Customs implications of trade with Northern Ireland

The United Kingdom (UK), including Northern Ireland (NI), is formally no longer a Member State of the European Union (EU).

As part of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Revised Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland entered into effect from 1 January 2021.

The revised Protocol acknowledges the unique situation of Ireland and Northern Ireland through:

  • avoiding a hard border, including any physical infrastructure, or related checks and controls, between Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • safeguarding the all-island economy and the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement.

Implementation of the revised Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland

Under the Revised Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland:

  • legally remains part of the customs territory of the UK
  • effectively remains within the EU Single Market for the movement of goods only.

This has the following practical implications for rules for trade in goods between Ireland, Northern Ireland and the EU:

  • No customs declarations, tariffs or quantitative restrictions.
  • No customs checks or controls on the island of Ireland.
  • No safety and security requirements.
  • Continuing access to the VAT Information System (VIES) for Northern Ireland traders to account for VAT on intra-Community acquisitions and supplies.
  • The movements of excisable products continue to be completed through the Excise Movement Control System (EMCS) by Northern Ireland traders. 

To safeguard the EU Single Market, the Protocol provides that Northern Ireland remains aligned to a limited set of EU rules related to goods. The Union Customs Code continues to apply to all goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain (GB) or other third countries (non-EU and EFTA countries).

Under the Ireland and Northern Ireland Protocol, a Joint Committee has been established to facilitate the implementation, and application of, the Protocol. This is to agree criteria to determine the risk of the onward movement of Great Britain or third country goods through Northern Ireland into the EU. 

Northern Ireland traders

In relation to the requirements for trade between Northern Ireland and the EU, Great Britain and third countries, please consult HMRC for further guidance. 

Great Britain EORI numbers will no longer be accepted on the EU customs systems. Northern Ireland EORI numbers have been updated with a new country code 'XI'. XI EORI numbers are accepted on the Irish customs clearance systems.