Prepare now for your 2018 Single Application

Date published: 20 February 2018

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced that the 2018 online Single Application and Maps Service will be available from 1 March 2018.


As a farm business owner, completing your Single Application for area-based schemes is one of the most important tasks you will undertake this year, so take the time to prepare and get it right. 

It is important to remember that DAERA no longer issues a paper version of the Single Application. All applications must be completed online by yourself or someone acting on your behalf.

The Single Application is the method for claiming any of the following schemes;  

  • Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) and Greening Payment
  • Young Farmers’ Payment (YFP)
  • Regional Reserve Entitlement allocation or top up (as a Young Farmer or New Entrant)
  • Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) Agreements
  • Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme (NICMS)
  • Farm Woodland Premium Scheme (FWPS)
  • Farm Woodland Scheme (FWS)
  • Forest Expansion Scheme (Annual Premia)

You must also use the Single Application and Maps Service to tell us about any changes to your land. You can no longer do this on paper.

Get ready, start early, complete on time!

Before you start your application you are strongly advised to read the information and guidance and view the helpful ‘how to’ videos that will be available on the DAERA website.

Check all your information

If you don’t farm it, don’t claim it. If you do farm it, make sure you can provide evidence to demonstrate it. Allow yourself adequate time to check all your information to ensure it is correct. You can only claim on land where the agricultural activity being carried out is under your control. You may be asked to provide evidence to demonstrate that you are actively farming the land on which you are claiming Basic Payment. Only one applicant can activate entitlements on each field. Make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria to apply and avoid duplicate field penalties.

Check: If you need to tell us about any changes to your land and if so, do this using the online Single Application and Maps Service. The most common error is where applicants do not remove areas of ineligible vegetation such as scrub, bracken or rush. 

Check: If you are setting up a new farm business make sure you start this process early to avoid any delays to your application or payments.

Check: If you have an EFS agreement that you comply fully with all the requirements and controls and the Terms and Conditions of the Scheme before you claim payment for your EFS Options and Non Productive Items.

Check: If you need to submit additional forms or evidence to support your application. If supporting evidence is not received within the application deadlines, your application (or the part to which the supporting evidence relates) may be rejected.

Check: The important dates in the application window in the table below and bear these in mind when planning to complete your application.

1 March to 15 May Single Application and Maps Application window open 
16 May to 31 May  Applications submitted by 15 May deadline can be amended to increase or decrease the area you have claimed between these dates without penalty.
16 May to 11 June Applications received on or between these dates will be penalised by 1% reduction on your payment for each working day it is late. For applications to the Regional Reserve the reduction increases to 4% for each working day it is late.
1 June to 11 June

Applications already received can also be amended between these dates to increase the area you have claimed by adding fields, but you will be penalised on the amended fields by a 1% reduction on your payment for each working day it is late. For applications to the Regional Reserve, the reduction increases to 4% for each working day it is late.

You can reduce fields/areas during this period without penalty.

11 June This is the final date for receiving applications or increasing the area you have claimed on your Single Application. You can still reduce the area you have claimed after this date without penalty, for example, by removing a field but only if we have not already notified you of a penalty or a planned inspection.

Leasing and selling entitlements

If you are no longer farming you cannot claim but you can lease or sell your entitlements to a business which is farming in 2018. A new online entitlement register service is now available on DAERA Online Services which allows farmers or their agents/authorised person to view the number, type and value of all Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payment entitlements held by their farm business. 

From 1 March you will be able to transfer BPS entitlements using our online Transfer Service. Further guidance is available in the guidance booklet which can be downloaded from the DAERA website

For a small number of businesses who are affected by the two year usage rule, the entitlement information displayed on the Single Application and the 2018 online entitlement register service is inaccurate. We will write to all farm businesses affected by this issue in early March and it is intended that the entitlement register will be updated for these farm businesses by early April. 

Ensure your business is separate

If you are a new farm business, you need to be registered with us as a fully separate and independent business. To register, you must complete and submit a Form FB1 application to allow us to assess whether your business meets the necessary conditions.

As this registration process can take time, you are strongly advised to do so without delay so that your new business ID can be allocated in time for you to register with DAERA Online Services and submit your Single Application in advance of 15 May. If it is subsequently found that your business is not fully separate and independent, a merger will be required.

If you are an existing farm business, it is important that you remain separate from other businesses. If you have commonly managed herds/flocks registered to another business, we recommend that you take immediate action to manage these herds/flocks independently, including separate grazing and housing. Alternatively, you should consider merging the businesses by submitting Form BC3 - Merger application by 15 May 2018.

If a new person is taking over an existing business, this can be accommodated within an existing business ID by providing evidence that this person is head of holding. Similarly if management is shared, it is possible to have more than one herd/flock (if applicable) within the one business ID and divide any payments from DAERA among the members of the business as they decide.

You can view guidance booklets and download forms relating to business changes from our website or obtain a copy from your local DAERA Direct office.

Land damaged by floods in August 2017 – Force Majeure

If your land was damaged as a result of the floods on 22 August 2017 and remains temporarily unavailable for agricultural activity or eligible woodland use during the whole or part of the 2018 scheme year, you must include that land on your 2018 Single Application and submit an application for force majeure (Form FML 1) along with your 2018 Single Application. You must provide evidence of the efforts made/steps taken to return this land to agricultural activity to date together with an indication of when this land will come back into agricultural use for consideration. Land which will return to agricultural use within a reasonable time without intervention as a result of natural regeneration will also be considered.

How do I apply?

Log on to DAERA Online Services using your Government Gateway or Northern Ireland Identity Assurance (NIDA) details

Remember, you will need a valid email address so we can send you your application summary and important information about your application. You can  also keep up to date with information and announcements about new and improved services being provided by DAERA Area Based Schemes by subscribing  in the ‘My Details’ section of DAERA Online Services to receive information via email and/or SMS text.

The Single Application and Maps service is continually being improved making it easier than ever to complete your application. It has many built in features that can help you avoid penalties such as warnings and help buttons.You can make changes to your map and the field data table within your Single Application will be updated. It will calculate your greening requirement based on your land information and if you have to declare an Ecological Focus Area, any previously declared features will be available for you to select or amend in most cases. Details of any Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) Agreement you have will be displayed to enable you to claim your payment for work completed. You will get an instant receipt and summary of your claim emailed to you. You can submit changes right up to the application closing date.

If you previously applied unsuccessfully for the Young Farmers’ Payment (YFP) and/or to the Regional Reserve (RR), or are a new applicant in 2018, you will need to provide a completed 2018 YFP/RR form (you can download this from the DAERA website during the application period) and the required supporting evidence in person at a DAERA Direct office by 15 May 2018.

Your Help Options:

There are a number of options available to you during the application period if you require assistance to complete your 2018 Single Application and Map:

SAF Advisory Service

Call our SAF Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848 (Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm) or use the convenient webchat facility within the application. Our advisors are ready to help you with any queries about your application.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook.
  2. All media enquiries to DAERA Press Office or tel: 028 9052 4619.

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