The rules on importing and exporting goods to and from the EU changes for Britons when the UK left the EU. But these rules are set to change further in 2022, because a new phase of the Brexit process will be introduced this year.
In real terms, that will mean further limits on the amounts of Spanish foods, including Spanish wine, cheese and meat, that you can bring into the UK.
Here’s everything you need to know:
What Were the Rules in 2021?
From the end of the Brexit transition period, there have been restrictions on importing and exporting food stuffs from the UK to the EU. Bringing your favourite British food stuffs into Spain has been particularly problematic, and the import of many common foods has been banned completely. This applies to both meat and dairy, as well as any products that contain meat or diary derivatives (such as sweets contain gelatin or chocolate bars).
These rules were, up until now, a one-way street, affecting only bringing British produce into Spain rather than the other way around. In 2022 though, we can expect this to change. In 2022 the British authorities will gradually introduce new restrictions controlling the import of food and drink into the UK from the EU. What we don’t know is how rigorous the checks are going to be, but it’s certainly important not to risk penalties by breaching these rules:
From 1st January 2022
From the 1st January, full custom controls will be introduced at British borders. Any business or commercial enterprise importing produce into the UK will be affected by this change, and if your business isn’t prepared, with the new paperwork in place, then you may find that you experience delays in port and at the borders. At this point, however, the new rules won’t affect individuals travelling between Spain and the UK.
From 1st July 2022
From the 1st July 2022, new checks will be introduced that will impact all travellers. Products that are considered to be high-risk food items, such as meat and meat derived products will require certification in order to pass the border, and other products, such as certain types of plants, will also require veterinary certification prior to border control too.
These rules are not just for commercial businesses: they refer to all imports, which means that holidaymakers returning to the UK with a chorizo or some Spanish jamon (either as a gift or to recreate their favourite Spanish dishes back home) would officially require certification in order to do so. What we don’t know is how this regulation will be policed: whether all private vehicles and travellers luggage wil be checked by UK customs, and whether small amounts of product for private consumption would be permitted to pass through the border.
From 1st September 2022
From 1st September, additional checks will be introduced: this time on dairy products. As well as the restrictions on meat, new restrictions will also be added. This will apply to all products that contain dairy: so as well as obvious items like milk and cheese, other items like chocolate and yoghurt bars will also be subject to additional checks and restrictions.
1st September also sees checks on live animals being introduced: these regulations don’t apply to domestic pets, who can still be imported and exported using either the pet passport or animal health certificate legislations.
From 1st November 2022
Finally, the last extension of the rules in 2022 will take place on 1st November, and will see “all remaining regulated products of animal origin, including composite products and fish products” being subjected to checks. This means that any other product containing meat, fish, meat or fish derivatives, dairy products, and any other product that might contain one of these sources will not be subject to more stringent regulations. If you wish to bring any product from Spain, and the wider EU, into the UK then you will need to receive certification if it includes any animal derivatives.
Certain types of plants are also covered by the regulations, which would put limitations on travellers bringing flowers, bulbs or plants into the UK, even if this is for use in a private garden.
Can I Bring Alcohol from Spain to the UK?
If you wish to bring alcohol from Spain to the UK then this is still possible, but you will be subject to additional checks, and there will be limits on the amount of alcohol that you can import, depending on the strength of the alcohol involved. These limits are:
- beer – 42 litres
- still wine – 18 litres
- spirits and other liquors over 22 percent alcohol – 4 litres
- sparkling wine, fortified wine (vermouth, sherry etc) and other alcoholic drinks up to 22 percent alcohol (not including beer or still wine) – 9 litres
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