to follow all of the transit procedures – these will not be phased in. 


From April 2021:


All products of animal origin (POAO) – for example meat, honey, milk or egg products – and all regulated plants and plant products will also require pre-notification and the relevant health documentation. Any physical checks will continue to be conducted at the point of destination.


From July 2021:


Traders moving all goods will have to make full customs declarations at the point of importation and pay relevant tariffs. Full Safety and Security declarations will be required, while for SPS commodities there will be an increase in physical checks and the taking of samples. Checks for animals, plants and their products will now take place at GB Border Control Posts.




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