Guidance

Providing services to any country in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland after Brexit

Guidance for UK businesses offering services in EU or EFTA countries if there's a no-deal Brexit.

Overview

The UK will no longer operate under the European Economic Area (EEA) regulations for the cross-border trade in services if there’s a no-deal Brexit.

This means that the rights and protections provided by the EU Directives and EU Treaty rights of freedom of movement and freedom of establishment will no longer apply to the UK.

UK businesses will no longer be treated as if they were local businesses. Services provided by UK businesses and professionals will be regarded as originating from a ‘third country’.

UK firms and service providers may face additional legal, regulatory and administrative barriers as a result.

Cross border trade regulations

If you’re a UK business or professional providing services in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, you’ll need to check the national regulations of the country you’re doing business in to understand how best to operate.

See the selling services guides to each country for more information.

VAT

If there’s a no-deal Brexit, the main VAT ‘place of supply’ rules will remain the same for UK businesses, though there may be some areas of change.

Read more about VAT for businesses if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, including how ‘place of supply’ rules could change.

Using the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop

Businesses can use the UK’s VAT Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) to declare sales of digital services to EU consumers made before the UK’s exit from the EU.

If you wish to continue to use MOSS after the UK leaves the EU, you will need to register for MOSS in an EU member state.

Find out how to use MOSS after Brexit.

Establishing and structuring your business

If you’re a UK service provider or business, you may face restrictions on your ability to own, manage or direct a company registered in an EEA state.

You can find out more in the relevant country guide for selling services after Brexit.

Business travel and entry requirements

If you’re a UK national, you’ll need to check whether you need a visa or work or residence permit if you’re either:

  • providing services
  • on a placement based in the EU or Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

You should comply with the immigration controls in the country where you are selling services.

You can read advice about travelling to specific countries, including travel entry requirements and how to stay safe while you’re there.

Sending workers to the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway or Switzerland

Currently employers and their workers only need to pay social security contributions (such as National Insurance contributions in the UK) in one country at a time. This may change if there is a no-deal Brexit. Employees may need to make social security contributions in both the UK and the country in which they are working.

Find out more about what you need to do.

Recognition of professional qualifications

If you’re seeking recognition of a UK qualification in an EU member state, you’ll need to check:

  • the European Commission’s guidance
  • each individual member state’s rules for work on a permanent, temporary and occasional basis

You can find out more in the selling services country guides.

Citizens’ rights agreements

The UK has reached agreements on citizens’ rights with the 4 EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) which will apply if the UK leaves the EU with no deal. These agreements include recognition of professional qualifications held by these countries’ nationals and UK nationals:

Data protection

You will still need to comply with data protection laws if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.

You may need to make changes to ensure that your business still complies. For more information read the country guides to selling services.

Getting help when abroad

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.

Stay up to date

This page tells you what to do if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. It will be updated if anything changes, including if a deal is agreed.
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Published 17 June 2019