5 weeks to go - New import controls are coming on 30 April 



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

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. 

Systems testing update 

DEFRA are working in conjunction with the Cabinet Office, HMRC and other government departments to test the new systems ahead of 30 April, in line with the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM). We have planned 13 tests in total to cover a broad range of possible scenarios, led by the Cabinet Office. In recent weeks we have completed approximately 45% of the tests with the remaining tests scheduled to take place prior to 30 April. From a DEFRA perspective the aim of the tests is to verify that the IPAFFS and GVMS messaging system, designed to direct the driver to the BCP is fully operational, ensure all processes are aligned as well as assuring resources and infrastructure meet the requirements for 30 April, through full end to end testing.


Information to help you comply with the changes 


Inspection messaging service for goods subject to SPS checks at the border 

From 30 April 2024, Defra and HMRC will provide a new Inspection Messaging Service for imports of goods from EU and EFTA countries that are subject to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks at the border.  

The Messaging Service will use existing government import services - Defra's Import of Products, Animals, Food and Feed System (IPAFFS) and HMRC’s Customs Declaration Service (CDS) and Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) - to alert operators and hauliers/drivers if an SPS inspection is required at a GB border control post or control post on goods arriving into a GB point of entry. 

How it will work from 30 April for imports for the GB market arriving via a GVMS-enabled carrier:  

1. The person or operator responsible for importing the goods into Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) submits an SPS import notification (the Common Health Entry Document or CHED) to GB authorities for the goods, using the IPAFFS service, naming a GB port of entry or control point.  

2. The operator or their customs agent adds the CHED import notification reference number into the customs declaration for the goods made in Customs Declaration Service (CDS) in the format required and ensures that information about the consignment in the declaration is consistent with the import notification. The person or operator should also continue to monitor their IPAFFS dashboard and CDS for any messages around inconsistencies between the import notification and the customs declaration that need to be resolved before the goods arrive in GB. 

3. The operator, their agent or haulier raises a Goods Movement Reference (GMR) in GVMS. The GMR links all the declaration references together for the goods being moved, so that the driver only needs to present one reference at the border port they are leaving from.  

4. The driver provides the GMR at check in to the ferry or rail service on the EU side. Once onboard, the haulier/driver checks the ferry’s screens or HMRC’s Check if you need to report for an inspection service, available in 10 European languages, using the GMR to see if the goods have been called for inspection at the port’s border control post, an inland border facility or a control post.   

5. If a consignment in the load is called for an inspection at a border control post or inland border facility or control post, the haulier/driver must go directly there so that the inspection can be completed on the consignment. 

How it will work from 30 April for EU goods transiting GB or entering via a non-GVMS carrier/port:  

6. The person or operator responsible for importing the goods into GB submits a CHED import notification to GB authorities using the IPAFFS service, naming the port of entry and adding up to five nominated contacts to the CHED import notification, which can include haulier contacts.  

7. The operator or their customs agent adds the CHED import notification reference number into the customs declaration for the goods made in Customs Declaration Service (CDS) in the format required and ensures that information about the consignment in the declaration is consistent with the import notification.  

8. After submitting the notification, they will see an initial risk assessment with the message ‘No Inspection Required’ or ‘Inspection Required’. If an inspection is required, the name and address of the border control post, inland border facility or control post will be provided.   

9. An email and SMS message with this information will also be sent to the person or operator responsible for the goods and to the five nominated contacts provided in the import notification. This is only sent if an inspection is required.  

10. The person or operator responsible for the goods in GB must ensure that the haulier/driver presents the goods at the BCP for inspection if required. 

11. The authorities have the right to overturn the initial risk assessment, so it is important for the person or operator responsible for the goods in GB to check regularly for messages until the goods clear the border.  

12. For CTC transits, the person or operator should also continue to follow HMRC’s transit process, which will be separate from Defra’s SPS import requirements. 


A single CHED-P import notification format 

From 30 April 2024, there will be a single Common Health Entry Document (CHED-P) import notification format for both EU and non-EU animal product imports. You will continue to use IPAFFS to create and submit the import notification for your consignment. 

What this means for you 

EU animal product imports – the questions will remain the same and you will see updated and clearer help text based on feedback from businesses. 

Non-EU animal product imports – you will see changes to some questions, plus clearer help text.

Watch a video about the EU CHED-P on YouTube to help you understand the new questions.

Note: animal products include products of animal origin for human consumption, animal by-products not for human consumption, germinal products and those composite products that are not exempt from SPS controls. 

Questions that importers of non-EU animal products may not have seen before include: 

1) Select the highest risk category 

This question asks you to select the highest risk category of all the commodities in the consignment: 

·         If your consignment contains all LOW-risk commodities: Select LOW Risk 

·         If your consignment contains all MEDIUM risk commodities: Select MEDIUM risk 

·         If your consignment contains both LOW and MEDIUM risk commodities: Select MEDIUM risk 

You will not be able to complete the notification until you answer this question. 

IPAFFS will automatically check if a commodity is HIGH risk – if it identifies that the consignment contains high risk commodities, you will not see this screen and will be able to continue the notification as normal. 

Make sure you choose the right risk category so that only the required SPS controls are applied to your consignment. 

2) A reminder about EHC’s 

If an Export Health Certificate is required for commodities in your consignment, you will see a screen reminding you to upload the EHC before you submit the notification. You will also see a reminder in the Accompanying Documents section. 

3) Nominating additional contacts 

We strongly recommend that you add the contact details of operators involved in the import of your consignment into the Nominated Contacts section. These contacts will be notified if your consignment is chosen for inspection. Examples of nominated contacts include: 

·         Alternative contact for your business 

·         Haulier 

·         Customs agent 

·         Fast parcel operator 

·         Freight forwarder  

5) Using Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) 

From 30 April, operators and drivers of loads travelling via GVMS-enabled carriers will be able to use GVMS to check if the load needs to go for SPS inspection at a BCP/CP at the same time as checking for customs inspections. 

You must tick yes to this question in the CHED import notification on IPAFFS to activate this service. Ask your customs agent or freight forwarder/haulier if you are not sure if the routing uses GVMS.


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


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. 

Join our session at 10.30am on Tuesday 9 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 9 Apr 2024 at 10:30 | Eventbrite 

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

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

Read our summary of common errors that have been identified through the documentary checks undertaken since the new controls were implemented. 

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

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

·         importing live animals and animal products to Great Britain

·         importing plants and plant products from the EU to Great Britain

·         importing plants and plant products from non-EU countries to Great Britain


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