New rules for January 2021
The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
This page tells you what you'll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.
Check what else you need to do during the transition period.
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What you need to know and do to export or import objects of cultural interest from 1 January 2021.
During the transition period
If you’re exporting objects of cultural interest from the UK, two licensing regimes are in place:
- UK law applies for exports to any foreign destination
- EU regulations apply to objects travelling outside the EU
In the UK, exporters usually only need to obtain one specific individual export licence, which may cover more than one object.
Both licensing systems are administered by Arts Council England (ACE) and you can read ACE’s Procedures and Guidance for Exporters. This guidance advises you which licence to apply for and outlines the lead times for issuing licences.
There are no licensing requirements for importing objects of cultural interest into the UK or EU at present.
The Statutory Guidance and the Procedures and Guidance for Exporters has further information about when a referral to expert advisers is needed.
From 1 January 2021, you should send in your application by using the UK export licence form, regardless of the destination.
Exporting objects of cultural interest from the UK from 1 January 2021
From 1 January 2021 you will need a UK licence to export cultural objects from the UK to any destination. You will no longer need to apply for the EU licence. The form can be requested by emailing: email@example.com or writing to:
Export Licensing Unit Arts Council England 21 Bloomsbury Street London WC1B 3HF
EU licences issued by ACE before 1 January 2021 will be valid for export at UK borders after exit day. The validity period for standard EU export licences is limited to 12 months.
The offences, rights, obligations, and restrictions relating to licences will still apply after exit day. For example, the conditions of a temporary EU licence issued by the UK before exit day (such as a deadline for the return of the object to the UK) will continue to apply and be enforceable after exit day.
Draft amended versions of the existing statutory guidance and the existing Open General Export Licence are available on ACE’s website. These are for information only, and may be subject to minor changes.
Importing objects of cultural interest from the EU into the UK or a country outside the EU now and from 1 January 2021
There is no licensing requirements for importing objects of cultural interest into the UK.
However, if you are importing items from the EU to the UK or another country outside the EU you’ll need to comply with the EU and individual EU countries’ export licensing regimes.
The licensing authorities in the country of export will be able to advise you on what you need to do. If you hold an EU licence issued by the UK authority before 1 January 2021, and plan to use it to authorise exports to destinations outside the EU after exit day, you should also take any further steps to ensure uninterrupted compliance with the EU and individual EU countries’ licensing regimes.