Export licences and certificates from 1 January 2021

Licences, certificates and special rules for taking goods out of the UK from 1 January 2021.

You’ll need to get a licence or certificate to export some types of goods from the UK.

Animals, plants, food and agricultural products

Chemicals and waste

Controlled goods

  • controlled goods – these include military items, dual-use items (items with both civil and military uses), firearms, and items that can be used for torture or capital punishment



There are different types of sanctions for trade, transport, finance and immigration.

Check if the goods you’re exporting will be controlled by UK sanctions from 1 January 2021. You may also not be allowed to export your goods to someone who is subject to financial sanctions.

Published 10 July 2020
Last updated 28 October 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added links to exporting chemicals guidance.

  2. First published.

  1. Step 1 Check if you should follow this step by step

    You should follow different guidance if you're:

  2. Step 2 Find out how to declare goods from 1 January 2021

    From 1 January 2021, you'll need to make customs declarations when exporting goods to the EU. These rules currently apply to exporting goods to the rest of the world, including Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

    You can make the declarations yourself, but most businesses use a courier, freight forwarder or customs agent.

    1. Find out how to make customs declarations yourself
    2. Get someone to deal with customs for you
  3. and Check the new rules for your type of goods

  4. Step 3 Make sure you have an EORI number starting with GB

    You need an EORI number that starts with GB to export goods from 1 January 2021.

    1. Get an EORI number
  5. Step 4 Find out if you can charge VAT at 0%

    From 1 January 2021, you can charge customers VAT at 0% (known as 'zero rate') on most goods you export to the EU.

    1. Check if you can zero rate your goods for VAT
  6. Step 5 Check if the EU business you're exporting to is ready

    The EU business importing your goods will also need to prepare for 1 January 2021.

    Before sending the business your goods, check they can make the necessary import customs declarations. They'll also need a licence or certificate to import some types of goods.

Brexit transition

Check you’re ready for 2021