Licences for the import/export of agricultural products

Find out if you need a UK Agricultural Policy (UKAP) licence to become an importer/exporter of agricultural produce and how to apply.

If you want to import/export agricultural products to or from countries outside the UK, you may need a licence depending on the type of product and the quantity you wish to import or export.

Read the ET1: The trader’s guide to importing and exporting certain agricultural goods leaflet for more information

Check which licences and quotas are available for your products

If you intend to trade in agricultural products in the groups listed below, you may need a licence.

  • meat (beef and veal), pigmeat and poultry meat products
  • sugar
  • cereals and rice products
  • fruit and vegetables (including garlic)
  • milk and milk products
  • eggs
  • olive oil
  • ethyl alcohol
  • hemp

Within each sector, products are defined under Commodity Codes (also known as CN Codes). To find out the types of licence that are available and the Commodity Code for your product, use the Trade Tariff.

This will tell you how much of a product you can import/export without a licence and what types of licence are available for the countries with which you intend to trade.

Licence rules and the availability of quotas change frequently. To make sure that you have the latest information, you can check the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) Notice to traders pages for announcements.

You can also contact RPA.

Rural Payments Agency
Lancaster House
Hampshire Court
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE4 7YH.
Telephone: 03300 416500

Types of import licence available

Import licence (full duty)

An import licence allows you to import a quantity of goods within a set period. The details of the time limits are set out on the licence. Any import duty you have to pay will depend on rates in force on the day that you place the goods under Customs control. You can check duty rates by contacting Customs on 0300 200 3700.

Import Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ)

TRQ licences are issued to allow certain quantities of goods to be imported at a reduced rate of Customs duty.

In the UK, applications for licence managed quotas are submitted to the RPA. If the quantity applied for is more than the quantity available under the quota then quantities will be allocated proportionally by RPA.

Find out the latest allocation coefficients for import tariff rate quotas.

To apply for certain quotas, you must have been engaged in trade with third countries prior to your application. You must be VAT registered and established in the United Kingdom. The qualifying criteria may differ according to commodity and type of licence. Contact the Trader helpline on 03300 416500 or read the ET1 guide to importing and exporting certain agricultural products for more information.

Apply for an import licence

To apply for an import licence, you should complete an application for an import licence form and return it to the RPA.

You can email your licence application to us or send it by post. If you wish to submit by email then you will need to be pre-approved to do so. For pre-approval, you need to complete and return a Licensing - Submission/Notification of emails (form il3) (PDF, 202KB, 2 pages) before submitting any licence applications.

Your licence will be issued electronically If you have provided an email address on the il3 form an acknowledgement will be emailed to you once your licence has been issued.

Export licences

Standard export licence

To export more than a certain amount of some commodities, you will need a standard export licence. The Trade Tariff shows how much of a given commodity you can export without a licence.

Apply for an export licence

Find out how to apply for a licence to export agricultural products.

To apply for an export licence, you should complete an application for an export licence form and return it to the RPA.

Contact us

If you have any queries about importing or exporting, call the Trader helpline on 03300 416 500 (open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm).

Relevant regulations

EUR 2016/1237 EUR 2016/1239

Published 1 April 2014
Last updated 25 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Insert link to UK tariff rate quotas.

  2. Added link in to export licence application form

  3. Regulations update on page to EUR 2016/1237 EUR 2016/1239

  4. Minor updates to IL3 form.

  5. Removed outdated information.

  6. Updated guidance document 'Traders guide to importing and exporting CAP goods (ET1)'.

  7. First published.