New SPS Import Controls – 2 Weeks To Go!

To prepare you for the new import controls coming into force from April 30th, HMRC has distributed some useful information related to the below topics to help you comply with the changes:

  • A request for your help in measuring trader readiness for 30 April  
  • In-progress BCP designations 
  • Common user charge   
  • IUU documentation changes  
  • PEACH to IPAFFS transition 
  • Common errors update 
  • Information about border control posts and charges including the Common User Charge
  • Information about import notifications and derogation requests  
  • A reminder about getting your CHED import notification and customs declaration right   
  • Updated information about compound and composite products  
  • Information about who to contact with queries about your imports from 30 April  
  • An updated summary of common errors  
  • Resources to help you comply with the controls  

Check what you need to do to be compliant and avoid disruption to your business and supply chain.  

New import controls have been introduced and further changes will come into effect from 30 April 2024.  

From 30 April 2024 traders must:   

  • Ensure goods arrive through an appropriately designated Border Control Post (BCP) or Control Point (CP) for your commodity type   
  • If called, present the consignment for documentary, physical and identification inspections at the BCP or CP   

These requirements will apply to EU and non-qualifying Northern Ireland goods entering GB from the island of Ireland no earlier than 31 October 2024, with the precise date to be confirmed.  

This email provides information on both what you need to do to comply now and when the additional changes are implemented. 

Defra wants to hear how ready traders are for border checks from 30 April 

Please tell us how ready you are for 30 April so that we can target support for traders accordingly. It will take a few minutes to answer the survey and you’ll be directed to latest guidance on new import controls at the end.  

Start survey now 

New ‘in-progress’ BCP designation application details published on 

Today, the location and basic information of in-progress applications has been published to give traders a GB-wide snapshot of the potential choice and geographical spread of BCP import options for their particular goods from 30 April 2024.   

If/when an application is approved, the details will move from in-progress to designated on the pages and the BCP maps ahead of 30 April.   

Please note that this information has been shared with consent of the operator, with the understanding that this is information relating to an application in progress.  

Common User Charge

We have published information about the confirmed Common User Charge rates and how the charge will apply to imports entering Great Britain through the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel from 30 April 2024. You can also view the Government’s response to the consultation on charging arrangements at Government-run border control posts here

Further details about the administration of the charge including the process about how and when importers will be invoiced, and what support there is for business to pay the charge will be set out in guidance ahead of 30 April 2024.    

We will be hosting a webinar on the Common User Charge rates, who will need to pay and how it will be administered – on Wednesday 10 April between 9:30 and 10:30am. You can sign up to attend the webinar here

IUU Documentation – changes from 30 April 2024 

The UK’s Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing requirements came into effect for EU imports from January 2021, to help combat IUU fishing.  

IUU fishing documentation (catch certificates, processing statements and evidence of storage) must be sent in advance, for all relevant imports, to the Port Health Authority (PHA).  

These documents will need to be uploaded to IPAFFs from 30 April 2024, and you’ll need to provide the following for each uploaded catch certificate:

  • catch certificate reference 
  • date of issue 
  • flag state of catching vessel  

Please note that some Port Health Authorities and Local Authorities may additionally require you to upload the IUU documents to their Port Health Interactive Live Information System (PHILIS).  

Please contact the PHA to find out how far in advance you need to provide these documents. The minimum timings set in the legislation are 72 hours in advance for imports by sea, 4 hours by rail or air and 2 hours by road.  

IUU risk-based checks are separate to SPS inspections. 

PEACH TO IPAFFS Transition: Refresh of Commodity Codes now available in IPAFFS 

A refresh of all commodity codes has now been uploaded into IPAFFS and you can start to use these now.   

06029050 EPPO XXXXX – there is now the option to select this code as a generic code.  This is an interim fix until we have an enhanced complement of commodity codes uploaded in the coming weeks.  

20K+ lines of additional EPPO Codes for 06029050 – This fix is broken into 2 parts –  

A. Sync 20K+ lines into IPAFFS which makes them visible but not selectable in a CHED  
B. Released update in the coming days which will make them selectable in IPAFFS to create a CHEDPP. 

Please use IPAFFS for your import notifications

Importers must be registered with a UK address within IPAFFS to ensure you can submit import pre-notifications. Please visit this link if you need to register for IPAFFS.    

IPAFFS Training 

Start using and familiarising yourself with the IPAFFS system now – don’t leave it until it’s too late.  To support your transition from PEACH to IPAFFS we continue to hold weekly 1-hour training sessions that provide a live walkthrough of the new process. Please register for a time that suits you via the links below.   

Invitation to register and submit notifications via IPAFFS – Training Links

You can also watch our pre-recorded training session here.  

Guidance on IPAFFS is available on GOV.UK. and our Plant Health Information Portal Import IT Systems page. You will be able to find the following information: 

Use ‘Clone a Certificate’ in IPAFFS for importing animal products from New Zealand   

When you create and submit an import notification in IPAFFS for the movement of animal products from New Zealand, reduce the time you take to fill in the Common Health Entry Document (CHED) import notification in IPAFFS by selecting ‘Clone a Certificate’ instead of ‘Create a notification’ when you start a new notification.    

Enter the reference number of the Export Health Certificate (EHC) provided by your New Zealand supplier. When the certificate has been successfully cloned, you will see a preview of the certificate information. Review the information provided to check that the certificate is the correct one to clone and then click ‘Clone’. The information from the certificate will pre-populate most of the fields in the import notification.     

Complete the remaining fields, check and verify that the information provided is correct. Then submit the import notification.  

If you see a message that the certificate from your New Zealand supplier cannot be cloned, double check the certificate reference is correct. If the certificate cannot be cloned, continue to manually complete the import notification as usual. 

Read our summary of common errors. 

Read our summary of common errors that have been identified through the documentary checks undertaken since the import controls were implemented on 31 January. Make sure to avoid these common errors to reduce the chance

Border control posts and charges  

We have recently published a list of operators that have applied for designation of a new border control post along with information about charges including the common user charge rates and how they will apply from 30 April.   

Read our information on Border Control Posts (BCP’s) and charges for importing live animals, animal products, plants and plant products 

Common User Charge rates – billing and invoices 

We have updated our guidance on Common User Charge rates today on Gov.UK to include information on billing requirements and invoices. The guidance provides examples of how the common user charge will be calculated and further information on how to arrange payment of the charge by importers or their agents.  

Import notifications and derogation requests  

The requirement for IPAFFS prenotifications to be submitted one working day ahead of a consignment’s arrival in GB is an existing requirement for goods from the EU and non-qualifying Northern Ireland goods from the island of Ireland.  Traders are strongly encouraged to submit their import notifications as early as possible to enable any issues to be resolved prior to their arrival.  

From 30 April when controls at the border are introduced, importers should contact the nominated Port Health Authority (PHA) to request a derogation from 24 hours to reduce the pre-notification window to a minimum of 4 hours if, by exception, they are unable to meet this requirement.  

Some PHA’s may be able to accommodate a reduction from 24 hours to a minimum of a 4-hour prenotification window but this will be considered on a case-by-case basis for each consignment.  

For plants and plant products for goods arriving by air and RoRo IPAFFS pre-notifications should be submitted 4 hours ahead of the goods arrival in GB. All other modes of transport must provide an IPAFFS pre-notification with one working day. 

CHED import notification and customs declarations – a reminder  

From 30 April, HMRC/Defra systems will cross-check the CHED import notification and customs declaration for each consignment of goods subject to SPS controls imported from EU countries. This is already in place for non-EU countries.   

To avoid the consignment being directed to a BCP when it may not need to attend, the CHED import notification reference and commodity codes must be consistent between the notification and the customs declaration. Follow these steps:  

  • Submit the import notification using IPAFFS before your customs agent submits the customs declaration using Customs Declaration Service.   
  • Use the new Copy function to copy the CHED reference and customs Doc code in the correct format for the customs declaration.    
  • Send to your customs agent together with a PDF copy of the import notification. Ask them to double check the commodity codes are the same in the customs declaration. They should also check that there are no special characters in the description of goods field (Data Element 6/8).   
  • Work with your customs agent to fix any errors shown on CDS or IPAFFS before the consignment reaches the port of departure, to avoid it being directed to a BCP when it may not need to attend.

Importing compound and composite products  

We have updated our information about compound products. Find out what compound products are, and how to import or move them from the EU and Northern Ireland to Great Britain.  

For more information about composite products read our guidance Import composite products from the EU to Great Britain – GOV.UK (

You can also use our decision tree to find out if your product is a composite product.  

Queries about your import from 30 April 2024  

From 30 April any urgent BTOM/import queries for plants and plant products across England & Wales should be directed to the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA), by email, in the first instance:   

Alternatively, you can contact them by telephone: +44 (0) 3000 200 301  

From 30 April any urgent BTOM/import queries for animal products should be directed to the Port Health Authority (PHA) at your nominated Border Control Post (BCP).  

Find your PHA contact details at your nominated BCP on this map.  

Read our summary of common errors

Read our summary of common errors that have been identified through the documentary checks undertaken since the import controls were implemented on 31 January.  Ensuring you do not repeat these common errors can help reduce the need to undergo in-person documentary checks at the border.

Resources to help you comply with the new controls and prepare for the changes that are coming

Visit our YouTube channel and watch recordings of our previous webinars for traders.   

Read the Frequently Asked Questions we have received about IPAFFS and Health Certificates.   

Sign up to our series of webinars for traders. These sessions will tell you all you need to know about changes to import processes from 30 April 2024 under the Border Target Operating Model. They will provide a step-by-step guide to importing to GB from EU/EFTA and will provide information on entering through a port of entry with a border control post and outline what happens once you get there.  

If you’re importing plants or plant products, sign up to our webinar: BTOM: Prepare for the upcoming import controls from Apr’24 (plants focused) Tickets, Thu 11 Apr 2024 at 11:00 | Eventbrite 

Join our session at 10.00am on Tuesday 23 April to find out about the forthcoming changes for products of animal origin:  BTOM: Prepare for import controls from 30 April ’24 (animal products) Tickets, Tue 23 Apr 2024 at 10:00 | Eventbrite 

Read our guidance on how to comply with your legal responsibilities for: