Exporting and importing goods if the UK leaves the EU with no deal

Import and export processes that UK businesses trading with the EU would need to follow in the event that the UK exits the EU without a deal.


In the event that the UK exits the EU without a deal, from 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019, many UK businesses will need to apply the same processes to EU trade that apply when trading with the rest of the world.

However, if you only import or export goods with Ireland across the Northern Ireland–Ireland land border, you do not need to take any of the actions set out here. Instead, you can disregard it. We will write to you again with information about the arrangements for trading with Ireland as soon as we can.

HMRC has written to businesses setting out 3 things they should do as part of preparing for no deal. If you have not yet had the letter in the post you can read it here. You do not need to contact HMRC directly.

Checklist of things you’ll need to do in preparation

Here is a list of things you’ll need to do in preparation that are covered in greater detail within this guide and accompanying guides:

Before you import or export goods

You need an Economic Operator Registration and Identification (EORI).

Before you import or export any goods, check if they’re restricted goods.

You will always need a licence to import or export:

  • military and paramilitary goods
  • dual-use and technology
  • artworks
  • plants and animals
  • medicines and chemicals

Exporting goods

Find out the commodity code of your goods

Commodity codes classify your goods so you that can fill in export declarations accurately.

Research the destinations you want to export to. This background information, along with the commodity code of the goods will help you work out if the goods will incur import duty in the destination country.

Choose the right customs procedure code for your goods

Customs procedure codes identify the customs or excise processes that you may want to use depending on what your business does, for example importing goods into a customs-approved warehouse, so that you can suspend payment of duty and VAT until they’re sent to a UK customer from the warehouse.

Importing goods

Find out the commodity code of your goods

Commodity codes classify goods so you can:

  • fill in declarations accurately
  • check if there’s duty to pay
  • find out about duty reliefs

Classifying your goods correctly means that you:

  • pay the right amount of duty
  • know if duty is suspended on any of your goods
  • know if you can apply any preferential duty rates
  • know if you need to get an import or export licence

If you’re unsure about how to classify your goods, check the product classification guides or the Trade Tariff lists all commodity codes.

You can also email HMRC for further advice.

Work out the value of your goods

You need to know the value of your goods to work out the level of Customs Duty you apply.

Check whether any reliefs apply

Duty relief schemes allow you to pay less or no duty on imports and exports.

Check whether you can use any customs procedures

There are customs procedures you can use to suspend duty to HMRC. They help businesses to manage cash-flow.

More information

You can read more information on importing and exporting goods to and from the EU in the Partnership Pack.

Find out how to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

Published 4 December 2018