Guidance

EU business: exporting to the UK

Find out what EU businesses need to do to export to the UK.

This page sets out what EU businesses who are exporting to the UK need to consider. Check with your EU country’s customs authority about the rules for sending goods to the UK from the EU.

For more EU business information, visit gov.uk/eubusiness.

Buying or selling goods

Rules have changed and there are border requirements placed on the movement of goods between the EU and UK. Find out more about how the border with the UK will work.

Make sure you talk to your trading partners in the UK to:

  • agree responsibilities
  • make sure you have the correct paperwork for the type of goods you are trading

You must make sure you have completed the necessary border requirements.

There will be no substantive change for the movement of goods between Northern Ireland and member states of the EU, including Ireland.

Transporting goods from the EU to the UK

Hauliers and haulier managers must:

  • use the ‘check an HGV’ service to apply for a Kent Access Permit
  • follow new traffic management processes at ports to avoid delays
  • check you have the paperwork you need to cross the border between the EU and Great Britain via the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel

Fines of £300 could be issued if you do not use the ‘check an HGV service’ when travelling through Kent ports, or if you provide a fraudulent declaration.

Full guidance is available in the haulier handbook.

COVID testing

Several EU countries have introduced COVID-19 testing requirements for returning hauliers. The rules are different in each country. Check the rules before you travel and take the necessary action.

To avoid delays, you can get tested at an advice site before entering Kent or travelling to other Channel crossing points. Find your nearest advice site.

Exporting food and drink

Read this guidance on preparing your food and drink business to learn more about:

  • getting a GB EORI number
  • making sure that your products comply with UK food labelling requirements
  • getting the right documentation to send with your goods if you are exporting animals or animal products
  • complying with the new phytosanitary requirements if you are exporting plant products

Exporting agri-food products

If you sell agri-food products to the UK, your business should:

  • check the requirements for exporting food, drink or agricultural products to the UK from the EU
  • check what documents, licences and certificates are required for the goods you are exporting from the EU into the UK and how to apply for them

Exporting animals and animal products

If you export animals and animal products to Great Britain, you must comply with new sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) requirements. Import controls for EU countries will be introduced in stages during 2021 and early 2022. This includes the need for health certificates and for goods to be checked at a Border Control Post.

If you export animals or animal products to Great Britain, you should:

  • find out when the new rules are being introduced for your product

  • check whether a health certificate is required by contacting the animal health authority in your country or an official vet

  • when required, apply for a health certificate from the competent authority in your country and send an electronic copy of the completed form to your importer to upload onto IPAFFS

Find out more about exporting animals and animal products to Great Britain.

Exporting plants and plant products

EU exports of plants, fruit and vegetables to Great Britain must comply with new phytosanitary requirements, including phytosanitary certificates. If you export plants, fruit and vegetables to Great Britain, you should:

  • check whether a phytosanitary certificate (PC) is required by contacting the plant health authority in your country or your local plant health inspector
  • check if your plants require laboratory testing of samples to ensure they are free from pests and diseases or inspections during the growing season
  • apply for a PC from the relevant National Plant Protection Organisation before export

Find out more about exporting plants and plant products.

Exporting fish to Great Britain

You must:

  • comply with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) regulations

  • supply catch certificates and other relevant documentation - check where to get documents from with your local country authorities

  • land into a North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) designated UK port – you will need to submit a NEAFC Port State Control form (PSC1 or PSC2) before landing as well as relevant IUU documentation

To tranship in UK ports, you will still need to land into a designated NEAFC Port and complete the appropriate IUU documentation, including:

  • a UK transhipment form
  • prior notification

Find out more about exporting fish to Great Britain.

Exporting CITES listed items (endangered animals)

EU businesses trading CITES listed items will need to follow rules including:

  • making sure you use a designated point of entry when bringing CITES listed items into Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)

  • obtaining permits when moving CITES listed items into Great Britain - for example, applying for an Animal Plant and Health Agency (APHA) Permit at least 30 days in advance of movements

Find out more about moving CITES listed items

Energy-related products placed on the market in Great Britain must comply with relevant UK legislation.

Compliant products placed on the market before 1 January 2021, with EU flags on their energy labels, may continue to remain in circulation following the end of the transition period.

Products placed on the Northern Ireland market must comply with relevant EU legislation. This includes using the EU flag and QR codes that link to the required product information on the European product registry for energy labelling (EPREL).

Check climate change requirements.

Manufactured goods

If you are placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain, you may need to:

  • review your product marking, labelling, and packaging
  • get additional approvals, certifications, or registrations
  • appoint a legal representative based in the UK
  • check whether your (or your distributors) legal responsibilities are changing

Find out more about placing manufactured goods on the market in Great Britain.

If you are placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland, the relevant EU rules relating to manufactured goods will apply. Where a business already holds the relevant approvals that goods meet EU rules, this will continue to provide the basis for placing those goods on the market in Northern Ireland.

Find out more about placing manufactured goods on the market in Northern Ireland.

Cosmetic goods

The UK has its own database for the notification of cosmetic products: the Submit Cosmetic Products Notification (SCPN) service.

You will need to provide notification of the cosmetics products you place on the UK market.

If your product was:

  • already on the EEA or UK market before 31 December 2020
  • previously notified to the European Commission via their CPNP database

You will have 90 days (from 1 January 2021) to add the information to the UK SCPN service. You will be able to provide the same product information for the UK notification as you have already provided to the EU CPNP notification database.

F gas and ODS regulation

You must comply with requirements under the fluorinated gas (F gas) and ozone depleting substances (ODS) regulations when exporting to and importing from Great Britain.

The EU F gas and ODS regulations and systems will continue to apply in Northern Ireland so Northern Ireland based businesses can continue trading with the EU/EEA as they already do.

Find out how to comply with the F gas Regulations.

Trading timber

You need to carry out due diligence when importing and exporting timber.

Trading chemicals

If you trade chemicals, you must review your role in the EU and UK REACH systems and comply with new rules to maintain access to the UK market.

EU REACH will continue to apply in Northern Ireland so NI-based businesses can continue trading with the EU/EEA as they already do.

Find out how to comply with REACH chemical regulations.

Wood packaging material

If you use, produce or supply wood packaging material (WPM) to move goods from the EU to Great Britain, you must make sure it meets ISPM15 international standards. Wood packaging material includes: packing cases, boxes, crates, drums and similar containers, pallets, box pallets, pallet collars and other load boards, and dunnage (loose wood used to protect goods and their packaging).

You must make sure you, your packing service or freight forwarder, uses solid wood packaging that meets the requirements to avoid having your goods held at the border. Any wood packaging material may be checked at the border or inland premises to make sure it meets the necessary requirements. If your imports don’t comply with these rules then:

  • the wood packaging could be rejected or destroyed

  • you will need to make alternative arrangements for the transport of goods

Published 2 December 2020
Last updated 11 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated the 'Exporting animals and animal products' section to clarify that import controls for EU countries will be introduced in stages during 2021 and early 2022.

  2. Updated sections on wood packaging material, exporting animals, exporting food and drink, exporting agri-food products and transporting goods from EU to the UK.

  3. Added translations for Dutch, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish.

  4. First published.