Export Documentation: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Notice

Man inspecting shipping containers

Temporary service adjustments due to COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken steps to provide continuity to all of our processes in order to minimise disruption to our customers.

LAST UPDATED: 08 January 2021, 14:36

Due to the latest government measures, our offices remain closed to our customers for the foreseeable future.

If you do need to send original documents to us for processing the best method is through the post. Customers and Couriers are requested not to come to Leigh Court. 

However, we are still delivering a virtual solution to our clients for the majority of our export services, and we recognise the need to endeavour to keep the certification and fulfilment of documentation in place.

The majority of the International trade team are still working remotely, and whilst our teams are working from home inevitably in some cases it will take longer for documents to be processed, owing to logistical challenges.

We have a process in place for manually requested certification documents but these will take considerably longer to process compared to using the ECert platform. We strongly advise to use the digital solutions where possible. As the situation continues to unfold there may come a point where we are unable to fulfil manual documents.

Documents that require a wet signature by both ourselves and the client may take a number of days to process. We fully recognise that this is not our usual same day turn round, but the only alternative would be the withdrawal of the service altogether.

Please bear with us and in the meantime we wish you good health!

Moving to an electronic documents only service will affect the following types of documentation:

  • United Kingdom Certificates of Origin – For exporters who do not currently apply for UK Certificates of Origins online you can register for an e-z Cert account today and then apply for eXpress documents, which are certified (stamped) electronically and then printed in your own office / home onto the blank certificate stationery. To ensure the least amount of disruption to your business, after registering on e-z Cert you will need to email us to request a supply of blank UK Certificates of Origin /UK EUR1. Please note ATR forms are no longer valid. Please note that the eXpress application option will not work for certain countries for UK EUR1s (depending on the country – see further information below).

  • Arab British Certificates of Origin –You can apply for many Arab documents using the eXpress option on ECert. However, if you know that these documents will not be accepted by the customs authority overseas without original signatures, you can still apply for Arab Certificates of Origin online. Invoices or originally signed other documents will still need to be sent to us in the post.

    NB 08/01/2021:  Both the Iraq and Tunisian embassies are closed due to Covid restrictions

  • UK EUR1 – There are a number of countries who will not accept electronically signed EUR1 documents: Egypt, Iceland, Israel, Lebanon, Liechtenstein,, Norway and Switzerland. Therefore, we will only be able to offer electronically stamped UK EUR1 documents for the other preference giving countries. Chile and Switzerland have relaxed their rules on having manual signatures on EUR1's during the current crisis. SGS have amended the settings on their ECert platform for EUR1 applications for both Chile and Switzerland so that these can now be done as eXpress applications, with overseas customs now accepting electronic signatures.

  • ATR – Due to the UK – Turkey trade deal which was signed in December 2020, ATR forms are no longer required. You can find details of the UK-Turkey trade agreement here. 

  • Other documents – Exporters can upload any other document on the ECert platform and apply for the document to be certified using the express option. 

  • Embassy Closure update – Most Arab Embassies remain open with the exception of Iraq and Tunisia, however due to staff shortages and shorter working hours, there may be delays to receiving your documents back. If you have documents to be legalised for any other Country embassy, please contact us and we can let you know which embassies can currently process documents.

Please Note: Business West cannot be held responsible for the refusal to accept any electronically stamped documents by overseas customs officials, other authorities, the negotiating bank or the consignee. 

ATA Carnet Service Update

Due to the UK leaving the EU on 31st Dec 2020, an ATA Carnet may now be required when shipping your goods on a temporary export basis into or via the EU to the rest of the World. The forms have changed to incorporate the changes which have come about due to the end of the transition period. If you have any further queries please contact us.

For those who are set up to process their ATA Carnets using the express option on e-z Cert, we are able to offer this service.

For manual Carnet applications, we are now able to offer this as a service, however, as most of the team are still working remotely, please note that any manual Carnets must be applied for using ECert. 

Please note that there could be delays in processing these documents and we will not be able to guarantee the same level of turnaround times or, that applications submitted before 1:00 pm will be processed the same day.

Letters of Credit Service Update

In light of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, whilst we are endeavouring to continue with business as usual, there are some factors beyond our control which may lead to delays in being able to process your Letter of Credit applications or present your documents to the bank.

Our ability to process Letters of Credit or present documents to the bank is also very much dependent on whether we receive information from yourselves and third party documents in good time. Please ensure documents are circulated at the earliest opportunity.

We have enabled our team to work both in our offices and remotely, endeavouring to mitigate risk. However, as we are all exposed to the current increased risk of illness our usual levels of service may be impacted.

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