As of 1 January 2021, the transition period established in connection with the United Kingdom's (UK) withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will be over. This means that from 1 January 2021, trade in goods with the UK is subject to customs formalities.

Is your business ready for changes?

Four general principles to know
  • Customs declarations are lodged electronically through the Estonian Tax and Customs Board's e-services environment e-MTA, and an EORI number is required.
  • The customs declaration is lodged at each time the goods are received/dispatched/transited.
  • The payment of taxes relating to the importation of goods (customs duties, excise duties, VAT) is made by means of a customs declaration.
  • Goods are subject to both tariff and non-tariff measures upon entry and exit.
Four essential pieces of knowledge to benefit from
  • The coverage of the most important topics can be found in the Guidance Note by the European Commission “Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of customs, including preferential origin".
  • Negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU are still going on, which could also have a significant impact on customs operations after 1 January 2021. Please keep up with the changes yourself, since the information is changing rapidly.
  • Northern Ireland is part of the customs territory of the UK, but no customs supervision, controls or formalities shall be applicable to goods moving between Northern Ireland and the EU, where those goods move as an intra-Union movement.
  • Country codes – with regard to Brexit, from 1 January 2021, two country codes for the United Kingdom will be used when carrying out customs formalities: ‘GB’ and ‘XI’. GB – depending on the context, covers the whole of the United Kingdom or the United Kingdom, with the exception of Northern Ireland. XI – used to distinguish Northern Ireland (the customs territory of the EU) from the United Kingdom, where this is necessary when carrying out customs formalities.

    When to use ‘GB’ and ‘XI’?

    Operator details: the country code is entered on the customs declaration after the EORI number has been entered with the data in the EORI database. If the EORI number does not exist or does not need to be provided, the whole UK country code is ‘GB’, i.e. also for a person registered in Northern Ireland, the country is ‘GB’.

When selecting the country of origin and destination , it is possible to select both ‘GB’ and ‘XI’ as the country. The selection of countries includes the codes:
GB – United Kingdom, except Northern Ireland; XI – Northern Ireland.

‘GB’ is always used to identify the country of origin and the country of transport.
There is no need to distinguish Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom to identify the country of origin and the country of transport.

  • The transport of goods by road is carried out under a transit procedure, which means that upon arrival at the place of destination one must turn to the customs office of destination indicated on the transit declaration.
You can assess your company's readiness with the following materials
Information on trade with the United Kingdom

To get guidance on trade relations with a third country, please find the information on the Estonian Tax and Customs Board's website "Business client" – "Customs, trade in goods".

If you have any further questions, please contact our customer support at the e-mail or on the phone +372 880 0814.

Information on customs clearance

In the following, we will draw attention to some of the most important aspects of trade with third countries.

  • If your business does not yet have an EORI number required for customs clearance, we recommend to request it from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board in good time.
    EORI number validation
    Economic operators registration (EORI)
  • Transport of goods by road
    If goods come directly from the UK by road, then the goods are certainly subject to a transit procedure.
    Goods shipped from the UK may be subject to a transit procedure in different Member States of the European Union (e.g. Lithuania, etc.). In the case of goods arriving by road transport, carefully check that all necessary customs procedures have been carried out.
    When goods arrive in Estonia by road transport, it must be specified with the carrier, forwarding agent or customs agent before unloading the goods whether and what customs procedures have been carried out. Please also note that goods placed under the transit procedure must be presented to customs before the goods are unloaded. If you hold an authorisation for authorised consignhee issued by the customs authorities, you may complete the transit procedure independently without presenting the goods to the customs office. For more information, go to  "Authorised consignee". 
    It is important to ensure that the completion of the transit operation and the subsequent customs procedure (e.g. imports for free circulation) are carried out.
    The transport document (CRM) normally contains the corresponding indication "Transit"/"T1"/"T2". Goods that exit customs supervision are subject to supervision procedures by the customs authorities; the persons concerned can also become subject to misdemeanour proceedings.
  • The UK accedes to the Convention on a common transit procedure (CTC). This means that the application of the transit procedure is governed by the CTC. The common transit procedure is used for the carriage of goods to or through a common transit country. NCTS is continually used for transit operations. For goods with non-Union status, a declaration of the type ‘T1’ is drawn up in the NCTS. For goods with Union status, a declaration of the type ‘T2’ is drawn up in the NCTS. The rules have been set out in the Convention on a common transit procedure of 20 May 1987. A more detailed overview is given on the web page „Convention on a common transit procedure".

Additional information

Last updated: 13.07.2022

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