In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government is making temporary changes to customs policy and authorisations.
These amendments to existing policies are most likely to affect businesses authorised, or applying to be authorised by customs, to use temporary storage or customs special procedures such as inward processing or customs warehousing, who operate using simplified declarations such as an entry in your records or if you have a guarantee.
The rule change will also affect those operating as, or who are reliant on, an Authorised Economic Operator.
Businesses that are no longer able to comply with the conditions of their customs authorisations because of measures to combat the pandemic must seek permission from their supervising office within HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) or the Border Force to temporarily vary the conditions of their authorisation.
You can apply to temporarily vary the following conditions of your customs approvals:
- changes to site opening hours
- the need for staff to be on-site to carry out a particular function if that function can be completed remotely
- the specific areas within an approved location in which customs controls must be conducted
- reducing dwell times to allow quicker permission to progress
- time limits for bills of discharge and throughput periods for special procedures
- how to process goods held in temporary storage over 90 days.
These conditions can be varied by emailing your supervising office with the subject ‘COVID-19 customs easement request’.
HMRC has said that applications will be looked at on a case-by-case basis and may be declined if there are concerns about the impact on customs controls.
If you are applying for customs authorisations, HMRC has confirmed that you can temporarily send your postal customs authorisation application by email here. However, you must send a postal application form with an original signature once the Coronavirus (COVID-19) controls are lifted.
Customs authorisations used to bring supplies of food, medical and pharmaceutical goods will be given priority during this period and fast-tracked wherever possible.
If we are unable to renew your customs authorisation that is due to expire, HMRC will automatically extend your authorisation to ensure you have continuity and let you know that the extension has been granted.